Video Games And The Human Brain


Is It Wrong To Play Video Games?

For most people, video games are meant just for children and teenagers. Now, with advancements in the gaming industry, we have games that interest different age groups. In fact, now the average age of a gamer is in the mid 30’s.

Everyone encounters someone who says and believes that video games are a waste of our time and our minds. Most parents discourage their children against video games and they have their reasons, but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely right.

This issue has been discussed and debated for a long time but in truth, gaming is a double-edged sword – while it can cause aggressive behaviour, highly emotional responses, anxiety, obesity or even seizures in certain people, it does have many positive effects on the human body, more importantly, on the brain. The reality is that most of these problems arise when gamers keep playing for hours and basically binge on gaming, just like with food (and some on both).

Studies from Canada suggest that gamers have a better vision than non-gamers. They can perceive fine contrast differences better than non-gamers and while driving in the night or in dusk, these minute details can mean a lot. Video games can also improve one’s peripheral vision and navigating skills. For example, while playing action games, the gamer is required to monitor their entire field of vision, and look everywhere for clues or the enemy, as they could be anywhere. Your mind stays sharp, looking for the enemy, who can kill you from anywhere, at anytime. This keeps you focused, causing an adrenaline rush and making the brain more active.

While it’s was believed that video games could cause attention problems, it’s been found that gamers, especially the ones playing action games have faster responses and can solve conflicts quicker. Gamers can develop a heightened sensitivity to their surroundings, which in turn can help them in daily activities like multitasking, driving, or even keeping track of certain people in huge crowds. They also receive visual and auditory information much faster than non-gamers and can make quicker decisions. Another study suggests that people playing interactive video games like on the Wii, have improved motor skills like kicking or catching. Interactive gaming can improve and develop movement skills, especially in children.

Video games can even improve your hand-eye coordination skills. When you shoot accurately while playing a first-person shooter game like in Call of Duty, or shoot a football at the right time while playing FIFA 13, you’re using these skills by planning your shots at the right moments using cognition skills. Studies even suggest that gaming can help tackle traumatic moments by absorbing the mind into the game, and avoiding the flashbacks to build up again.

Now, there is no doubt that playing 10 hours non-stop is bad for your health but, if played in moderate spurts of around forty minutes a day, the positive effects of gaming can last for months without causing any damages.

So there’s nothing wrong with playing video games, in fact with the right doses, they can help one build a sharper, faster and smarter brain.

Akhil Thakur

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