During the past two decades, the industry of video games has really prospered. From the earliest cathode ray tube amusement device to today’s high tech gaming consoles, the advancement in video games is truly evident. But like all other technological advancements, the field of video gaming faces many suspicions about it being beneficial or harmful. Most parents really concern about their kids when they see them spending their time glued in front of the computer screens playing computer games. They believe that games are just a matter of time wastage which in addition can cause social and health problems.
But is this concern really genuine. Is playing games only a matter of time wastage? The answer to this question is simply “NO”. Modern research suggests that video games have many benefits that are often overlooked. There is much opposition that is provided as evidence against playing video games. One such opposition is that playing video games lessens one’s social interaction. But modern research shows that instead of forfeiting existing friendships, teenagers that log into online multiplayer gaming actually increase their friend circle and thereby increase their social interaction.
An article, “How gaming is all work and no Play”, by the BBC News presents a three year study by Brunel University academics shows that through online multiplayer gaming, teenagers of different ages come and interact with each other in a very socially active manner. And thus this helps in their character development and improves their social interaction. Another very widespread opposition to video games is that violent video games can cause real world violent behavior in the gamers who play those games.
The argument says that the increasing number of violence and aggressiveness in video games lead the younger generation to act in such a way and indulge in violent activities. There have been different researches about that particular issue but the findings or the results do not confirm that the above statement is perfectly correct. A research done by Dmitri Williams and Marko Skoric suggests that violent video games don’t have that much of an effect on the aggressiveness of the behavior. Another research suggests that playing violent video games can even lessen the aggressiveness of the behavior.
These researches suggest that violent video games purge one’s desire to act in a violent way and thus these games reduce the aggressiveness in behavior or the amount of violence in which that person will engage himself. Conversely to this violent behavior, a new study indicates instead of inducing aggressiveness, games can also induce other factors that can contribute in producing good and caring people for the society. A research done by Dr. Kourosh Dini suggests that instead of arousing aggressive behavior in children, games can induce empathy.
According to the study, to play against an opponent or along with a team member, a player has to predict what the other person is thinking. By thinking in that way a person can realize what others are thinking or how they are feeling. And this empathy forms the basis of caring and sharing sorrows of other people. Another opposing view against playing video games is that they encourage the sedentary lifestyle and thus lead to health problems like obesity. They can also cause eye weakness and other problems.
But during past few years there has been research that suggests that video games can be beneficial from human’s health point of view. A study done by University of Rochester shows that playing video games can be extremely beneficial for the hand-eye co-ordination. In addition to this hand-eye co-ordination, another study shows that playing video games can help our vision. Research shows that people who played action video games for a few hours a day for a month improved their result in a visual acuity test. Games also enhance the decision making and creative skills of the gamers.
In today’s world real-time strategy games like “Generals”, “Red Alert” etc makes the players to make strategies and plans to defeat or gain advantage over their opponents. The players make important decisions at critical times that can lead to winning or losing the game. These strategies and plans require the gamers to think in a different dimension and come out with new ideas and deciding how to implement the idea. Hence, video games improve the creative and decision-making skills of the gamers. And such skills play a vital role in the practical and professional life of an individual.
Another important skill that gaming can enhance is the problem solving skill. The ability to find a way from a dead end is a very important lesson that can be very easily delivered through a game. Games like “Prince of Persia” requires on out of the box thinking. Occasionally in games like these a person is trapped in an unknown location or is just stuck at a riddle, then to get out of such a situation the gamer invents new ways, viewing the problem faced from another angle and thinking from another dimension, and thus by doing so generating new ideas.
This thinking can enhance the ability of the person to solve different problems. Along with these vital skills, video games also serve as a wonderful medium for educational purposes. Games deliver education in a way that is both easy to learn and fun at the same time. Educational games for young kids are very important. A research by TEEM (Teachers Evaluating Educational Media) shows the importance and influence of games in education. The research suggests the development of strategic and planning skills in the students.
After finding the results of the research carried out, TEEM even suggested to use these kinds of games in the classroom by including it in the school curriculum. A very important aspect that video games can highlight from the society point of view is the ability they teach children to work in groups. Multiplayer gaming has really become a prominent aspect of online gaming. Different people from all over the world team up as one team and try to beat the other one. Working in groups gives the idea of unity and strength.
This important aspect of working in groups proves really helpful later in the life of the individual. Another important aspect that games can provide is the distraction factor. Today in this much advanced world, there are many challenges that are faced by students. The stress and load of the work to be done can increase manifolds. In such situations kids often become depressed and are not able to cope up with the faced challenges. So gaming provides a good distraction factor from the busy schedule. In addition to this there is also a medical benefit in this aspect of video games.
A 2007 report in Medical News Today shows that games distraction can be used to lessen the pain of the burn victims. Can be used to prevent people from overeating and also it can be used in rehabilitation programs to divert the attention of drug addicted people. There are many benefits that are provided by video games. They sharpen important skills of the person that can be very useful later in the life. Instead of causing social problems, video games can actually increase the social interaction. So Playing video games actually do more good than harm.