The research is out and it’s great news for all the gamers out there: despite the fears that online games would contribute to unwanted ailments or behaviour such as obesity or isolation and violence, studies have proven that your favourite pastime improves perception, attention, memory, decision-making skills – and it certainly isn’t the anti-social activity some make it out to be. On the contrary. In fact, there are benefits you can only get from gaming, and you’re getting them right in the comfort of your own home. Surprised? Here are the main physical and psychological advantages you can get from online games.
Whilst myths about watching a screen for too long can give you eye problems still persist, tests have proven that gamers show an improvement in visual contrast sensitivity – more specifically, gamers who played more than fifty hours of video games (spread over twelve weeks) could distinguish better between shades of grey. Playing games also showed positive effects for people suffering from Amblyopia (lazy eye disorder stemming from early childhood).
Gamers showed improved attention – focus and duration – as well as higher vigilance levels. This was manifested in several ways:
- Players showed improved spatial attention by being able to locate objects quickly, seek stimulus attractions, and drive better.
- Players showed improved ability to keep track of moving objects.
- Players had a better impulsiveness score – meaning they were able to hold off longer in seeking satisfaction and did not immediately get persuaded by non-target stimulus.
In some cases of dyslexia – cases where the ailment seems to stem from visual attention – games have proven to help patients with their struggles.
Everyday tasks often demand more time and energy than we give them credit for – if you’ve been going through the day doing a whole range of chores and feeling tired at night, you know what it means. Online gaming helps the skills necessary for executive functioning (allocating your resources of time and brain functions – memory, critical thinking, and so on). This is because games help improve:
- Mental flexibility
- Mental alertness
- Quick decision making
And whilst those benefits mainly originate from practice of the mind, it has serious consequences on the body. There’s no doubt there are some obese players constantly playing online games, but their obesity has not been correlated to the game – rather, it’s an underlying condition. Gaming has medical benefits: patients who are recovering from an illness or accident tend to recuperate and heal faster than those who don’t participate in online gaming – especially if it’s a game where you can win money, such as virtual football. It’s a productive expenditure of time and energy: there’s excitement, social interaction, and lots of fun: wonderful to keep the spirits up.