The news often seems to have only bad things to say about the effects of video games upon the body and society. But studies are showing that gaming does have plenty of positive effects as well. Read on to learn more.
- Better vision: That’s right. Video games can help improve your eyesight. A study performed at the University of Rochester found that those who played video games for at least a few hours each day for a month improved their ability to identify letters in a visual acuity test by 20 percent.
- Pain: No, video games can’t take away your pain, but they might be able to help you cope with your pain. Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, a professor at Wheeling Jesuit University, performed a study with actual game players. The doctor found that those who were experiencing pain were distracted by playing video games, thus the games helped them to temporarily forget about much if not all of their pain. And what types of games seemed to help the most? Sports and fighting games.
- Fitness: Video gamers are often stereotyped as obese and lazy, but the future might prove that to be untrue. The International Sports Sciences Association asked multiple doctors and scientists what they thought about combing exercise with video games and the responses were overwhelmingly positive. Dr. Josh Trout, Professor of Kinesiology at California State University Chico had this to say, “… exergaming, and exertainment, is an excellent way for getting kids hooked on physical activity …” With the Nintendo Wii growing in popularity, future video gamers might be in top shape because of the systems controllers that often provide physical activity.
- Social skills: In an article in the British Medical Journal, Dr. Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University wrote that video games had been used to improve the social skills of young people who suffer from severe learning disabilities. Dr. Griffiths has spent 15 years studying video games and their effect on patients.
- Stress: This one might seem obvious to some of you experienced players, but a study of 5,043 gamers found that gaming helps to lower stress levels and allows gamers to relax. Who did the study? Nerdular Nerdence magazine.
- Losing weight: Researchers from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center studied children ages 10 to 13 and found that exergaming burned at least as many calories as moderate exercise or sports, such as bowling. So break out Dance Dance Revolution and burn some calories!
- Learning: According to Professor James Gee of the University of Wisconsin, video games are an excellent choice for the cognitive development in children an adults. For example, players trying to work through a maze onscreen are actually working their mind, they are literally learning. If you want to learn more, check out Gee’s book “What Video Games Have to Teach us about Learning and Literacy.”
- Faster response times: Longtime gamers likely expected this one. A study in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science showed that players who played video games regularly scored higher in reaction times, even when tested under circumstances not involving actual games.
- Asthma: No, video games can’t cure asthma. But what the games can do is educate and help patients to learn and remember better habits. Dr. Pamela Kato of the University Medical Center Utrecht found in one study that a video game made for children suffering from asthma that the game helped the young patients to pick up better behaviors in their own self care, as well as educating the children about their condition.
- Dexterity: Basically, hand-eye coordination. In 2008, at the Convention of the American Psychological Association, the results of research into video games was announced, including results that surgeons who played video games regularly performed better than surgeons who did not play video games.