With gaming companies spending more on research and development, video games had undergone a makeover in the last few years. As a result, video games are getting increasingly interactive with detailed graphics, better resolution and detailed storylines. The main objective, of these games, has been to tap the young teens and to grow its customer base and to that end, it has been remarkably effective. Given this, it is time that we took a closer look at some of the positive and negative effects of playing video games.
Positive impact of playing video games:
- Cognitive functioning: According to some of the latest research, conducted by the University of Wisconsin, it seems that there is a positive spin-off to playing video games for long hours. As the study delves into the effect of video games on the human brain it soon became evident that both increased focus and concentration were resulting in more neural links being built, all of which can help you process complex processes faster. In a sense, playing video games can help improve cognitive functioning in the long run.
- Hand-eye coordination: as the games get more complex, players are often required to utilize great dexterity, including visual-spatial and hand-eye coordination to win the same. As these skills are localized to certain areas of the brain, young teens are able to develop the same as a result of increased concentration on improving their visual-spatial abilities with hand-eye coordination.
- Critical thinking: As most of the video games are increasingly complex today, a certain degree of skills, especially critical thinking is required. Young teens who are addicted to games that require the same are able to process complex tasks much faster than others, as a result of habitual exposure to complex games which in turn helped improve their critical thinking skills. The game requires you to complete a certain task within a stipulated time and as a result, the gamer is able to process similar complex tasks faster than others which can come in handy in the medical field.
Negative impact of playing video games:
- Addiction: various studies have shown how playing video games is equally if not more addictive than say, coffee. For example, young players often feel a rush on winning a video game, an act that ends with their brain releasing dopamine along with adrenaline. Soon, they are hooked to this rush and as a result, start playing these games more. But the brain is geared to push the user to meet a higher target in order to experience the same high which is why there are so many out there, who are addicted to video games, have little or no social life and play these games 24*7
- Aggressive behavior: As mentioned earlier, video games are getting increasingly graphic and when it comes to teens playing these games, they are more susceptible to the subtext than say, adults. As a result of all that gratuitous violence in these games, teens are more prone to be aggressive and often act out as a result of being influenced by these games.
- Poor academic performance: This is the one area where there is an immediate impact; as teens get hooked onto these games, they often have little or no time for anything else and as a result, cannot focus or concentrate enough on their studies. A recent study highlighted the fact that most of the school children, nearly 70% play online games and out of which nearly half have played or still play role-playing games. Naturally, their academic performance had taken a nosedive as a result of increased focus on these games.
- Impact on health: Playing video games for long hours can have an impact on your health. Other than the obvious one where your senses, especially your sight can get affected by staring at the screen for long hours, it is the resultant inactivity that leads these young teens to develop chronic disorders. As a result of all that inactivity, most gaming addicts become obese and develop a range of health conditions from diabetes, muscular and joint pains and even develop cardiovascular issues.
It is important that we take the right decision when it comes to our children and while gaming does seem to provide a young user with certain advantages, the negatives far outweigh the positive. That’s why it is important that all underage gaming activity is actively monitored so as the protect the underage gamer from any serious health impact.
- negative effects of playing video games