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Video games are not only popular among the kids, but a large community of adults have also adopted it. With them being in demand, more and more new games are releasing every year. Furthermore, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) continue to be immensely popular. Every day, games like League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Fortnite and Final Fantasy draw millions of players into their virtual worlds (Bezrutczyk, 2020).

 

And with the rising popularity, there comes the increased concerns regarding video games such as what are the consequences of playing video games? Do violent games really cause more violence among players? Are video games really just a waste of time or does playing them actually bring some benefits?

 

Hence, in this article, we will be mentioning the pros and cons of playing video games.

 

Video Games Pros

 

Improve Cognitive Functioning

 

Gaming under healthy and moderate circumstances can amount to improvement with regards to spatial orientation in which when the first time a play enters any major area in a video game, they are likely to be lost and confused but fast forward to a couple more times in the fame, they will have turned spatial orientation into a routine where knowing the routes and points of interest becomes second nature.

 

Gaming also helps in the improvement of memory formation, especially in visual and short-term memory. For example, games like Magicka or Invoker Wars, requiring the player to effectively memorize a series of key combinations and synergies (Pascal, 2019).

 

 

Forming of Friendship

A lot of video games these days can be played online with people from all over the world. This can lead to friendship that you might have thought were not possible (Clare, 2019). Finding company is the first step towards discovering mutual interests, and gaming can speed that up. It is a straightforward way of skipping past the formalities and awkward hiccups a face-to-face interaction would normally imply.

 

In an era of dissidence over politics, religion and conflicting value systems, gaming’s interpersonal nature helps to strengthen the human bonds, the same way that any other activity that two individuals share a mutual interest in (Pascal, 2019). Furthermore, certain games require the players’ teamwork to overcome specific tasks that can only be accomplished when people unite, therefore, resulting in you having to get along and communicate. In such games, one needs to work faster than usual to avoid dragging the whole team to the losing end (Merashi, 2019).

 

Emotional Resilience

 

Playing video games can help us develop emotional resilience. Most of us have cried because of a game or two. Even if we have been truly stoic and have never shed a single tear because of a particular story or the death of a character in a game we were invested in, we have felt something that was not pleasant because of a game (Screen Therapy, 2017).

 

There are games that push us and test us. They give us a story with immersive, high stakes, gameplay and relatable or likeable characters and then that one thing happens, and we feel, momentarily, awful. But what do we do? Do we immediately resort to closing the game and turning off our consoles? No, we keep playing trying to succeed. This is how mental and emotional resilience looks like. Emotional resilience is what we exercise when we have been confronted by an emotionally difficult or stressful experience and we make the conscious choice to push forward (Screen Therapy, 2017).

 

We do not avoid the stress or negative experience by immediately turning off the game and never playing it again (usually), instead we roll with it, accept it, and continue on our journeys because we have a goal in the game that we need to accomplish and we cannot turn back now.

 

Video Games Cons

 

Addictive

 

One of the main reasons that become so addictive is because they are designed to be that way. Video game designers, like anyone else that are trying to make a profit, are always looking for ways to get more people playing their games, and they do so by offering an endless adventure inside a fantasy world where players can essentially live a different life as a new person and provide them with an opportunity to escape reality and leave behind the problems of the real world (Bezrutczyk, 2020).

 

Furthermore, video games host large communities where many people feel welcome, appreciated and useful, something they may not feel often in the real world. The player can also join clans, help others, make friends and develop a status and hence the game becomes their social life and a pillar of their self-esteem (Bezrutczyk, 2020). Therefore, the desire for escapism and social acceptance is just one of the other ways that causes game addiction.

 

When a person gets addicted to playing video games, they are more prone to having troubles in maintaining a daily schedule becomes very difficult and also it hugely impacts their day to day tasks (Kakarala, 2020).

 

Behavioral Backlash

 

Teenagers especially appear to display a vast arsenal of retaliation techniques in online environments (Pascal, 2019). The underlying issue here is that competitive games exploit the younger players’ emotions in such a way that may render them hostile when stakes are at play. It may result in them using vulgarities excessively. Why? When we look at the development of the brain, in the teenage years one’s pre-frontal cortex (this part of the brain oversees our planning skills, consequential thinking, emotion management and impluse control) is still underdeveloped, thus, the amygdala (this part of the brain is in-charge emotional response, how we feel certain emotions and how we perceive them) then takes over. This can help provide some explanation as to why teens are largely unable to control their spontaneous reactions and emotions in online video games (Pascal, 2019).

 

Tips to manage your child’s gaming

Here are some tips for supporting more healthy approaches to gaming for children that parents can adopt (Orlando, 2019):

  1. Encourage sports and physical activity as this can increase blood levels of serotonin and have a positive effect on the child’s mood and symptoms of problematic gaming.
  2. Talk to your child about what they enjoy about gaming and why they want to game regularly. Their answer will help you to identify if there are there issues they may be experiencing and is using gaming as an escape.
  3. Share with them what do the different vulgar words actually mean, and why it is bad to use them. Most of the time children use it because they see others doing the same, and they might not know what do those words mean.

 

Playing mindfully, we can recognize how some of our games, which may have been considered “time wasters” are actually not unproductive sources of entertainment. They help teach us the important skills of forming friendships and resilience. Time management, inclusion of other physical activities, in with family and friends helps to create a more balance use of video gaming. Gaming in general is not a bad behaviour, it becomes a bad behaviour when it affects the individual’s life in term of personal health, social, academic, and familial functioning.

 

Camellia Wong, MA. Demi Ng

 

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References

 

Bezrutczyk, D. (2020, September 17). Understanding Video Game Addiction. Retrieved from

https://www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/video-game-addiction/

 

Clare, J. (2019, September 20). The Pros and Cons of 10 Reasons Why Video Games Are Good For You. Retrieved from https://www.crazyfitnessguy.com/blog/10-reasons-why-video-games-are-good-for-you

 

Kakarala, A. (2020, April 15). Video Games: What are the pros and cons? Retrieved from

https://www.youandi.com/video-games-what-are-pros-and-cons

 

Merashi, A. (2019, January 22). Some Hidden Pros and Cons of Playing Video Games Regularly. Retrieved from

https://www.whatmobile.net/Opinion/article/hidden-pros-cons-playing-video-games-regularly

 

Orlando, J. (2019, June 5). How to know if your child is addicted to video games and what to do about it. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/how-to-know-if-your-child-is-addicted-to-video-games-and-what-to-do-about-it-118038

 

Pascal, S. (2019, February 11). The pros and cons of being gamer, as narrated by one. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@sabinpascal/the-pros-and-cons-of-being-a-gamer-as-narrated-by-one-8f3a2ed2a244

 

Screen Therapy. (2017, September 15). Game Therapy: Games Teach Us How to Fail Well. Retrieved from https://screentherapyblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/game-therapy-games-teach-us-how-to-fail-well-part-1/

 

 

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