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Is Gaming Beneficial or Harmful to the Brain?

Original article from Breezed Life

Video games are a popular pastime for children. Even though they may be young, they don’t often think about the impact of video gaming on their social and cognitive development. Some teens and young adults might not know the benefits and disadvantages of video gaming on their lives and brains. We will discuss the scientific evidence that gaming can be beneficial or detrimental to our most important organ.

Popular Opinion

According to the Pew Research Center(1) video gaming is very popular among teens, particularly teenage boys. Over 84% of American teens have a gaming console or have access reliable connectivity. Six out of ten respondents (62%) think that video games don’t affect their kids. 13% say it has a negative effect on their children, 19% say it has a positive impact, and 5% believe that they have both a positive and negative influence , depending on which game(2).

The research data presented may not prove conclusive. However, this topic deserves to be discussed in depth to get a better understanding. By analyzing the effects of gaming on cognitive processes, both young and old gamers must determine if video gaming is beneficial or harmful.

Video Gaming May Affect Your Brain

Video gaming has been shown to have a positive effect on the brain. Kuhn and colleagues, 2019, examining the effects of computer gaming and cognition on brain structure, function, and cognition, concluded that video games have a positive effect on cognition as reflected in brain function.

They clarified however that cognition is only one aspect. There are other potential consequences video gaming can have on your physical, emotional, or social well-being(4).

The University of Arkansas researchers also found that experts have higher brain activity related to attention than non-experts. The researchers concluded that video gaming can alter brain activity and improve attention skills(5).

Video Gaming: Good or Bad for the Brain

Video games can be enjoyed by anyone. However, not all gamers can enjoy the same benefits. Video gaming can have different harmful effects on different age groups. However, there are some common pros and cons to playing video games:

Video Gaming has many benefits

These are four ways that gamers can benefit from this type of cognitive activity.

1. Video games may reverse the negative effects of brain aging

Researchers at the University of California(6) have reported that video games intended to improve cognitive function may reverse certain negative effects of brain aging.

The researchers discovered that a 3-D videogame could be used to improve brain performance in older adults.

Participants in the research received 12 hours of training and one month of playability.

The results showed that players between 60 and 85 years old had better cognitive performance than those in their 20s who played the game for the first-time.

Training also improved two critical cognitive areas: working memory and sustained focus.

2. Video games may improve basic visual processes

According to University of Rochester’s website, video games that have high levels of action can improve real-world vision(7). Research shows that action gamers are 58% more adept at contrast perception.

Researchers believe video games can improve the brain’s ability to process visual information efficiently. These improvements last for many months even after the game is over.

3. Video games may enhance executive functioning Gaming (8) may help improve executive functioning (the ability to quickly and efficiently solve problems). Gaming can also help develop multitasking skills and mental flexibility, and can reverse cognitive decline in some age groups(9).

4. Video Games may improve your everyday skills

Videogaming has been shown to improve hand-eye coordination, attention span, and speed up decision-making (10)

Another interesting result is that video games can reduce anxiety and depression. For example, Tetris may help reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (11).

Video Gaming Has Negative Side Effects

Here are four reasons gaming can be harmful to your health.

1. Video games may make people more violent Researchers have discovered a link between aggressive video games and violent video games. This is mostly due to games that simulate firearm use (12).

2. Video Games may reduce player’s ability to concentrate It is possible to stay focused by playing video games. Videogaming may increase impulsiveness in individuals with this natural tendency (13).

3. Video Games May Cause Addiction Video game addiction is common among youth gamers. This can lead to problems in family and social relationships, and can also have negative psychological effects (14).

4. Video games may increase anxiety and depression Video gaming can cause or worsen anxiety and depression. The younger gamers are more likely to develop symptoms of depression (15). Video games also have a place in education and research. Farrell and colleagues, 2017, discovered the following results from their study of academic uses for video games using a qualitative assessment (16):

  • Academic libraries provide services and collections for scholars who use videogame connectivity in their teaching and research.

  • 28 of the University of Minnesota Libraries’ interviewees used games for research and 23 used them in teaching.

  • A variety of information and technology requirements were used to identify strong disciplinary trends.

These findings are essential for encouraging the development of multidisciplinary strategies to develop video games services and collections that are relevant in unique academic communities.

Video Gamers: Advice

Video games can be used to help young people express their creativity and foster relationships with others.

Video games can help build resilience and perseverance in order to achieve your goals. Gaming can also improve critical thinking skills and communication skills.

Popular video games among teens and children include:

  • Strategy Games

  • Simulation Games

  • Action Role-Playing Games

  • Puzzle Games

  • Games for Sport

  • Action-Adventure Games

Video games have become a part of the lives of many younger people. It can be either a benefit or a disadvantage, depending on how it affects the person’s behavior and cognitive performance.


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