Video Game Benefits
Video game benefits may not be widely understood yet, but we can’t help but be intrigued by their myriad possibilities. Many experts point out that people who spend hours of time playing video games may be having a far more positive impact on their mental and physical health than many realize. From increased hand-eye coordination to enhanced visual skills, video game benefits are many and varied.
Video games have gotten quite a bit of a bad reputation over the years, especially from the media, but research on violent video games does exist and scientists are beginning to pay attention to the chance for developing and utilizing video games specifically for addressing mental health needs. There is also a growing body of evidence indicating that playing video games may actually improve social interaction and communication among kids. In fact, researchers have found that when kids play a game similar to Monopoly, they tend to be more open and interactive with each other than they would if they played a game like Tetris.
The most obvious benefit of playing video games, and especially violent ones, are the improvement of hand-eye coordination. As studies have shown, children who regularly play a game similar to Scrabble tend to do better on tests of cognitive development. Other studies indicate that children who play games like Farmville are more likely to engage in productive conversations and are able to work as a team. This type of interactivity has the potential to improve relationships and reduce social anxiety.
Another type of video game benefit is the improvement of visual skills. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge showed that playing a computer game called Sim City improved the way the brain processes visual information. Not only did playing this game improve a player’s ability to navigate the environment, but it also made them able to read the information that was placed in the middle of objects without having to look at them. These improvements were particularly noticeable for people who did not have normal vision, suggesting that even if a person has a poor eyeight, playing video games may still have benefits.
Children who played this type of video game also showed a significant improvement in the ability to concentrate. In one study, the participants were divided into three groups: those who were allowed to view a picture, those who were shown only a picture, and those who saw a screen displaying the picture on a computer screen, while the children played. The researchers found that when children played the same-sized squares on the screen, the children who played the video game showed a significant improvement in their ability to focus.
In a study published in 2020 in Psychological Science, researchers from the University of Chicago compared two games: one in which the child had to look at a series of pictures, while the other displayed only the pictures and one in which the child controlled a number of brain cells by moving them around the screen. The children who played the video game where they had to watch the pictures performed better on tests of spatial cognition, such as memory and navigation.
One of the most common video game benefits comes from the ability to improve focus and concentration. While the study was inconclusive about whether playing the games would have an impact on attention, the participants in the study showed a marked improvement in their performance on tests of attention. Some also showed that playing the game made their brain cells more active. This could mean that the brain cells became used to the action required to play the game and perform certain tasks, making them more effective at focusing.
Finally, there are a number of benefits that have been noted in children and adults for playing games such as chess. Those who played a game similar to chess showed improvements in their spatial and verbal learning abilities. Those who played the popular children’s game Tetris also showed an improvement in their cognitive skills.