The truth is, video games are not bad for you… in moderation. Gaming is a hobby like any other, and like most hobbies, gaming actually has a positive effect on both cognitive and social abilities with 1–2 hours of gaming a day. This article by researchers Adam Eichenbaum, Daphne Bavelier, and C. Shawn Green show evidence of video games improving the following mental processes:
- decision making
Some other studies showed the following improvements in basic visual processes:
- Reduction of mental decline that accompanies aging (Torres., 2011)
- Overcoming dyslexia (Franceschini et al., 2013)
- improved visual contrast sensitivity (Li et al., 2009)
- successful treatment of the “lazy eye” (Li et al., 2009)
- improved spatial attention (Green and Bavelier., 2012)
- improved ability to track moving objects (Trick et al., 2005)
- reduced impulsiveness (Dye, Green, and Bavelier., 2009)
The bulk of the research suggests the “dangers of video gaming” are largely myths and that there are real positive effects. However, that isn’t to say that video gaming can have real-life consequences.
Although there are positive effects to 1–2 hours of video gaming per day, too much video gaming can be harmful. Those who play more than 3 hours of video games per day have been shown to have problems such as hyperactivity, attention, and inept social skills.
Playing video games for longer than 3 hours a day can also cause vision issues, headaches, and stress.
In short, video games are just like any other hobby. A casual hobby is great for exploring interests, increasing creativity, and improving cognitive function. Once that hobby becomes an addiction, it can impair the quality of life.
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