We all know the benefits of gaming, in the sense that it can be really good to come home after a busy day at work and “switch off” by entering the world of gaming. However, there’s a point when gaming can take over some people’s lives, and what was once a fun past time turns into a vehicle of addiction.
Now, one could argue that being addicted to gaming is much better than being addicted to illegal substances or gambling, yet an addiction is an addiction, and it does require people to take it a little more seriously than they tend to – as many people, even therapists, would consider “what’s the harm”.
Well, the harm is that it can take over someone’s life to the point that they are struggling to function in the world, for instance, at work – and might be engaging in risky behaviour such as overspending on games when they don’t have enough money, and requiring online loans no credit check to fund their habit.
Now, of course an online loan with no credit check can be a very useful tool for many people, but if you’re using the funds from something like this to indulge in an addiction – it’s less good, as whether the addiction is gaming or alcoholism, the end result is relatively similar.
That said, there are many psychological benefits to gaming, and actually, gaming can be a good recovery vehicle for people that have been substance abusers – for it offers a distraction and coping mechanism that is much less damaging than such an addiction.
In this article we’re going to look at whether video games are a good or bad force in your life, and whilst it mostly depends on how much time you are spending gaming versus living your life and being part of the “real world” there’s often a fine balance; but the general consensus is that as long as gaming doesn’t take over your life, it can be a great way to spend leisure time and wind down after a stressful day.
ARE VIDEO GAMES A DANGEROUS INFLUENCE?
If we look at something like Rollercoaster Tycoon or Candy Crush then few people could argue these games are a dangerous influence, indeed they are often helpful in terms of developing pattern recognition…
Yet, when you are a soldier stalking the enemy with guns and grenades, or stealing cars as a gangster, it’s reasonable that one would question whether gaming can be a dangerous influence. It therefore comes down to the context in which these games are played and the types of game people use.
Indeed, some games have been labelled as provoking acts of extreme violence – but there is no clear answer on whether there’s a solid link between video game violence and actual violence, indeed, for many people with pent up anger and frustration inside them, video games are a great way to let off steam.
The question boils down to exposure, particularly when it comes to children, as the reason parents tend to avoid watching violent films with young children is because everything they experience and are exposed to colours their view of the world; now, if you spend 2-3 hours each day blowing things up in a state of tension and aggression there’s potential for this to taint that person’s perspective of the world.
CAN VIDEO GAMES BE LIFE ENHANCING?
Some studies have shown that first person shooter games improve a player’s capacity to think about objects in three dimensions. Interestingly, this goes some way to explaining why surgeons who played video games were instinctively better at keyhole surgery.
In fact, a Dutch surgeon has developed a video game designed to train young doctors in this specialised technique; thus, video games aren’t all bad or a waste of time. They can teach strategy too, and there’s also a feeling of progress that comes with moving up through the levels which actually raises self-esteem.
AFFECT ON YOUR SOCIAL LIFE
The challenge comes when someone locks themselves away in their room and only plays video games; as this form of detachment and dissociation isn’t psychologically healthy and can lead to a number of social issues.
That said, video games can have a positive effect on your social life and interpersonal development. There’s an estimated 1.2 billion people playing video games throughout the world and thanks to the internet, the days of the stereotypical solitary gamer, stuck in their bedroom with the curtains shut is being replaced with group play and teamwork.
This level of teamwork can actually improve self-esteem, and being part of a team in this way helps you connect with others thus making new friends.
IS GAMING A WASTE OF TIME?
There’s a popular expression known as “killing time” and many people see video games as a good way to kill time, yet with such a finite supply, time is ultimately your most valuable resource – and therefore, why would anybody want to waste such a high value commodity.
The truth is, gaming doesn’t have to be any much a “waste of time” as doing mindfulness meditation – as it often puts people in a relaxed state where they are not focused on their problems; indeed, it’s akin to mindfulness in some ways.
Many parents will feel their teenagers are just wasting their life by playing computer games, when they could be doing so much more with their youth, and perhaps they have a point. That said, if gaming is just one strand of many other aspects of your life – it’s often just a healthy way to unwind, connect with friends, and enjoy some downtime.
In conclusion, gaming doesn’t have to be a negative thing, presuming it’s kept in moderation – and there can be some very positive outcomes of allowing yourself the time to unwind and get lost in the world of gaming, from time to time… but there’s a fine line between a “healthy level” of gaming and a sign that gaming has turned into an addiction.