Research Shows That Playing Video Games Isn't as Bad as We Thought

Let’s face it, science can be really tiring! Whether you are in university, are out in the field studying mammals or fish, work in a laboratory, or in any other part of the field, there comes a time when we all need to switch off. For many people, playing video games is a great way to wind down, and  in today’s technology-based world there are a range of enhanced gaming products being made readily available.

In the past, playing games were deemed unhealthy and had the image of a sedentary activity that was largely enjoyed by “lazy” teenagers. Nowadays, though, the stigma around gaming has changed, particularly as research has gathered pace and a variety of benefits around gaming have been established. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a selection of surprising benefits that are associated with this go-to entertainment option. 

Video games help people establish social connections

This first benefit isn’t actually too surprising, particularly given the various social features that are in games. The rise of multiplayer gaming has resulted in a more social gaming experience, whereas in the past, the image of stereotypical gamer largely focussed on darkened rooms and a generally lonely entertainment option to explore. In the modern environment, though, gamers find love online, they play games with their friends, converse with like-minded gamers online, there are streaming platforms like Twitch that help provide a community aspect, and plenty of other ways gamers can establish various social connections. 

Video games could improve vision

While sitting too close to the screen apparently damaged our eyes in the past, according to research, scientists have found that playing games can actually improve our vision. If played in moderation, the concentration required for gaming and the variety of different shades of grey that appear in games means our eyes are better at discerning certain shades, while the attention required provides a solid workout for the eyes. 

Video games can potentially help people conquer attention deficit issues

Whether it’s through playing an action-packed game or during an authentic live casino gaming experience through games like poker with a live dealer present, numerous studies have suggested that playing games, particularly those with an action aspect, have shown that people with attention deficits show improved signs of focus when playing games. Researchers believe that this is due to the constantly changing environments that gaming typically serves up, therefore requiring intense focus that otherwise wouldn’t be there for some people. Of course, if you choose casino games, you should always play responsibly and within your means. 

Playing games improves decision-making skills

Given the influx of information and events that are typically occurring in video games, one study has shown that because players are forced to adapt to ever-changing situations and make decisions under pressure in an all-action, fast-paced environment, it can actually have a positive impact on an individual’s ability to make decisions. Compared to people who don’t play video games, the players who took part in the study were an astonishing 25% faster in reacting to questions about an image than those who hadn’t played games. 

Gaming reduces stress levels

The opposite is a commonly held view, but gaming can actually reduce stress levels and help people switch off from the trials and tribulations of everyday life. While some titles can indeed increase stress levels if a specific boss cannot be destroyed, there are certain games that are linked with reducing stress as a study by Carmen Russoniello at East Carolina University found. The research found that gamers had decreased stress levels after measuring their heart rates. 

Other research around playing video games has found that it can help address autism, can curb unhealthy cravings, can improve balance in people with multiple sclerosis, can slow down the aging process, and it improves leadership skills. So, all in all video games, when played in moderation of course, have a bunch of benefits for people of all ages. So, next time you want to wind down with a video game, don’t feel any guilt, and just enjoy it! 

Written by Austin Crane

Austin is the principle web director for Untamed Science and Stone Age Man. He is also the web-director of the series for the High School biology, Middle Grades Science and Elementary Science content. When Austin isn't making amazing content for the web, he's out on his mountain bike or in a canoe.

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