Print Сite this
Positive Effects of Video GamingTopic: Entertainment & Media Words: 2809 Pages: 11 Updated: Jun 8th, 2022
This positive effects of video games essay explores the benefits of games on education, cognitive skills, social side of gaming, and other aspects. Get some ideas for your positive effects of gaming essay with the help of our sample.We will write a
specifically for you
for only $16.05 $11/page308 certified writers onlineLearn MoreTable of Contents
- Gaming and Cognitive Skills
- Social Side of Online Gaming
- The Matrix Has You: Gaming and Self-Perception
- The Major Danger
- Works Cited
The influence of video gaming on an individuals physical and psychological health is a rarely debated issue in psychology and psychiatry. The majority of the research focuses on the adverse effects of video gaming such as insomnia, depression, social isolation, and even heart failure (Sublette and Mullan 4). Nevertheless, primary targets of such research are obsessive video gamers who sometimes play video games for thirty hours straight or more (Sublette and Mullan 4). While excessive video gaming can be harmful to an individuals physical and psychological health, moderate gaming can positively influence players by developing their cognitive and social skills, as well as improving the satisfaction with life and motivation.
Gaming and Cognitive Skills
First-person shooters (FPS) are frequently blamed for violent gameplay and excessive exposure to blood and other disturbing imagery. The influence of FPS on the cognitive skills of players remains a peripheral topic among psychiatrists and psychologists. However, Colzato et al. point out that playing FPS improves ones ability to react faster, as well as monitor and update working memory (238). The violence of battles in FPS can indeed be disturbing to some, but approximately the same level of violence can be seen in average action movies about wars or city gangs.
The benefit of games is that they allow the player to interact with the environment, encouraging him or her to react to situations faster, conduct complex decision-making, and refer to the collected information to ensure accurate navigation. My experience has shown me that gaming can significantly improve personal ability to navigate in an unknown place by implementing the same set of skills necessary for video gaming: attention to details, analysis of the environment, and logical reasoning.
Puzzles and quests are other types of games that also require the player to use logic and attention to complete a task. It should be noted that early childhood programs also can include puzzle games where children need to match geometry figures and shapes or find a way in (or out of) a maze. Despite their seeming simplicity, such puzzles help children think symbolically and establish cause-effect relationships. One can also pay attention to eSports professionals to understand how computer games influence our cognition. The majority of them display an incredibly fast reaction to what is happening during the game and notice any changes before other viewers are aware of them.
Their experience in games that require full attention and rapid thinking allows them to evaluate a situation much faster, and, based on this evaluation, suggest one or several decisions. The importance of decision-making in college and career is discussed extensively, but there are few suggestions on how such a skill can be improved. My suggestion is that we should play puzzle and quest games more often to evaluate our own ability to think logically and make decisions based on the limited information we have. While a game is a more or less notional situation, we have to provide multiple choices each day, and not all of them are right. I believe that games can improve this ability.
Shooter video games are perfect training bases for those who want to improve their spatial resolution and attention. As Granic et al. notice, those participants who played FPS showed faster and more accurate attention allocation, higher spatial resolution in visual processing, and enhanced mental rotation abilities (68). Furthermore, the improvement in spatial skills from playing FPS was equal to the effects of university-based courses that help attendants work on the same skills. Spatial skills, in return, can predict achievements in technology, science, engineering, and mathematics (Granic et al. 68).Get your
100% original paper
on any topic
done in as little as
3 hoursLearn More
Another fact that can support my opinion about the importance of games is the extensive use of gaming in education and healthcare facilities. Students learn to understand complex concepts such as magnetic fields or Earth rotation by playing specifically designed video games, and young patients learn new information about diseases and vaccines with the help of applications and interactive games. At the same time, future health care professionals use serious games for training and medical education (Wang et al. 45). If games begin to enter education and healthcare, it is unreasonable to argue that their main aim is still entertainment. As we can see, they become another advanced learning tool that helps users improve their target skills or knowledge.
Social Side of Online Gaming
The social side of gaming is addressed more often but with a negative attitude as well: researchers pay attention to the development of addiction in online gamers, isolation from peers, and lack of social contact with family and friends. This stereotype is based on an excessive type of gamers and not on moderate or naive (with little experience) gamers who typically use online games as a means to entertain or communicate. Trepte et al. argue that online gaming and gamers interaction with their clan results in better interactions offline as well; if gamers are willing to engage in team management, they seem to gain more social support in both settings, online as well as offline (837).
Technology and gaming are often seen as negative influences on the development of social bonds among adolescents and young adults. It happens due to the common stereotype about gamers in particular and millennials in general that portrays them as persons who prefer to spend their time on their phone or PC/laptop and write thousands of messages per day.
However, before such technologies as the Internet and instant messaging emerged, personal contacts were limited to a more or less narrow circle of family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and other acquaintances mostly from the same city or country. Today, adolescents and adults use the Internet, including online gaming, to find friends from other continents and countries, discuss their interests, and share important aspects of their life via social media and gaming as well. Bonding in online games is also successful because it attracts people with similar interests who are more likely to become friends exactly due to their corresponding perceptions of entertainment and hobbies.
