I remember my childhood – the constant running around, mud ridden clothes and my mother shouting. When she wasn’t mad about me falling off trees, she was mad about me sitting around and playing Super Mario bros. Injured knees and weak eye sight were the crux of her yelling mostly.
Since the beginning of time, we have only focused on how ‘bad’ video games are for us and our children. How they are addictive, and a distraction. Today, we look at the benefits of playing video games and how science has proven why they can be ‘good’ for your kids.
1. Brain Health
Playing a video game isn’t only about staring at the screen, shouting now and then and pushing the buttons in the controls. What is actually happening is that the player is making crucial decisions. He is planning out a strategy and thinking about the best options available. This not only develops good decision making power but also trains the brain to strategize and plan out every move. They are presented with information and are reacting to the given situation which makes them good adapters of quickly changing environment.
2. Enhances Memory
Retaining all the information and adhering to all the rules is key to good memory which all the gamers out there are doing every day. Reading and listening to the instruction polishes the auditory and visual memory of the players. Keeping a swift movement on the keys of the controls is also mandatory and is unconsciously improving memory.
3. Improves Coordination
A player, during the game, is engaged – visually, all the graphics and moving characters which need attention. The push of the buttons which interpret the moves on the screen and the mental simulation constantly provide an amazing platform for the coordination of all these senses amalgamated and put to use.
Other than physical multitasking of moving the joystick and watching the game at the same time, the brain gets an excellent exercise of multitasking as well. In popular battle royale games for example, players need to survive by keeping a number factors in mind: weapons, ammunition resources and where the enemy is and what his next move would be. The brain is not only glued to the screen it also processing many different aspects of survival.
5. Increases concentration and Attention span
Being able to focus on a purpose to completing a task without any distractions and interruption is something gamers are masters of. They sit and stick to their game, devote their time and energy to fulfilling a purpose and advancing to the next level. This requires a huge will and full concentration. When not focusing on a game, these players make their already trained brains to focus on whatever they want to and their concentration exceeds those who aren’t regular gamers.
6. Improves and helps with learning skills
The incorporation of visual and auditory signals and retaining that information helps the players learn and improve their learning as well. Children especially learn better if their educational institutions merge the coursework into video games where kids physically involve themselves in the process and have fun while learning.
7. Help overcome Dyslexia
Studies have shown that after an intense action game which requires deep focus, and adaptation to rapidly changing environments, dyslexia patients were able to perform better on reading and comprehension. Attention being a major issue in dyslexia, playing video games can help many dyslexics.
8. Interest in education
We all know how games pique children’s’ interests. Some games are actually based on historical events or scientific researches. Parents who buy maps and books related to these games, their children take interest in the content and relate it with the video games. This means these games aren’t a distraction, but, can rather help in making the children take interest in their homework.
9. Can prove to be Anti-aging
Games that involve puzzle solving, memory and problem solving, also known as ‘brain games’ can help increase cognitive function in older players. These exercises of the brain can have a positive effect, which lasts for years, as well as distract our grandparents.
Spending time with them, teaching them how to play and having a good laugh with them will also increase their happiness and make them feel young and loved.
10. Produces better leaders
Games provide a platform where players have to make split-second decisions. They need to think in their interest and in multi-player games, their squad’s interest. This can also be reflected in real life decisions and thinking about the whole community’s benefits. A leader has all these skills which can be polished by playing video games.
11. Way to ease pain
Playing is a distracting activity, which has proven analgesic (pain-killing). This response is produced in our higher cortical systems of the brain. Paying attention to something else when in pain makes sense and the more interesting the game, the better. Video games are therefore great post-injury activity.
12. Video games can curb cravings
People who over-eat, smoke or have a drinking problem might get a lot of help from a puzzle game or a mind engaging game. This technique will help them with a great distraction and take their minds off of the craving or addiction they are fighting with.
13. Video games can help Autism
Involving the whole body and the senses into a purpose of winning a level with their peers and fellow gamers, has helped in making communication easier in autism patients. Sharing the gaming space with several other people has also proven to be a platform for social interaction for the people with the disorder.
14. Increases Social Interaction around the globe
Online gaming means many players are engaged in conversation over long distances. This develops a relationship and increases confidence of social interaction online and physically as well. This helps new people meet from different places and make new friends. Games like these also help old friends meet up and spend time together hence strengthening their old bonds.
While playing video games are beneficial in all these aspects, everything in moderation is always the best choice. Picking the right game for the right age group is also important. Parents and guardians need to be cautious and keep an eye on their children so that they only benefit from games positively. Prevent children and teenagers from being hooked to gaming and make proper times for gaming. Keep them away from games with too much violence and other negative influences.