It Might Be Time to Rethink Outdated Views on Video Games as “Mind Rotting”

Video Games have a terrible reputation. They’re blamed for everything, from school violence to the dumbing down of America. 

However, new research shows the common perception of video games may be flawed. 

A Reddit user posted the research in the R/Science community, a forum dedicated to discussing research respectfully and thoughtfully. The study from the University of Houston shows no link between video game usage and children’s cognitive capabilities. 

Video Game Benefits

Some users mentioned that video games are actually helpful rather than detrimental. 

I read a report that said video gaming can actually increase children’s motor skills, response times, and especially hand/eye coordination,” claimed one user. 

Another said gaming help enhance the skills they need to excel in sports. “Playing sports growing up, I definitely would attribute my skills to the many hours of video games I played. Problem-solving skills as well,” they shared. 

Different video games may have varying benefits. Online multiplayer games may help with team building, while puzzle games can promote problem-solving. Most games require kids to memorize button sequences, assisting with coordination and memory. 

“Playing mobas taught me how to collaborate to achieve shared objectives with hostile teammates,” admitted one user. 

Video Game Addiction is Real

Like anything, gaming can be addictive. Although it shows some benefits, it’s essential to be aware that people can spend too much time in online worlds. 

One user shared that they thought their gaming addiction limited them in life. 

“When I was young, I spent so much time on video games. Far too much. It removed me from so many opportunities in life. I never learned to properly bond with friends, never learned who I was as a person, never took the time to improve myself in other areas, and never thought about my future because all I wanted to do was play video games.’

Video Games Limit Experiences

Some Redditors said that although gaming may not be harmful in terms of cognition, it may prevent kids from having real-life experiences or developing social skills. 

“I’m sure being locked up in your room playing games during most of your after-school time can’t be good for physical health or developing social skills,” remarked one Redditor. 

Another user said that although gaming may not limit cognition, it’s still not good for you. “Might be true, but for me spending countless hours playing video games instead of studying, working, exercising, and sleeping back in the day probably wasn’t the best idea,” they shared.

“It’s not the cognitive abilities we are worried about (and by “we” I mean parents, educators, and psychologists),” replied another. “It’s the social and emotional effects. I’d like to see studies that look at cortisol levels, frustration levels, self-concept, aggression, and emotional regulation after extended video game playing.”

TV vs. Gaming

Others said they wouldn’t have done anything productive with their time anyway if they weren’t gaming. They would have spent time in front of the television, a passive activity that doesn’t involve learning or input. 

“I always wondered one thing: if I didn’t spend that time playing games, would I have seriously had a better use for it? And I don’t think the answer is so easily yes. Chances are I would have wasted a lot of it in front of the TV instead, like so many of my peers,”

Gaming does seem to have benefits over simply watching television

Moderation is Crucial

Most users agreed that video games aren’t the problem but must be played in moderation. Anything can become problematic when it becomes addictive, and the key to maintaining balance is to know when to turn them off. 

“Anything excessive isn’t good for you. Even working out all day without rest or a good diet isn’t great for your body,” replied one user. 

“Doing anything all day and night without social interaction will damage social intelligence. It has nothing to do with video games,” said another. 

You Need Other Hobbies

Gaming shouldn’t be your only outlet. It’s good to explore other hobbies and not spend all your free time on video games

“It also helps that I really did have other hobbies than gaming, like reading and fencing, but my parents never gave us a limited gaming time,” said one user, explaining that a well-rounded life helps alleviate video game addictions. 

“The distinction isn’t limiting video games but rather ensuring a balanced and well-rounded set of hobbies,” advised another. 

Video Games Aren’t Inherently Harmful, but Shouldn’t Be All Consuming

The Reddit thread offered interesting discussion related to the study, but the consensus was that video games are OK in moderation. 

Games are fun. They offer kids and adults an enjoyable hobby with no detrimental effects on cognition. 

Gaming becomes a problem when excessive, but it is valid for anything. People need to be well-rounded with social activities, hobbies, and pastimes. If any one thing becomes a priority, it can be a problem.

Source: Reddit