In previous articles, we haven’t spoken about the positive benefits of playing video games, but more the reasons as to why you should stop playing them.
Which might make this article a little contradicting…
The truth is, the majority of young people growing up today love video games. And since technology just keeps advancing, the excitement levels keep rising.
I grew up just as gaming at home was coming onto the scene and really starting to develop. I remember visiting my friend down the road and playing on his older brother’s Nintendo 64.
Gaming really has advanced tremendously in the past 20 years, and it’s left a lot of people with addiction. Is it bad for your health? Well… not always.
10 Benefits of Playing Video Games
Even though video games can be addicting, and there are many reasons to stop playing them altogether; for children and teenagers growing up there can be some very worthwhile benefits to playing video games.
Here’s a list of the 10 benefits of playing video games:
1. They Improve Your Decision Making Skills
Studies have shown that people who often play video games are on average 25% faster at reacting to images.
If you’ve ever played a fast-paced game such as Call of Duty, then you’ll know that observation and reflexes are the key. Over time, these two skills become second nature, and indirectly improve the speed of which your brain can make certain decisions.
2. They Reduce Stress
Another great benefit of video games is that they help reduce stress. Now, if you’ve ever seen somebody fail at the same level of a game over and over again, you’ll probably think the opposite is true.
However, another study which monitored the heart rate of regular gamers over a 6 month period, did show that gaming can lower stress levels.
3. They Help Produce Better Surgeons
Interestingly, one study that was carried out, concluded that surgeons who play video games for more than 3 hours per week made 32% less errors in practice procedures. This was mainly the case for people specializing in small incisions.
If you’re training to be a surgeon, you might want to pick up a video game controller.
4. They Encourage Kids to Become More Physically Active
Again, you’d think that video games help to do the exact opposite of the above.
“If they’re sitting around playing these games, how on earth do they become more physically active?”
This benefit is particularly focused on games that involve movement, such as sports games on the Wii, or Xbox connect. Any game that engages the player into standing up and moving the controller, entices kids into go out and playing the sport for real.
5. They Can Improve Cognitive Function
There was a game I was introduced to by my younger brother several years ago, called Minecraft. The game essentially allowed you to create you own world using materials you could find in your current environment.
You were only limited to your imagination.
This game, along with many others, can dramatically improve your cognitive function and unleash your creativity.
6. It’s Easy to Become More Social Through Games
There was once a time where games weren’t two-player, and online gaming didn’t even exist. In fact, the first time I ever played the online version of a game, the internet bill was so ridiculous I almost got banned from playing full stop.
Although, in today’s world, you can gather with friends, bond over a game, or even play with thousands of others online. Grab a headset, join a group and you’re away.
Gaming used to be very anti-social, but in recent years it’s actually started to become the opposite.
7. They Actually Help Improve Your Vision
Your mom always used to tell you not to sit so close to the television when you were younger, right?
“You’ll get square eyes!”
A little earlier on in the article I mentioned that fast paced games like Call of Duty help to improve your observation skills and reflexes.
Ie. Noticing slight movements, shadows etc. in any corner of the screen, which others might not pick up on.
I believe picking up these observation skills also helps improve your vision. A study that was conducted showed that after 10 weeks of playing, people were able to better distinguish different shades of grey.
8. They Might Help Advance Your Career
Why would playing video games improve how far you go in your career?
Well, since most games involve rewards, achievements, unlocks, new skills and so on; this gives players the drive to achieve them.
This motivation, according to researchers, is transferred from video games to real life. Many people who play video games also gain the motivation to excel in their careers.
9. They’re Often Used to Ease Pain
One of the mental benefits of video games, is that it helps people to deal with pain more easily. If you immerse yourself into a video game, you’re likely to think less about your troubles, and that’s awesome.
How often are you going through emotional pain that you just can’t stop thinking about?
I’m fairly confident in saying that you will have tried to distract yourself from the pain by thinking about something else, or keeping your mind busy with other things. Video games apparently are one of the best things to help you do exactly that.
10. They Help Keep Cravings at Bay
Keeping yourself distracted is a great way of combating cravings. Many smokers, alcoholics and binge eaters find that putting a video game controller in their hands completely takes their mind off their cravings.
Essentially, playing video games has helped a lot of people to quit some very bad and unhealthy habits.
Here’s a quick recap on the 10 surprising benefits of playing video games:
- Improve Your Decision Making Skills
- Reduce Stress
- Help Produce Better Surgeons
- Encourage Kids to Become More Physically Active
- Improve Cognitive Function
- It’s Easy to Become More Social Through Games
- Actually Help Improve Your Vision
- Might Help Advance Your Career
- Often Used to Ease Pain
- Help Keep Cravings at Bay
I am thinking of selling my ps3 games because I haven’t used them in years. I then thought of giving them to my sisters kids because I heard there was some benefit to playing video games. I’ll have to show her all of these benefits, but knowing that they could make their career better, now that’s awesome. I especially like where you point out that it helps them chase awards, achievements and gives them a drive to work towards something. Thanks for the article!