Video Games are everywhere. I play a lot of games, as you probably know from my YouTube channel, but I began to wonder what the effects of Video Games were having on my mind. So, I began to do a little research. Apparently, Video Games have been a controversy in the science world for almost 30 years. Some scientists and doctors believe that Video Games can alter someone's way of thinking, while others believe they can be used to teach better reflexes and reaction times. From what I've read, they're both right. Let's begin with a story. I've always been around Video Games. My dad has been a gamer ever since I could remember, and his games of choice were usually flight simulation games on the computer. Since then, we have been on top of the gaming world. We had a first generation PlayStation with their IPlay device (think 90s Kinect), and my brother and I had a ball playing their Kinect-style games. We then began playing games like Need for Speed, Splashdown, Star Trek Voyager, and more. The point is that he passed his love of gaming down to us, and we ran with it. The funny thing is that I hadn't considered myself a gamer until I got married. My husband introduced me to World of Warcraft, and we played it together for a good five years or so. That progressed to games like Skyrim, Minecraft, Half-Life, Bioshock, and my current game of choice, Neverwinter. Personally, I enjoy the challenges that these games present. For example, Neverwinter involves an intricate storyline, quests you complete for money and gear, colorful characters, and about a million different ways to personalize your gameplay. Plus, since it's an online game, many of the characters you encounter are real people. In the right circumstances, you might even be more social in these games than you'd be in real life. But does Science agree? A study published by Dr. Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies in the Psychology Division of Nottingham Trent University, would seem to suggest so.
My little brother (and even littler sister) relaxing after a day of unpacking
His article states that Video Games: (Source) And he's not the only one who believes Video Games do more good than harm. Another study by Walter R. Boot and Daniel P. Blakely (of the Department of Psychology at Florida State University), and Daniel J. Simons (of the Department of Psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois) studied the effects of action games on our perception and cognition. They discovered that "game training holds great promise as one of the few training techniques to show transfer beyond the trained task. The number and diversity of findings we have discussed appear to provide converging evidence for gaming effects, although the extent of convergence is qualified by the issues we have raised. By adopting a set of clinical trial best practices, and by considering and eliminating alternative explanations for gaming effects, future studies could help define the full extent of the possible benefits of gaming for perception and cognition. Such definitive tests could have implications well beyond the laboratory, potentially helping researchers to develop game interventions to address disorders of vision and attention and remediate the effects of cognitive aging." (Source) So, it looks promising, but more study is needed. These two studies alone prove that Video Games might be beneficial in the realm of development, but, as with all things, there are a few downsides. Video Games are an easy way to escape reality, and that can be addicting. I can't tell you how many times I've had to force myself to turn off a game and get some work done. And I don't get addicted to things easily. For someone who doesn't have a lot of willpower, it can be downright impossible. Video Game addiction can then lead to a host of other problems, such as anti-social behavior, health problems, financial problems, becoming desensitized to violence, and more. I could go on and on about this subject, but this article needs to end somewhere. To learn more about the Pro's and Con's of Video Games, check out: Studies on Video Games and the Brain, Psychology Today (the story here is way over-exaggerated, but she makes some good points), IFL Science, Science Daily, and The Escapist Magazine. The photos are my own.