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The issue of video gaming being good or bad has been a topic of interest since the inception of the first video game in the early 20th century. Debates would often concentrate on the violence and chaos induced by video gaming, including the detrimental effects it has on its gamers in all age groups and a few would concentrate on its benefits. Nowadays, it is common to hear about crimes committed by gamers, especially from the teenage age group, in an attempt to recreate the scenes from the games they play. Experts and parents alike, including responsible gamers, agree that there are several risks involving video games. However, they also agreed that there are several major benefits with video gaming that is often unrealized given the concentration of many with video gaming’s dangerous side. Video gaming is actually very good for gamers as it promotes physical, mental, social, and emotional development that helps gamers keep up with the ups and downs of modern life.
People often play video games for a variety of reasons, from entertainment, recreation to just to gain some insight on certain genres. Nowadays, people have second thoughts over video gaming, especially parents and experts, as gamers tend to exhibit aggressive and questionable behavior due to the games they play. However, studies have shown that video gaming can actually aid gamers in their physical, mental, social, and emotional capacities that sometimes is hard to learn with other methods; no matter what their genre of preference may be. In a physical aspects, studies have shown that video gaming can actually promote basic skills such as hand-to-eye coordination, motor skills, and the capacity to do things with both hands or ambidextrous. A recent study in Australia revealed that children immersed in video games, especially the interactive ones, tend to exhibit better object control motor skills- kicking, catching and throwing - than those who do not play video games. The study showed that enabling children to play interactive games with their consoles entices the children to move and act out the required action, sparking their curiosity over the motor skill being requested. Video gaming is also known for its development of a gamer’s hand-to-eye coordination as gamers would need strong concentration and agility to enact combos and skills in the games they play. A study had also revealed that video games not only improve hand-to-eye coordination, but also improves vision as some cataract patients who were asked to play games such as Call of Duty, had reported improved vision since these games would require gamers to assess the situation and act immediately against their target.
Another physical benefit of video games is that it could aid gamers who have chronic illnesses and physical pain, providing them with a distraction to remove their minds to their illnesses. The University of Utah released their observations supporting this benefit as their study showed that children who are diagnosed with autism and Parkinson’s disease could improve their confidence and resilience through video gaming. The research observed that video games can stimulate the child’s neuronal mechanism to bring forth positive emotions that would enable the child to face their illnesses without worries. Physical pain can also be remedied by video games as noted by the experts in the University of Washington since video games can serve as a distraction to improve recovery and one’s outlook. The study showed that certain games, such as their virtual reality game “Snow World” could help patients forget about their physical pain by providing a distraction, enabling their wounds to recover and at the same time, enable them to enjoy the game. It is also discovered by the study that those who played the game would no longer require high dosage of medicine to help them recover since they have mostly forgotten about their ailments as the game progressed .
In a mental aspect, video gaming sharpens the mind of the gamer in terms on how they get information and knowledge, as well as develop analytic and psychological skills that is necessary in real life. Experts have observed that children, who have been exposed to video games, tend to show more experience and proficiency with computers and its applications than those who did not play video games. Video gaming enabled these children, according to the study, to be familiar on how to associate computer functions and parts with those of video game functions, easily developing a method to understand how to work on programs and applications on another system. Experts had agreed that with this improved literacy with computers, video gamers do not need further instructions on how to use known computer applications. Advocates of video gaming also argue that video gaming actually enables gamers, especially children, to think of possible strategies and entice education since video games enable gamers to enter into several scenarios that would require them to perform real-like functions or to answer questions to pass to the next round or receive a certain amount of points. Efficiency is also tested by these video games since players would often need to execute skills and answer questions perfectly to gain perfect scores. Video games even sets gamers into different levels - from easy to hard – to enable them to challenge their strategic skills to complete the game with full completion rate. Aside from this, video games, even those with violent and mature content, teaches “soft skills” like critical thinking, logic, deduction, and decision-making skills since players would have to be very savvy to save their progress, money and skill points. In addition, video games and its genres often present different gameplay styles and formats that would allow gamers to become familiar with different formats, enhancing their cognitive and analytical skills to cater to these environments with accurate efficiency and performance capacity.
Video games also serve as a perfect alternative for gamers to experience or learn certain skills that can be dangerous to experience in real life. Simulation games, for example, are used by many schools and institutions to guide their students or employees with their roles such as engineering, surgery, machine construction, and even computer programming. In most cases, simulation games also helps players to understand simple concepts such as math and science to explain theories, enabling their imaginations to run while in understanding theories they see on simulated games. Video gaming also offers players to visualize several aspects of life such as overcoming the nature of their decisions, and improve their relationships with their family and friends since some games can enact scenarios that would fit the player’s chosen career or skill. Aside from this, video gamers enables players to easily associate skills, concepts and functions to a real world application that is often missed. In MMORPG, for example, video gamers become familiar with several teachings and concepts – like history and fantasy- thanks to the storylines utilized by these games .
In a social aspect, video gaming is good because it fosters competition and interaction with friends and family in any age group and preference. Over the last few years, video games are slowly releasing games that promotes two to multi-player interfaces enabling gamers to play with others online and in-person. Not only do these games teach mental and physical skills, these social games also foster leadership and responsibility skills since the gamers would have to coordinate with their team mates to win the game. Researches had showcased that no matter what genre is being played, video games improves players in the aspect of cooperative play and cooperative behavior, which is often hard to teach in real life since each gamer is different in their tolerance and aggression levels. Depending on the difficulty of the game and the organization of the team, video gamers would often forget of their differences and start devising plans to coordinate each other’s movements. In this end, video games enable camaraderie to exist within the team and inspire others at the same time. Empathy is also developed by video gaming since players would be able to understand how it feels to lose and win, and sometimes, even how life ends up as to how it is at present. Video gaming also helps children to fight their fears, enabling them to take control of their dreams and improve their social stability with fuller and stronger confidence .
Finally, video gaming is good because it improves one’s emotional capacity and aid in one’s emotional recovery. Studies have observed, such as the one done by East Carolina University that video games tend to relax specific gamers. In the ECU study, gamers were requested to play three specific games each day for one week. The results confirmed that participants who played games had felt less stressed and became emotionally stable as they concentrated more on the video games than thinking about their problems. As the study continued, the participants who played games were more than relaxed as compared to those who did not play games. Experts believe that some people consider video games as their medicine to cope up with their emotional stresses, ending up playing in wee hours in the morning and recovering from their emotional aches the next day. It is also discovered that video gaming can also improve one’s self-esteem in the sense that it enables a gamer to look past his vulnerabilities and insecurities and think of positive thoughts. In one study, gamers who played the game “EyeSpy” of McGill University recorded high instances of players showing positive stimuli while playing the game. In this game, players would have to pick as many happy faces as possible before the time is up. The researchers had stressed that the game promotes a sense of accomplishment, adding to the development of the gamer’s self-esteem and slowly help him understand the consequences of his lack of self-worth .
The potential of video games to improve a person’s physical, mental, social and emotional aspect continues to grow as new techniques and improvements are done to improve gameplay for each gamer in every age group. While it is agreeable that some video games tend to foster negative behaviors such as immorality, violence and aggression; the video gaming market also provides mediums for gamers to improve their skills and behaviors with different gaming genres and storylines that challenges the gamer to succeed. Aspects such as leadership, analytical skills and decision-making is strengthened by video gaming; improving gamers’ physical, mental and social capacities. Video gaming also helps in physical and emotional recovery, especially for those who require an alternative or distraction to their pains. In this aspect, video gaming enables gamers to understand the ups and downs of life, and improve one’s perceptions of the world’s many theories and concepts.
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