Online gaming in teams also helps gamers develop leadership and management skills by providing them an opportunity to form and rule a clan or a team, where the leader will help others achieve the teams goals and gain some benefits. In-game terms, these benefits usually include gold or artifacts (weapons, spells, etc.). In real life, the knowledge about group management can come in handy during collective work on a project at the gamers place of employment. I would not say that the gamer will become a leader instantly, but, instead, he or she will use the acquired skills in a real-life setting, thus gaining real benefits from them. Online games reward effective cooperation, support, and helping behaviors, thus teaching players to build relationships offline efficiently (Granic et al. 73).
Such findings sometimes can lead to expected, but false conclusions: only nonviolent cooperative games lead to increased prosocial behavior in players, whereas violent video games influence is still more or less negative because they lead to increased aggression and competitiveness. In a way, this is true, but one should pay attention to the context in which violent games are defined as negative influences. If players choose a violent game that encourages (or requires) cooperation, they are more likely to display prosocial and helping behavior after the game is over (Granic et al. 73). What is more, cooperative gaming decreased the feelings of hostility in individuals compared to those players who preferred to play alone.
The research also found that adolescents who preferred playing cooperative games were more likely to be engaged in different civic movements such as charity or volunteering (Granic et al. 73). The potential of games in encouraging cooperation among citizens is often overseen due to their status as common, even dumb ways of entertainment that are more associated with adolescents and children than adults. However, the ability to cooperate is one of the major tools that human beings use to conduct research, invent, discover, and share. Therefore, I cannot agree with opinions that view gaming as a degrading experience. In its core, it targets unique human abilities such as the utilization of language and motion to achieve a goal, analysis, and decoding of abstract concepts and situations to choose the right time to take action, and desire to share positive and negative emotions with other human beings.We will write a custom
for you!Get your first paper with
15% OFFLearn More
The Matrix Has You: Gaming and Self-Perception
More than half of all Americans play video games (59%: 52% male and 48% female Americans) (Grooten and Kowert 70). Despite the frequent use of the word gamer in everyday lives, people often have a different understanding of gamers as persons. Some believe that gamers are those individuals who merely like to play from time to time. Others tend to view gamers as persons significantly immersed in the gaming world, i.e. interested in gaming news and fashion. According to Grooten and Kowert, a player is a temporary status that a person acquires when he or she plays any game (73). A gamer, however, is a more complex concept that relates to the cultural and social capital of a person. A gamer is not simply interested in playing games; he or she also finds a specific value in them and views him/herself through the prism of what he/she understands as being a gamer. For example, if a person has other social contacts interested in discussing games, he or she can perceive him/herself as a gamer during such conversations.
The concept of a gamer as a social identity becomes a part of the individuals self-concept (how they see themselves), and this self-concept includes parts or characteristics associated with the social group gamers that further define persons preferences and interests. The stigmatization of gamers as a social group is possible due to the existing stereotypes about this community. Gamers are often portrayed in the media as isolated, pale, overweight or malnourished individuals (more often male than female) who display an apparent obsession with games and gaming culture (Grooten and Kowert 75).
I frequently notice such stereotypes; they make me wonder whether the marginalization of the gaming community happens precisely due to negative associations (Internet addiction, mental illnesses, violent behaviors) related to gamers and gaming experience in psychological research. My decision to reference The Matrix in this section was due to my belief that social identities (including gamers) and self-perception often merge, creating a desired or partly illusionary self-concept, which incorporates both social and individual beliefs and stereotypes about gamers as a social group. For example, despite having a rich social life and harmonious relationships with peers, some gamers that I have met confessed that their primary interest in life was gaming and nothing else.
Such self-perception is the result of external labels created by pop-culture and internal desire to see oneself as a part of a social group that is famous for its obsession with a particular form of entertainment (gaming). I believe that gamers purposefully choose these labels to feel like a legitimate part of the cultural/social group they appreciate. Another problem of gamers self-perception emerges due to the lack of any clear consensus about the definition gamer in the gamers community as well (Grooten and Kowert 76).
More experienced or hardcore gamers (as they call themselves) might not accept a newbie who recently joined the community and is familiar only with a majority of recent mainstream games. At the same time, the newbie gamer would be seen as an experienced gamer by his peers who are completely unfamiliar with the gaming culture. Thus, the definition of a gamer changes depending on the perspective of the beholder.
It should also be noted that the uniqueness of a gamer identity is in its duality: when logging in a game, the gamer acquires a new personality (or an avatar) that she or he will be associated with. The importance of the avatar should not be underestimated. For example, recent complaints of female gamers about the lack of strong female protagonists in games led to the emergence of games with such avatars (Syberia, Life Is Strange, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last of Us). Furthermore, some developers decided to allow the player to choose a female or male protagonist (The Elder Scrolls, Prey, Dishonored 2, Mass Effect, various massively multiplayer online role-playing games).
