“Turn that off before you melt your brain.” Almost every child who consistently plays video games has heard something along those lines. From quiet grunts of disapproval to enraged scoldings, the message is clear: many parents don’t believe video games are anything more than a wasteful pastime.
According to an University of Michigan poll, 86% of parents believe their teens play video games too long, and 75% try to curb gaming time by encouraging other activities.
People are often quick to jump to the “cons” of gaming: It’s addicting, violent games lead to violent and aggressive behaviors, or video games make gamers anti-social.
Yes, gaming addiction can be a problem, but that, and other problems with gaming such as retina damage due to overexposure to blue light, can be avoided by moderating play time. Furthermore, arguments against gaming don’t hold up to reality anyway and are not as significant as the benefits of playing video games.
In fact, in our reality of quarantine and COVID-19, video games enable us to not be antisocial.
Distanced from our friends and limited in our physical interactions, we take to the digital world to have our adventures.
Whether it’s playing search and destroy on Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War or exploring an ocean temple in Minecraft, games give us mental alleviation from the stresses of remote learning and hybrid learning.
Gaming isn’t a waste of time either. Studies have found that fast-paced, competitive games like Call of Duty improved spatial awareness, short term memory and quick-decision making, according to the American Psychological Association .
The APA has also found that strategic and role-playing games improved problem-solving skills in players, even affecting performance in school positively.
These improvements were also shown to be present in older adults.
So, parents, disgruntled adults, naysayers of video games, the next time you walk by the PS4 or Xbox, consider giving it a go.
— By Staff
Originally published in the Dec. 15 edition of the Octagon.