From the most avid gamer to the most careful parent, everyone worries about the possible negative effects of video games. Of course, such concerns are not unfounded. Research shows that gaming in excess, or when done carelessly, might prove harmful. However, benefits come with the potential risks involved in gaming.
The Benefits of Gaming
Given the skillset required for and improved by video games, unsurprisingly, gaming primarily benefits the brain. Gaming offers extensive cognitive benefits to the careful gamer. Today we delve into just three of the benefits of moderate gaming.
Memory and Attention
Gamers often get a bad rap for poor attention spans and weak memories. However, studies show that the average gamer has a better memory and attention span than the average non-gamer. Much of gaming requires paying attention to and remembering many details. Without memory, the gamer will be ineffective in their task. Without careful attention to detail, the gamer won’t even know the details they need to remember.
While certainly classed in the broad category “nerd,” gamers seldom receive the assumption of intelligence of most other nerds. Anyone who has played a first-person RPG like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild knows that it takes more brains than most assume. Strategizing while gaming requires a keen ability to see a problem, conceive a solution, and execute it, all on the fly and under time pressure. Furthermore, games like Minecraft teach spacial reasoning, and mechanical problem solving. These reasonable conclusions are supported by the data.
As if it weren’t obvious, gaming improves eye-hand coordination. The necessity of fast action with the hands combined with instant processing with the eyes combine to make gamers very coordinated and quick. Again, studies back up this common-sense idea.
Check out this infographic for even more great info on the benefits of gaming.
The Risks of Gaming
Without moderation, and preventative measures, all good things can lead to problems. Video games have numerous benefits, but risks come along with the territory. Below we cover just three of these.
Drug addiction comes about because of the dopamine release drugs cause. Video games cause similar chemical reactions in the brain. The satisfaction of solving a problem, beating a level, winning a round, building a structure, or other goals associated with gaming, releases dopamine just like a drug. In life, those chemicals only come sometimes, and not usually on demand. In gaming, it seems they come every time we reach a goal. Thus, video game addiction comes about. The risk is not as severe as it seems in the media, which often publishes overblown statistics and scare tactics. However, it exists, especially for serious gamers. Keep informed on the facts about addiction, and practice moderation and caution in your gaming habits.
Many gamers complain of sleep problems after gaming for 3 or more consecutive hours. As a matter of fact, this issue plagues almost anyone who engages in such prolonged use of any digital devices with screens, especially near bedtime. Cautionary measures can be taken to prevent this, nevertheless, such sleep issues come along with the territory if gamers aren’t careful about their consumption levels and times.
Digital Eye Strain
Just like in the previous issue, many gamers find that they experience the symptoms of digital eye strain after gaming for 3 or more hours. For some, the symptoms continue well after they stop gaming. Dry eyes, headache, eye pain, and more can all come about from excessive gaming. Some more sensitive individuals even get the symptoms after only a short time playing games.
Staying in the Know
Receiving the benefits and avoiding the risks involved with gaming should be on the mind of everyone who plays video games with any regularity. Aside from simply being aware of the problems, it’s best to dive into the deeper cause behind the risks. Educate yourself today about the cause of two of the risks listed above: blue light exposure.