The Health Benefits of Playing Video Games
Jan 21, 2021
The idea that video games are bad for our health is drilled into us over our lifetimes. While the sedentary lifestyle of playing video games can harm you if not managed correctly, it’s not the only way that video games play a part in our health and cognition. Numerous studies have been done on the health benefits of playing video games and we wanted to show any dissenters out there that video games aren’t evil. In fact, there are quite a few mental cognition benefits to regular bouts of playing video games. We here at Glassy Eyewear take both health and video games seriously, which is why this article is so important.
While it’s true that this is the excuse every young gamer gives to their parents when they’ve decided they’ve played enough for the day, there is quite a bit of truth to the idea. Hand-to-eye coordination is an essential skill to develop as we age. Video games provide the opportunity to use multiple different coordinating functions in our bodies:
- Our eyes take in what we see on the screen
- Our brain reacts to these signals instantly
- The brain sends signals through the nerves down to the hands to react accordingly
- Our hands move in quick movements to interact with the game world
Like most physical acts our body does, these movements become quicker and easier the more you do them. Practice makes perfect, both in life and video games.
Improved Social Skills
The image of a gamer as someone that is completely anti-social and locks themselves away from the world could not be more outdated nowadays. Modern games have shifted away from the singular experiences they once were. Most video games have a social component to them, whether it’s connecting and playing with your friends or meeting complete strangers in a massively multiplayer online RPG.
Video games can teach people, especially kids, a lot about how to interact with others. They can build strong bonds between people and contribute to being a good team player. They can even open someone up to new experiences and viewpoints through the people they game with. Despite what some would say, video games are an excellent social lubricant.
Improved Spatial Recognition
This is mostly a scientific way of saying that video games can help improve your sense of sight. Video games are deluges of information. With so much happening on screen at once, it’s understandable when a non-gamer has trouble reacting to all the stimuli. Over time, your eyes adjust to the influx of different stimuli and you become better at deciphering what your eyes see at a faster pace.
Obviously, staring at a screen for hours on end isn’t going to benefit your actual eyesight. Though video games can contribute to your sense of sight, the blue light from your tv or computer screen is detrimental to the physicality of your eyes. Therefore, Glassy Eyewear creates high-quality prescription gaming glasses so you can stay in the game without damaging your eyes.
Increased Ability To Multitask
Video games aren’t just Pac-Man anymore. Modern games have become very complex systems that require immense brain power to play correctly. Rarely do you have a game with a singular task to focus on. You will almost always multitask when the controller is in your hands. You might need to keep an eye on your ammo while shooting down an alien, or you may need to predict your opponent’s next moves while considering what your own base needs.
Multitasking is more of a learned skill rather than a talent one is born with. Video games provide ample opportunities to use this skill to its fullest extent. Even repetitive games can make multitasking much simpler to perform in real life.
Improved Problem-Solving Skills
What are video games if not just a series of puzzles to be put together? You could play a game that calls itself a puzzle game or you might play a first-person shooter or a strategy game; either option is really just a different set of puzzles to solve. With each problem solved comes more understanding of how the game works, leading to the ability to solve more difficult problems later.
This is a common phenomenon we see in all video games. Problems start small so they are easy to identify and fix. These smaller problems build up and evolve into larger problems that the player must deal with. Using what they’ve learned earlier in the game, the player can put together a solution from all the relevant information they’ve collected.
Reduced Mental Decline
Perhaps one of the most interesting health benefits of playing video games is their ability to fight the effects of aging and mental degradation. As we age, our cognition becomes slower and more difficult to use as a result of many different factors. Lack of stimulation, certain diseases, and loss of grey matter in the brain can all cause mental decline that lowers a person’s quality of life.
Video games can fight this for many of the reasons we have listed above. Stimulating our brains is not something that is only important at a young age. Older people also need regular mental stimulation to keep them sharp. Video games can also promote a stronger memory and cognitive flexibility, both of which can decline without stimulation.
The benefits to one’s cognition from playing video games is one of the greatest things about them, aside from their fun factor. Video games received a bad backlash early on in their life from those who believed that they would rot our brains and make us dull. With everything we’ve just listed, it’s quite easy to see that video games can do the exact opposite.
Glassy Eyewear wants you to enjoy the benefits of playing games to the utmost capacity. In order to do that, we offer products that can help protect you against the real problems that screens and blue light can cause.