VIDEO games are known to have negative effects especially on children as it lets them sit in front of the screen the whole day, therefore lacking exercise. It also affects their social life since they just stay inside the house thus missing the chance to interact with friends outside. Moreover, playing video games are believed to make people easily ill-tempered and irritable especially when losing a game.
However, there have been studies which actually show the benefits of playing video games. And they are not just intended for the young ones as grown-ups can also gain from it.
Deakin University in Australia found that children ages three to six who are playing interactive games, such as Wii, had better object motor skills including catching, throwing, kicking, and bouncing ball.
Looking at this, it can really be an advantage for those who are playing Wii games since it is also a form of practice. When playing Wii, it looks like one is also playing a real sport since it requires physical activity.
New York Times reported that a study discovered a video game requiring adults to veer around cars while picking out road signs at the same time to have improved their short-term memory and long-term memory focus.
Since some games will require a player to remember things (like those wherein one has to match the same icons or patterns), it can really improve one's memory as the brain is used to retain information. Thus, the brain becomes active, improving the memory.
Some video games compel players to make decisions quickly so as to avoid being killed or failing a certain stage in the game. According to the University of Rochester scientists, these kinds of games practice the mind for decision-making processes in the real world.
True enough, since quick thinking is necessary, a person becomes sensitive of what is happening in the surroundings which lets one weigh things (the pros and cons) in order to make a better decision. It may be just a skill that can be learned in playing video games but the skills can also be applied in real life.
Contrary to what is said about the effects of sitting in front of television or computer screens to play, that it makes the eyes unhealthy because of the radiation, playing video games can actually enhance one's vision.
According to Dr. Daphen Maurer of the Visual Development Lab of Ontario's McMaster University, people with cataracts can improve their vision by playing first-person shooter games like Call of Duty.
"These games are fast-paced that they require an extreme amount of attention, training the visually impaired to view things more sharply," Dr. Daphen Maurer said.
Since the eyes are concentrating on a certain thing or spot to hit, it really makes the eyes more sensitive. Slight changes or movements eventually catch the eye's attention, a sign of improved eye sight.
Certain games would test how fast a player can cook food or build a house in a short span of time without committing too many errors. As a result, the player becomes trained on how to do things quickly while still getting them right.
The Archives of Surgery Laproscopic surgeons found out that surgeons who played such kind of games were able to operate 24 percent faster with 32 percent fewer mistakes than those who didn't play.
Studies have shown that gaming lowers levels of stress-inducing hormone cortisol by up to 17 percent.
True enough, when a person is stressed, one would like to find something fun to do in order to relax. One activity is playing since there is that "instant satisfaction." When one does something right in a game, the player receives rewards such as coins and points. They may not be real rewards but the idea of getting something in return after exerting efforts just to play the game nicely may relieve stress.
Video games can also ease physical pain as the person is distracted from feeling it because of playing. When one is concentrating on a game, the person most likely wouldn't mind a stomachache or headache. The player will continue playing because one's attention is on the game. Thus, the player forgets the physical pain.
Research also found that 76 percent of couples who play video game together say it has a positive impact on their marriage.
This is because people are doing something together, letting them have that bonding moment. Thus, they spend time with each other which makes them interact with one another by discussing game strategies.
As a whole, video games indeed have its benefits. All that's needed is control and discipline to avoid the problem. (Kathleen Rose T. Pate)
Sunday Essays are articles written by Ateneo de Davao University students for their advanced journalism class.