Log onto Facebook after a mass shooting and at least three people in a comment section will be blaming games such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty. However, according to a 2020 PubMed Central study done by a group of doctors titled “The Impact of Internet and Video Gaming Addiction on Adolescent Vision,” the only real threat from video games is eye strain.
In moderation, video games have benefits and can help hand health, improve parts of the brain and even build social skills.
Certain video games are used to help stroke victims regain control of their hands.
The University of Missouri-Columbia did a study this year that utilized a game called Recovery Rapids to allow recovering stroke patients to improve motor skills and affected movements of their arms. According to the study, the gaming therapy led to positive outcomes that compared to those using in-person therapy.
Video games can improve parts of your brain some may not even know existed.
Doctors Simone Kühn, Jürgen Gallinat, and Anna Mascherek did a study in 2019 on the effects of computer gaming on cognition, brain structure and function. They looked at 20 people from past gaming studies who played a variety of genres in the gaming world. Overall the study saw a positive and significant change in the brain.
Video games don’t just improve parts of your brain and body, they teach as well.
Civilization, a very popular game franchise developed by BAFTA games and Aspyr, teaches all about ethnic cities and historical time periods. An important topic in history is colonialism, a topic the game focuses on. According to writer Nick Pillen from McGill University, the game is built around four pillars which are exploration, expansion, exploitation and extermination. This is just one of many games that tackle certain periods of history and can teach people different areas of study.
Video games can help build social skills.
In 2015, Amanda Lenhart, former director of teens and technology research at Pew Research Centre, a non-partisan American think tank based in Washington. D.C, did a report on how video games are a key element in friendships. Lenhart notes more than half of teens in Washington made new friends on the internet, with a third of them being through video games. Nearly a quarter of those teens would give a new friend they met online their contact information. The world of online gaming opens the chance to be friends with someone in a different room in a different house.
So, the next time you log onto social media and see someone blame an act of violence or discredit video games as a violent pass time for people, remember that it can improve the brain, teach in certain areas and improve social skills – as long as you aren’t staring at the screen for ten hours a day.