Video games can be educational and beneficial.
According to a research study published in American Psychologist, playing video games, including violent shooter games, can help children learn, remain safe, and socialize. The research comes as psychologists and other health practitioners continue to discuss the impact of violent media on children and adolescents. The American Psychological Association’s task force is undertaking a systematic study of studies on violence in video games and digital media, with the results expected later this year.
“Significant research has already been conducted for decades on the negative effects of gaming, including addiction, depression, and violence, and we are definitely not saying that this should be overlooked,” says Isabela Granic, Ph.D., lead author of the study from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. “However, a more balanced viewpoint is needed to comprehend the effect of video games on the growth of children and adolescents.”
According to several studies reviewed in the report, though one commonly held belief holds that playing video games is intellectually lazy. These video games can improve a variety of cognitive skills like spatial navigation, thinking, memory, and perception. According to the writers, this is particularly true for violent shooter video games. According to a 2013 meta-analysis, playing shooter video games enhanced a player’s ability to think about objects in three dimensions almost as well as college courses aimed at improving these skills.
“Because previous research has proven the power of spatial skills for achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” says Granic, “this has critical implications for education and career growth.” Other forms of video games, such as puzzles or role-playing games, did not produce the same improved thought level.
According to the writers, playing video games will help kids learn problem-solving skills. According to a long-term study published in 2013, the more teenagers reported playing strategic video games like role-playing games, the higher their problem-solving skills and school grades improved the following year. According to other studies, playing some video games, even violent ones, enhanced children’s imagination, but not when they used different technology types, such as a computer or a mobile phone.
According to the report, simple games like “Angry Birds” that are easy to access and play quickly can boost players’ moods, encourage relaxation, and reduce anxiety. “When playing video games makes people happy, this seems to be a simple emotional advantage to recognize,” Granic said. The authors also stated that video games could help teach failure resilience. The authors claim that children can improve emotional endurance in their daily lives by learning to cope with repetitive defeats in games.
The socially disconnected gamer is yet another stereotype that the study debunks. According to the article, more than 70% of gamers play with a pal. Millions of people play vast virtual worlds like “Farmville” and “World of Warcraft.” According to the authors, multiplayer games have developed into virtual social groups in which players must make fast decisions about whom to trust and reject and how to lead a community. According to a 2011 survey, people who play cooperative video games, even if they are violent, are more likely to support others than those who compete in the same competitions.