By: Kelly Graham, MSW, RSW
Often, you’ll hear how bad video games are for society. Many people are quick to blame them for increased violence and other social problems.
Not many people look at the positive side of video games except those that enjoy them the most, but I think it’s important that we take a moment to acknowledge their worth.
This one is obvious. Video games can provide us with entertainment. When we need to escape from life and just focus on something else for a bit, they are there. Video games could actually be a better source of entertainment because you are using many skills to help you succeed in the game, and they are an interactive pastime rather than passive activities like watching television.
May Improve Cognitive Functioning
Some studies have found that video games can increase a range of cognitive skills, including perception, memory, spatial navigation, and reasoning. The most common skill that video games improve upon is problem-solving. You often have to solve many problems as you play and try different methods to overcome barriers. Some video games will also provide the benefit of having opportunities to solve multi-step problems, which requires strategic thinking.
Many people overlook the social benefits that video games have. Whether this is a group of people playing together in one room or online, or even the social connection factor of finding people that can talk about the game with you because they’ve played it too. People can talk to others who have a similar interest (the game), and they can even help each other through it. Video games are also great for people who may have trouble making friends. You already have a topic to talk about, you don’t have to see the person face-to-face, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home. While I’m not saying that this should be your only source of socialization, for many people who are too depressed to leave their house or put effort into making friends, or others who are struggling with social anxiety, video games can be a great step in helping you still be able to socialize and meet other people.
Believe it or not, video games are also good at helping to boost your self-esteem. By learning to master certain situations and beating games, this can give you a sense of accomplishment. This makes you feel good about yourself and your skills.
Like entertainment, video games are nice as they give us a break from reality. We can just focus on the game and un-wind. Whether you prefer a shooting game to let out your frustrations, or a more relaxing game to help you relax, video games can offer a variety of ways to help you deal with stress.
While video games may get a bad rep, they offer a variety of benefits. While everything in moderation is key, taking time to play video games won’t ruin your life. They can help you de-stress and improve your social skills, cognitive functioning, and self-esteem.
So go ahead and play!
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