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Turns Out Video Games Are Neither Good Nor Bad For You, Actually

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Turns Out Video Games Are Neither Good Nor Bad For You, Actually

Video games! Goodness, they’re terrible. Or terrific. Or both? While worrywarts were wringing their hands wittering over the bad influences these games give the youth, it turns out they have next to no impact on our wellbeing. 

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Well, that’s certainly a change of tack. There is no evidence to support the train of thinking that playing violent video games triggers violent outbursts later in life, but there are studies that show gaming affords us some advantages. Universitat Oberta de Catalunya found that the hobby boosts memory, spatial understanding, and response times compared to those who don’t play video games.

Research undertaken by the University of Oxford concluded that video games have a positive effect on a player’s mental wellbeing through the social elements of their pastime, be they competitive or collaborative. And, almost 90% of teachers in the United Kingdom started using video games to teach lessons while in lockdown. 

Isn’t it splendid. Check out our compilation of our favourite games from this year, including Resident Evil Village and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart!

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As aforementioned, this article actually states that there aren’t any buffs or nerfs to a person’s wellbeing through playing video games. In the study from Dr Matti Vuorre, Dr Niklas Johannes, Kristoffer Magnusson and Professor Andrew Przybylski, 38,935 players were surveyed for the impact of games of varying genres like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Apex Legends, Eve Online and more on their wellbeing and motivation. 

Working with publishers like Nintendo and Square Enix for their records on player activity, the data from the three surveys showed that there is a negligible causal effect on wellbeing or general satisfaction from time spent on these games. “Taken as a whole, our findings suggest that amount of play does not, on balance, displace time which would otherwise be allocated to more rewarding activities and thus undermine well-being,” read the paper. 

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In other words, spending an hour on Halo: The Master Chief Collection compared to spending an hour stomping through the park on a frigid winter walk is ultimately going to have the same effect on your mental state. One is just a little more muddy. “Limiting or promoting play based on time alone appears to bear neither benefit nor harm,” concluded the study.

Featured Image Credit: Melanie These via Unsplash, Disney

Topics: PC, PlayStation, Xbox

Imogen Donovan
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