The effects that playing video games has been hotly debated for years. This is similar to the debates that took place when television first began to take hold and when rock’n’roll was first playing on airwaves, much to the delight of teenagers the world over.

Health consequences

While some argued that rock’n’roll created a change in society and respect for its rules, there is little doubt that the obsession with video games has had an impact. This includes addiction issues, obesity and an increase in aggression. Addiction is a real concern for many parents as the younger generation become glued to video game screens and lose social interaction skills.

While this is a reality, video game research has shown that there is good that can come from video games in relation to therapeutic uses, educational uses as well as helping improve hand-eye coordination. One recent study showed that those playing video games have an increased ability with spatial visualization. This involves manipulating and rotating two or three-dimensional objects.

Adding to this, the study showed that there are positives to video game playing more than there are negatives. The negative could be balanced by a reduction in violent themed games, but those games also help to improve cognition, attention and perception performance.

Recently, researchers undertook experiments with a small number of people who played video games extensively to test and determine if they had an increased perception of pattern discrimination than those that played less often. Another experiment saw researchers training gamers with less experience on action games. They then had fifty hours of game time and researchers than tested participants on their perceptional skills. The results showed that playing regularly improves the mechanism in which governs cognition, attention and perception.

Video Games are cross-generational

What is known is that video games are cross-generational, meaning that they are irrelevant to age, race, gender or education. The use of video games can be used as a tool to achieve goals, increase self-esteem and even impact behavioural changes.

Video games furthermore have been shown to stimulate learning and allow those playing to develop skills that are transferable. An example of that is flight simulation games as it promotes learning, accepting challenges and learning how to overcome obstacles or the unexpected.

As video games are engaging, they also have the ability to be therapeutical. Uses include physiotherapy and increased hand-eye coordination for the elderly. Video games have also been shown to reduce the pain medication in children suffering from treatments for various illness as video games occupy their minds instead of focusing on the pain they are feeling.

Towards education, they are known to add to the allure of learning as a result of the entertainment aspect, and those games designed specifically to help teach those with specific learning disabilities have been proven to provide tools towards learning.