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How video games can solve everyday problems

Posted by Jason on December 29, 2015 at 6:40 AM

How video games can solve everyday problems

When talking about video games, many people give power to the misconceptions. Most reported effects of video games originate from popular media – where video games tend to be associated with negative connotations. Many preconceived notions of gaming tend to include video game addiction, gun violence, aggressiveness, and even physical and psychological effects. Many of these are unfounded claims or largely exaggerated. However, there are many positive effects and benefits of video gaming that are hardly mentioned by the popular press. Research all the way from the early 80s has consistently shown that playing computer games can actually improve hand-eye coordination, self-esteem, self-confidence, and results in a marked reduction in reaction times. Furthermore, video games can be an educational tool. The entertainment, curiosity, and challenge that is cultivated by many games has given it an indication of potential.


The Myths Surrounding Videogames and Children


When you actually dissect the research that strongly upholds the negative implications to video games, then you will find very little evidence supporting it. Actually, systematic surveys have actually drawn a correlation between video game players and physically fit children who have a lower propensity to obesity. In fact, regular video game players tend to be more socially engaged and well-adjusted when juxtaposed to children that do not play video games. Large cities like Holland has conducted a four-city survey to conceptualize the relationship between video games and children. It revealed that kids who have access to healthy games and moderate TV exposure are actually more likely to play outside than kids who didn't have access to screen play. The Pew Research Center has also shown that video games do not foster introverted, socially isolated children, as it can be a key element in many friendships. Video games can serve to connect younger people, especially with the propensity of video games that flesh out social perspectives. In laymen's terms, games have the opportunity to reinforce relationships.


The association with the violence in video games is largely false. Actually, there has been a steady rise of games with more adult content either due to violence or aggressiveness. However, there has been a large decline in real-world violence among youth. Many studies that are made to quantify and study the impact of violent video games has concluded that, when taken as a whole, there is very little relation between games and real-world violence. For many children who are predisposed to violent manifestations, healthy games have actually been shown to be a viable outlet to help control their hostility. In one particular experiment, several college students were asked to complete a frustratingly difficult mental task and then were asked about their mental state after, measuring for hostility or distress. The study has found that regular players of video games felt less hostile up to 45 minutes after the frustrating mental task. For many children and young adults, video games are a harmless, viable outlet to aggressive outbursts.


Video games also have the potential of strengthening mental development. Fast-paced action games, like role-playing or racing games, can actually increase scores on visuospatial abilities. Depending on the genre and the type of game, videogames can also improve mental plasticity and memory recall. Also, children who showed little interest in reading and writing have been known to have a marked improvement in engagement when it comes to text-based communications in the video games. When asked about why they choose to play video games, many children associate it with self-confidence, self-direction, and a sense of freedom. For children in many cultures, video games allow them a momentary, safe space where they can exercise free will and utilize critical thinking skills without the constant guidance of a parent or caretaker.


The Special Case for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games


Massively multiplayer online role-playing games – or MMORPG's – tend to be a bit different than standalone video games. MMORPG's allow players to create their own characters, and interact with an open world concept with real-life consequences that require careful planning and critical thinking. MMORPGs are multilayered, multifaceted experiences with endless opportunities for problem-solving and creativity. In these sort of games, a player can create an avatar with unique assets and traits, allowing the player to enter a dynamic, virtual world that is occupied by others.


Users of MMORPGs can then go on quests with other players, meet up with friends, battle "bosses", and collaborate with one another to finish a particular task. Many times, these players start off as solo adventurers, but as the game becomes more complicated, they will be forced to collaborate and make friends to complete mutual adventures and quests. The social skills to forge relationships on these MMORPGs are something akin to making friends in person. Rudeness, crassness, and the unskilled tend to be shunned.


To "prosper" and survive in these open world concepts, players need to relate to potential friends, as well as communicate their own goals in the MMORPG. There are also special interest groups in these healthy games, where a player can fill out an application and show how they can be a valuable member to a guild. Guilds tend to have something akin to modern bureaucracy, where leaders and subordinates communicate with each other to make sure that they progress through the game. MMORPGs are complex worlds that have reared many studies. A study by IBM Corporation has noted that the skills required to prosper in an MMORPG environment are highly relatable to the skills that are needed to run an organization or business.


