IS GAMING MORE BENEFICIAL OR HARMFUL?

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Video gaming can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your gaming habits. Moderation is the key. Photo: Supplied

Gaming is a common source of entertainment and a hobby for people of all ages from all around the world. However, there have been some negative connotation attached to the idea of gaming and significant research has been carried out to better understand the impact of gaming on both children and adults. Luckily for gamers, results have been divisive. There are many upsides to gaming, but an addiction to the habit could negatively impact your health. We take a look at the common effects of gaming:

HOW DOES GAMING BENEFIT US?

IMPROVES COORDINATION & MULTITASKING SKILLS

When engaged in a game, a player will need to coordinate their visual, audial and physical movement at the same time. For example: an action game may require you to be able to move your joystick or keys while looking at the various features on your screen such as energy levels, oncoming adversaries, remaining ammunitions, available time as well as other factors. These are all vital to winning.

IMPROVES CONCENTRATION & PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS

Good video games can retain the player’s attention for a long time, harnessing their full concentration on achieving certain objectives set out by the game. Players’ creative cognitive abilities are tested as they try to figure out different ways to solve the problems set out in order to advance to the next level.

ENHANCES BRAIN SPEED & MEMORY

Playing video games help enhance visual and audial memory. The player is required to read or listen to the instructions which might only be provided at the beginning of the game, thus the need to remember them throughout the entire game. Mastery of the keys on your keyboard is also proof of motion memory. Individuals who play video games frequently can process these stimuli faster than others.

IT IS A GREAT SOURCE OF LEARNING

In recent years, many modern education institutions incorporate video games as part of their teaching methodology. Most of these games enhance cognitive and creative skills as well as learning through a fun and entertaining format.

IMPROVES TEAM PLAYER SKILLS

Co-player as well as multi-player online games enable players to work together to achieve a common goal. With a shared objective, the game encourages players to forge a strong team through good communication skills. These often result in players developing meaningful relationships with each other beyond the screen.

WHAT ARE THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF PROLONGED HOURS OF GAMING?

Prolonged gaming leads to an unhealthy lifestyle. Gaming for prolonged hours without a break often leads to the player sitting in a chair inactively for long hours as they immerse themselves into the world of video games.

VISION PROBLEMS

Most video games require quite a long time to complete any particular game. This forces the player to stay focused during play time and extended hours of focus on the screen causes strain to the eyes.

BACKACHES

Being seated in the same position for hours causes stiffness and soreness due to the lack of movement and this could lead to chronic back problems.

MIGRAINE

People who play video games for extended periods of time are more prone to migraines due to the intense concentration required while gaming as well as the strain put on the eyes by staring at a bright screen.

AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR AND MENTAL PROBLEMS

Some research has shown that violent video games are linked to increased aggressive behaviour among players. Children are at a higher risk of being affected if they are exposed to violent games since a young age. This could result in a more impulsive and aggressive behaviour.

On the less rosy side of gaming, addiction to the habit can be an issue. Due to the increasing social issues stemming from gaming addiction, World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified gaming disorders in its latest list of International Classification of Diseases.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GAMING DISORDERS?

How can you tell when your gaming habit has become too much? You could ask yourself the CAGE Questions (frequently used to detect alcohol addiction) with a few modifications (such as replacing the word “drinking” with “gaming” and altering the fourth or “E” question):

• Have you ever felt you should Cut down on your gaming?

• Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your gaming?

• Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your gaming?

• Are video games usually the first thing you think about in the morning when you wake up (Eye opener)?

Another important check is the duration of the gaming behaviours, in this case “over a period of at least 12 months”. The duration is what separates the occasional binge from a real persistent problem. Nearly everyone binges on something every now and then but that doesn’t mean they have a disorder.

Ultimately, video gaming can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your gaming habits. Moderation is key. Don’t let gaming replace human interactions or let you lose track of reality. Keep track of your mood, why you are gaming and how it may be affecting you, and reap the benefits of gaming by ensuring that you are the one holding the controller instead of letting the game control you.

The above articles are intended for informational purposes only. AIA accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from reliance on information contained in the articles.

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