In this article we’re going to look at whether video games are good or bad for you, and whilst there are mixed opinions, it’s generally agreed even by the most intense video game addicts that presuming it doesn’t take over your life then video games can be a great way to spend their leisure time.
However, like anything, you can have too much of a good thing – be that food, video games, or even exercise… so, it’s only really when people are playing to excess that it poses potential problems.
ARE VIDEO GAMES A DANGEROUS INFLUENCE?
If we look at something like Rollercoaster Tycoon, Candy Crush or Osrs Gold, then few people could argue these games are a dangerous influence, indeed they are often helpful in terms of developing strategy and pattern recognition… yet, when you are a soldier stalking the enemy with guns blazing, or stealing cars and beating up a pimp, one has to question whether this is a dangerous influence particularly to young minds.
For many, video games facilitate the opportunity to be immersed within a world of violent images and aggressive emotions, particularly with games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. Indeed, these 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, in some ways video games offer 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, if played within moderation. 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.
AREN’T YOU JUST WASTING YOUR LIFE AWAY
Many parents will have the view that their teenage children are just wasting their life away by playing computer games, when they could be doing so much more – and to an extent they have a point.
However, if gaming is just one part of many other aspects of your life you’re not really wasting your life away – in fact, having some downtime where you can unwind, destress and focus on something so intensely it puts you into an almost meditative state can be good for your mental health and emotional recuperation, meaning you’re in a more optimal place to get out there in the real world and live your life.
In conclusion, gaming doesn’t have to be a bad influence in a person’s life, there are some positives that can come out of gaming, yet if it starts taking over your life to the point you have no life because all you do is play video games then it might have reached the tipping point where gaming has turned into an addiction and in this case, it might be worth looking at getting help with this.
The reality, however, for most people is that gaming is a great way to switch off, disconnect from the stresses of the real world for a moment, and enjoy some quality “you time”.