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10 Benefits & 10 Negatives of Video Games


How has gaming affected you?

Five benefits of gaming:

  1. Spatial-reasoning skills
  2. Education 
  3. Collaboration and social skills
  4. Critical thinking skills (Try Portal 2)
  5. Rehabilitation or specific skills

Five Surprising Benefits of Video Games |

Online video games may assist people in gaining confidence, increasing leadership/team skills and trying out new identities. In Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), collaborations can range from two to twenty players at a time. In order for mission completion, individuals must be able to communicate and carry out instructions as a team for mutual gains. Working together increases awareness of others as well as emotional regulation skills. When a group fails together, it may get frustrating, but success as a team also increases cohesion and a stronger sense of community. Being able to communicate effectively, especially through difficult situations, is an important skill that can be developed through online gaming.

People who are seen as shy or socially inexperienced may be able to gain confidence with interpersonal relationships through online games as well. Communicating through the internet while building rapport with strangers gives practice to needed skills for maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships. Typing may be seen as less intimidating or not as direct as face to face communication, which could give shyer people a chance to make connections with others safely.

Games that require multiple roles for success allow players to try on different possibilities. Sometimes a player must be more assertive in the team, and some missions require increased problem solving or awareness of the entire team's health status. Being able to take on many roles may increase a person's flexibility with expectations at work or home.

Additional benefits of gaming:

  1. Increased creativity
  2. Improved math and language skills
  3. Increased decision making skills
  4. Hand-eye coordination, increased visual skills (attention to detail)
  5. Increased motivation

10 Benefits of Video Games |

Bavelier (2012) spoke about several benefits of gaming which countered an assumption that gaming decreases attention-span. It was also asserted that attention to detail and vision skills increased when gaming a few hours a week. Gaming was also compared to consuming wine--with reasonable doses, usage and timing, can have benefits and increase brain plasticity (Bavelier, 2012).  It depends on the quality of the game, amount of time gamed, and the age of the gamer. With this positive understanding of the impact of games, there are hopes to promote gaming experiences that can improve education and rehabilitation programs for the future. 

Negatives of gaming:

  1. Social isolation, problems with relationships outside of gaming
  2. Increased aggression
  3. Bullying behavior online
  4. Increased emotionality and outbursts with losing
  5. Skewed gender roles for women
  6. Confused fantasy with reality
  7. Physical health problems from increased sitting: back aches, carpal tunnel for PC gaming, neck pain, lack of sleep
  8. Impairment in academics
  9. Impairment in work performance
  10. Increase in behavioral or emotional disorder complaints

There is an increased concern for gaming addiction as our society becomes more dependent on technology. More people are using smart phones, and video games are a normal part of this culture. Normal does not always mean healthy, though. With increased video game usage comes the health and mental wellness concerns of addiction. Many of us have been through or know someone who plays video games "all the time." There may not be a problem for the person gaming, however, loved ones may feel neglected if they are not participating in gaming. Marriages could suffer if partners choose to spend more time gaming than with their loved ones at night. Many young gamers have also been reported forgetting to eat or sleep because they were immersed in the game.

Although there are numerous benefits to gaming, it may be useful to consider warning signs of gaming addiction with loved ones or oneself. Reasonable doses can have positive effects on our health and behavior (Bavelier, 2012).

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