However, the gamers identity can experience even more radical transformations in games, where they can play as animals and supernatural or divine beings (Ori and The Blind Forest, Divinity: Dragon Commander, The Elder Scrolls, Vampyr, Spore, Black and White). The opportunity to perceive oneself as a supernatural deity or animal is yet another factor that, in my opinion, attracts gamers because they acquire a chance to become someone (or something) else. This is the reason why gamers are perceived as escapists who prefer imaginary life to the real one (such perception is also one of the major stereotypes about gamers).
Life in a virtual community has its established values, beliefs, cultures even that encourage gamers to identify with their guilds (e.g. by wearing a particular type of coat of arms, weapons, or having an identifiable nickname such as Tom_Team_Raven, etc.). In the offline world, gamers can also use such markers to show other members of the community their values or allegiance to a certain clan. Various merchandise sold by the biggest online retailers also helps gamers translate their adherence to a game via key chains, T-Shirts, backpacks, badges, etc. Thus, the virtual life goes beyond its digital frames and integrates with the gamers real life, affecting and changing it.Need a
100% original paper
written from scratch
specifically for you?308 certified writers onlineLearn More
The Major Danger
The line between the real and the digital life is clear to some gamers but extremely blurred to others. Addiction to video games (including online ones) is the currently debated topic among psychologists and psychiatrists; the reasons behind this addiction can be different, from increased stress levels to depression and compulsiveness (Whang et al. 146). As intriguing and attractive as the digital world might be, an extensive immersion in it can significantly worsen ones quality of life and well-being.
If an interest in gaming transforms into an addiction, there is little chance that the discussed cognitive and social benefits will be derived. Instead, the person will find that she or he is unable to control her /his life, think about anything else, or find other hobbies interesting. Moreover, since the human body is not designed for a sedentary lifestyle evolutionally, addicted gamers can experience back pains, fatigue, severe headaches, and insomnia. Their social ties often crumble as well: frequent conflicts with parents about the addiction, reluctance to meet with offline friends, and a reduced interest in other activities are common among excessive gamers (Liu and Peng 1306).
Like any other addict, excessive gamers show signs of psychological dependency, which eventually results in loss of control over ones time and life. Digital life becomes more valued by gamers because they believe that they are more loved or respected there. For some, the opportunity to experience fantasy adventures (slay dragons, shoot zombies, create spells, etc.) becomes more attractive than the real-life itself. The distortion in the self-perception is also typical because gamers see their digital self as more important than the real one. The adverse impact of gaming is evident, but it only emerges when the gamer loses control over his/her hobby and prefers it to the offline life.
However, I believe that individuals can protect themselves from these consequences by paying attention to their behavior. If any negative effects of gaming outweigh its positive ones, it is advisable to stop playing any games immediately and restrain from them for several days or even weeks. If a person is interested in deriving positive benefits from gaming, he or she should play moderately, i.e. devote a limited amount of time to gaming per week (a couple of regular gaming sessions will provide the necessary benefits). Only a reasonable approach to gaming will allow one to reap the rewards.
Interest in digital games and gaming should not be perceived as a sign of possible addiction or negative quality of life. Moderate gaming can improve ones social and cognitive skills, build new online and offline relationships with other like-minded persons, and make ones free hours more adventurous and exciting. Despite the violence that repels some, brutal games can encourage a person to display helping behavior more often, thus strengthening their offline social ties.
Games exist not only as a form of entertainment. Simulators, also known as serious games, are developed to help different professionals acquire necessary skills via completing digital tasks and trying out their future role in a virtual environment. Games teach individuals how to react to events faster, solve puzzles and problems in a limited amount of time, and employ decision-making skills for a better situational outcome. Thus, gaming has significant potential in developing our cognition and making us more aware of our unique personality.
Colzato, Lorenza S., et al. Action Video Gaming and Cognitive Control: Playing First Person Shooter Games Is Associated with Improvement in Working Memory but Not Action Inhibition. Psychological Research, vol. 77, no. 2, 2013, pp. 234-239.
Granic, Isabela, et al. The Benefits of Playing Video Games. American Psychologist, vol. 69, no. 1, 2014, pp. 66-78.
Grooten, Jan, and Rachel Kowert. Going beyond the Game: Development of Gamer Identities within Societal Discourse and Virtual Spaces. Loading The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association, vol. 9, no. 14, 2015, pp. 70-87.
Liu, Ming, and Wei Peng. Cognitive and Psychological Predictors of the Negative Outcomes Associated with Playing MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games). Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 25, no. 6, 2009, pp. 1306-1311.
Sublette, Victoria Anne, and Barbara Mullan. Consequences of Play: A Systematic Review of the Effects of Online Gaming. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, vol. 10, no. 1, 2012, pp. 3-23.
Trepte, Sabine, et al. The Social Side of Gaming: How Playing Online Computer Games Creates Online and Offline Social Support. Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 28, no. 3, 2012, pp. 832-839.
Wang, Ryan, et al. A Systematic Review of Serious Games in Training Health Care Professionals. Simulation in Healthcare, vol. 11, no. 1, 2016, pp. 41-51.
Whang, Leo Sang-Min, et al. Internet Over-Users Psychological Profiles: A Behavior Sampling Analysis on Internet Addiction. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, vol. 6, no. 2, 2003, pp. 143-150.