Video games are often dismissed as simple or as the domain of couch potatoes, but did you know that many common elements of these simulated worlds can offer tangible benefits in real life? The advantages of video games for children and Younger include the following:
1. Video games can improve manual dexterity.
Controller-based games can be great for your hands. In a study with a group of surgeons, researchers found that those who played video games performed advanced procedures faster and made 37 percent fewer mistakes than those who did not. Special video games have also been used as physiotherapy to help stroke victims regain control of their hands and wrists.
2. Video games can increase your brain’s gray matter.
Playing is a workout for your mind disguised as fun. Studies have shown that playing video games regularly can increase gray matter in the brain and improve brain connectivity. (Gray matter is associated with muscle control, memories, perception and spatial navigation.)
3. Gamers may have better social skills.
The stereotype of a shy person using video games as a way of escape does not correspond to what the average gamer looks like. Previous research on children found that those who played more video games were more likely to have good social skills, perform better academically, and have better relationships with other students due to the social and collaborative component of some games.
4. Games can teach you to be a better problem solver.
Open-world, mission-based, and multi-level games are designed like complex puzzles that take several hours to solve. Sometimes, the solution varies based on your actions in the game. Learning to think on your feet and strategize in a fast-paced fantasy environment is a skill that can translate to the real world. One long-term study published in 2013 showed that children who played strategy-based games showed an improvement in problem-solving skills—and thus, tended to get better grades—the next school year.
5. You can become more physically active as a gamer.
Most major consoles now have the technology to get players off the couch and onto their feet. The future of VR gaming will take things to a whole new level. Mobile game programmers have also started creating games that are played in physical space, building them around real location data and inspiring players to move to advance in the virtual world.
6. Video games can improve your vision.
As long as you’re not staring at the screen for 10 hours (or sitting two feet away), playing video games can actually lead to better vision. In one study, 10 male students who were not gamers were trained in first-person action games for 30 hours and then tested against 10 non-gamers. The students who played were able to see objects in crowded rooms more clearly due to the improved spatial resolution. They were able to train their brains to see minor details, because in every game these details turned out to be important.
7. Video games can have mental health benefits.
Studies have shown that some video games can improve mood and provide a better heart rhythm — a sign that they can also help relieve stress. The correlation (not causality) between video games and stress is reflected in numerous independent studies, which is why video games have been used in therapy for over a decade.
8. They’re a fun way to get tricked into learning
There are video games for almost everything. From an early age, developers realized that video games can be used to improve reading and math skills. Today there are games that include world history, cooking, politics, chemistry, architecture and other topics that you may not have been exposed to at school
9. Video games can inspire you to be more persistent.
With video games, you either win or keep trying and learn from your mistakes as you progress until you reach the goal. For this reason, some researchers and educators argue that video games can teach people to be more confident and work towards their goals, with each misstep being just another learning opportunity.
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