Video games have been the chief source of entertainment among kids for a long time. It has been the best way to accustom kids with the technology. Nowadays, smartphone and mobile games have further eased the access to video games. However, the growing trend of video games has raised some concerns. People, especially parents, are concerned about the negative effects of video games. Research has shown that there are both advantages and disadvantages of video games among kids. We will be exploring 5 major pros and cons of video games in this article.
Pros of video games
Improves Brain functions
Playing video games is definitely a good brain exercise. It triggers the brain area linked with mental activities such as memory, information processing and decision-making. Studies have shown that playing video games enhances the ability to solve problems, make strategy and take logical decisions. Overall, playing video games has a positive effect on brain functions.
Improved visual function
People often blame poor eye-sight to playing video games. However, studies have shown that video game players have unexpectedly better vision. As per Psychology Today, the benefits of playing video games includes better visual contrast sensitivity. In other words, playing video games enables people to distinguish subtle differences in shades of gray in comparison to other people. Moreover, the players have increased ability to visually detect the direction of movement.
Reduces Anxiety and Depression
One of the advantages of playing video games is increased confidence, gaining energy and feeling a sense of achievement. These factors are key ingredients to avoid any sort of anxiety and depression. According to Kendall Ashley, video games can help people to develop social relationships and understand social cues. This will lead them to get past the social anxiety disorder.
Improves life skills
One of the benefits of playing video games can be noticed in improved life skills. Many skills used in video games are associated with daily life skills. Playing video games requires making strategy, taking risks, having patience, working in a team and other activities. People can actually enhance these vital life skills by playing video games. Moreover, video games improve the hand-eye coordination and enhance the attention spans. It also helps people find new friends and social connections.
Research has shown that playing video games can help the brain to better deal with physical pain. It shifts the attention of the brain from a painful activity to entertainment. This is especially helpful for the children suffering from chronic diseases.
Cons of video games
Playing video games is mostly a virtual task. Even meeting friends within a game lacks any physical face-to-face interaction. Thus, one of the key negative effects of playing video games is social replacement. In other words, kids are more likely to spend their time within four walls and not getting out in the physical world. This will have severe damage in ability to socialize or make friends.
Video games are designed to be addictive. Playing video games releases a hormone named dopamine in our brain, which gives a sense of pleasure. Consequently, kids like to keep playing video games over and over, developing an addiction. This is common among the people with poor impulse control or the one who has a hard time to adjust in physical interaction. The addiction can lead to long term isolation and social replacement.
People who play violent video games are likely to develop a tendency to be violent. A study involving brain scans showed that playing violent games lowers the ability to self-control and increases the emotional arousal. There is debate on the negative effect of video games in the subconscious mind which leads to violent behavior of children.
Most of the video games are played with static body posture. The likelihood of gaining weight is proportional to the hours spent in playing video games. Moreover, people playing video games for long hours suffer from sleep deprivation which contributes to obesity.
Video games can lead people to some psychological stress. Excessive gaming habits can develop feelings of guilt and shame. Similarly, people who have addiction to video games develop low self-esteem, have social anxieties, or even suffer from depression. A study in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, discovered that fifth-graders who play video games two or more hours a day are more likely to have symptoms of depression than those who play less.
As a result, the intention of video games is to help a person have quality time. One can reap many benefits of video games, if handled carefully. Saying that, proper guidance to kids, can have long term benefits. A monitored environment will help kids to enjoy the advantages of the video games as well as minimize the disadvantages of the video games at the same time. Hence, parents need to play a creative role to motivate their children to participate in video games in an adequate amount.