In spite of the negative effects of video games, certain studies indicate that they may have value in terms of academic performance, perhaps because of the skills that are developed in the process.
“When you play games, you’re solving puzzles to move to the next level and that involves using some of the general knowledge and skills in maths, reading and science that you’ve been taught during the day,” said Alberto Posso an Associate Professor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, after analyzing data from the results of standardized testing completed by over 12,000 high school students across Australia.
As summarized by The Guardian, the study (published in the International Journal of Communication) “found that students who played online games almost every day scored 15 points above average in maths and reading tests and 17 points above average in science.”
However, the reporter added an important comment that was not provided by some of the numerous Web sites that published a brief summary of the Australian study: “[the] methodology cannot prove that playing video games were the cause of the improvement.” The Guardian also reported that a Columbia University study indicated that extensive video gaming by students in the 6 to 11 age group provided a greatly increased chance of high intellectual functioning and overall school competence.
In an interview with CNN, Edward Castronova, a professor of Telecommunications at Indiana University Bloomington said he was not surprised by the outcome of the Australian study but also discussed the issue of causal connection. “Though there is a link between gaming and higher math and science scores, it doesn’t mean playing games caused the higher scores. It could just be that kids who are sharp are looking for a challenge, and they don’t find it on social media, and maybe they do find it on board games and video games,” he explained.
Video games have also been proven to raise self-esteem and build confidence. It gives people an opportunity to do things that they cannot do offline, and to discover new things about themselves. There is a social aspect to gaming as well – research has shown that a third of video game players make good friends online.
As well as that, video games are also considered to be therapeutic as it helps to relieve stress. Although short term, studies have shown that children with developmental delays gain a temporary physical improvement in health when they interact and play video games on a regular, and consistent basis due to the cognitive benefits and the use of hand eye coordination.
What Are The Benefits of Playing Video Games?
- Develop Self-determination
- You Become More Creative
- Establish Relationships
- Staying Physically active
Self-determination theory (SDT) is a macro theory of human motivation based around competence, autonomy, and relatedness to facilitate positive outcomes.SDT provides a framework for understanding the effects of playing video games; well-being, problem solving, group relations, physical activities. These factors can be measured to determine the effect video games can have on people.
The ability to create an ideal image of ones self and being given multiple options to change that image gives a sense of satisfaction. This topic has much controversy; it is unknown whether this freedom can be beneficial to ones character or detrimental. With increased game usage, a players can become too invested in a fictionally generated character, where the desire to look that way overpowers the enjoyment of the game.
Players see this character creation as entertainment and a release, creating a self-image they could not obtain in reality, bringing comfort outside of the game from lack of investment to the fictional character. Problems that arise based on character design may be link to personality disorders. Problem-solving skills
Cognitive skills can be enhanced through repetition of puzzles, memory games, spatial abilities and attention control. Most video games present opportunities to use these skills with the ability to try multiple times even after failure. Many of these skills can be translated to reality and problem solving.
This allows the player to learn from mistakes and fully understand how and why a solution to a problem may work. Some researchers believe that continual exposure to challenges may lead players to develop greater persistence over time after a study was shown that frequent players spent more time on puzzles in task that did not involve video games.
Although players were shown to spend more time on puzzles, much of that could have been due to the positive effects of problem solving in games, which involve forming strategy and weighing option before testing a solution.
In a study that followed students through school, students that played video games showed higher levels of problem solving than students who did not. This contradicts the previous study in that higher success rate was seen in video game players. Time being a factor for problem solving led to different conclusions in the different studies. See video game controversies for more.
Online gaming being on the rise allows for video game players to communicate and work together in order to accomplish a certain task. Being able to work as a group in a game translates well to reality and jobs, where people must work together to accomplish a task. Research on players in violent and non-violent games show similar results, where the players relations improved to improve synergy.
With the introduction of Wii Fit and VR (virtual reality), exergame popularity has been increasing, allowing video game players to experience more active rather than sedentary game play. Mobile apps have tried to expand this concept with the introduction of Pokémon Go, which involves walking to progress in the game. Due to exergaming being relatively new, there is still much to be researched. No major differences were seen in tests with children that played on the Wii vs. a non-active game after 12 weeks. Testing a larger range of ages may show better results.