While all of us love gaming, many of us were raised to believe that it was a waste of time, or even worse, detrimental to our health and development. Well, time to get rid of those alternate facts and tell the real story – gaming can be healthy, and help your kids grow into better humans.
We’ve told you a lot of this information before, but it never hurts to remind everyone all in one place. Besides, maybe you’ve recently spawned a person, or maybe you didn’t read the article back then because you were never going to make a person and that thought pattern has since changed. Either way, here are some of the amazing benefits of gaming.
Gaming’s benefits: Health
First, let’s get the big one out of the way. Screen time is often vilified in the media. It’s considered potentially hazardous to children’s health. However, the experts have now come out and said that simply isn’t true. The tool isn’t evil, it’s how you use it. Leave your kids unattended with screens all day instead of engaging with them? Sure, that’s not a good idea. But letting your little one watch some YouTube or play a game isn’t going to ruin them, and starting them young with understanding digital citizenship in a supervised environment might even be a good thing.
Along those same lines, it has been repeated refuted that violent games make people violent. Obviously you shouldn’t be letting your young child play mature games, in the same way that consuming mature content before they’re ready in general is just not a wise thing to do. However, killing something in games won’t make them want to kill in real life.
Even better, gaming has been shown to be good for health. Research found that shooters can help those with vision issues and even cure “lazy eye”. It’s all about syncing up the eyes and activities or something, but it’s a big deal for kids who struggle with visual impairment. Gaming could be a very real solution to the problem.
Research has even shown that gaming can help with pain management, distracting participants from their chronic pain in a way that isn’t experience with other treatments. Speaking of treatment, gaming can help with psychological issues as well. Want your kid to overcome a fear of spiders but you aren’t that kind of cruel and inhuman person to make them touch real spiders? Virtual reality could be a safe environment for people to slowly become exposed to, and eventually accustomed to, their phobic environments. Sounds like a nice extra for those practicing cognitive behavioral therapy.
Finally, there are games that can get people healthy. Look at how the Wii revolutionized movement-based games. Even Pokemon Go increased the amount people got out of the house and walked. This might not be gaming in the traditional sense of the word, but it is still very real and has a fabulous impact on health.
Gaming’s benefits: Development
From a young age, gaming can be beneficial for development. The fine motor skills required throughout a person’s life can be developed in gaming, with timing of button pushes, as well as manipulating a sequence of inputs all helping to improve motor skills.
Added to this is better and faster decision making skills – gamers have practice making decisions quickly throughout their gaming experiences, learning to accept the consequences while also striving for the best possible results. Thanks to practicing this skill, gamers are simply better, faster decision makers.
Related to this, gamers performed better than non-gamers at making out details in clutter and managing events, as well as showing signs of better coordination and ability to process visual information. In an increasingly visually saturated world, this is an important skill for kids and adults to possess.
Best of all, gaming might just make you smarter. Kids who played games had higher reading skills, and generally improved intellectual competence and school performance. Obviously, there need to be limits and it’s not something where the more you play the smarter you get, but combined with other activities, gaming can indeed improve academic achievement.
Don;t believe us? Here’s a link to 17 reasons why playing games is good for kids.
Gaming’s benefits: Long term
The benefits go beyond these fantastic ones already described. Talk to most gamers, and you will find that their interest in gaming sparked other tangential interests. Playing RPGs made me curious about mythology, especially as those myths and stories are often used as inspiration for games. Early games used to draw on classic music like compositions from Debussey, Rachmaninov and Chopin for battle or over world scores. This tied in with my piano lessons, making the music feel more relevant than it might have otherwise.
There is also the social aspect. Gamers are often smeared in representations as being anti-social or lacking social skills all together. While there are plenty of anecdotal examples (including on the Critical Hit team), the reality is that gaming is excellent for social skills. People need to learn how to play together, how to resolve conflict (something that many still need a lot of work on) and how to work in a team playing a specific role. Even single player games can help people to learn social skills – many games require players to talk to NPCs, develop relationships and prove themselves worthy. Sure, no one in the real world will ask you to kill rats for them to become your friend, but the concepts of loyalty, betrayal and companionship are still very important in day to day life.
How has gaming benefitted your life? Do you have superior mapping skills thanks to all the dungeon exploring you’ve done? Are you a history buff thanks to all the hours you poured into Civilization? Why do you want to pass your love of gaming on to the next generation (if you have indeed spawned or plan to eventually)?