Videogames As a Tool to Measure Education


It is a known fact that video games are beacons of entertainment that attract many youth. Since video games have the capacity to attract and engage, it has led to the rise of video game hybrids that combine education with the engaging aspects of video games. For several decades, researchers have been using video games to observe how it can be used for educational purposes. Some of these insights include:


-The video games can be used to diversify research tools to measure mental elasticity.


-Video games can help with segmenting across geographical boundaries.


-Video games can be particularly useful for researchers as they can help measure performance on a wide variety of tasks. It can be standardized and scaled.


-Individual characteristics and traits can be examined with the help of videogame platforms.


-Video games tend to require attention from players. Consequently, it can be used to maintain someone's undivided attention. It can provide an innovative way of learning – for children and adults.


-Videogames can help younger children to conceptualize tasks. It can help children set goals and provide feedback.


The Real Life Benefits of Video Games for Adults


Even though there have been many research and studies that have shown a wide range of benefits when it comes to younger adults and video games – does it also have benefits for adults? The short answer is – yes.


Not only are video games a passive form of entertainment, but it can be a dedicated pastime that can reinforce cognitive abilities. Popular games like World of Warcraft has allowed more than 12 million players to interact and collaborate with each other. Games like World of Warcraft, Mine Craft, and the Sims, all rely on virtual realities with simulated characters to interact with other characters to work together, obtain skills, and exist in a dedicated setting that can help encourage complex relationships. These sort of games has launched a gaming culture that relies on nonvirtual and virtual communities around the world. Research literature has shown that video games can help develop skills in these areas:


Energy and Motivation. Many video games rely on completing specific tasks and working through obstacles to complete these tasks. This creates motivation that is rewarding, and fast-paced. By providing immediate feedback, players can solve problems and achieve higher "levels". Gaming helps adults conceptualize the merits of incremental improvements. This feedback loop allows players to stay within the zone of proximal development. The concept of small, incremental improvements is the basis of many games, where as a player levels up and gains more skills, the game becomes relatively more difficult and complex. It offers a space of intermittent reinforcement that encourages players to think through complex challenges without feeling like it is a daunting, cumbersome task. Many of these skills can be applied to real life situations and problems.


Videogames Can Help Alleviate Moods. Video games are becoming increasingly lifelike, with dedicated gaming consoles that use cutting edge technology to create characters that are highly personalized and relatable. This has also opened video game platforms that allow it to pull on the emotions of the player. For many gamers, video games can help improve their state of mind. Allowing for a momentary escape from real-life problems, succeeding in video games can offer small improvement in positive feelings. Modern-day video games are highly immersive experiences that can draw out emotions of pride and achievements. This heightened sense of self-esteem can transfer over to improve one's overall mood. The resolute emotions associated with immersed gameplay can potentially increase self-awareness and encourage a more novel outlook on life. The broaden -and-build theory of emotions underline the capacity of positive emotions to help broaden the number of behaviors seen as desirable and help reinforce, or "build", relationships that provide support for achieving goals and helping cope with potential failure. The positive emotions derived from some popular games of these games can counteract the effects of negative emotions, which can decrease motivation in real life. While it is not particularly clear whether playing video games can produce this sort of positive emotion, many gamers have noted an improved state of mind from regular gameplay.


There Is a Potential Relationship between Videogames and Surgeons. There is a correlation between laparoscopic specialists precision during procedures and video games. Laparoscopic surgeries are also called minimally invasive surgeries, where the procedure is done through small incisions of just a couple of centimeters wide. It is a procedure that usually requires the assistance of video cameras and several thin instruments. A study has shown that laparoscopic specialists who play more than three hours of video games have about a third fewer errors during practice procedures. There is a marked difference between specialists who play video games and those who don't.


Videogames Can Potentially Improve Your Vision. Even though many parents are quick to say that their children shouldn't sit so close to the television due to potential vision loss – that sentiment is largely unfounded. There is the possibility of fatigue from being close to the television, but it does not directly correlates to vision loss. Actually, a study has shown that 10 weeks of videogames has allowed gamers to more efficiently differentiate between different shades of gray. In another study, the eye that has more visual clarity is covered in willing participants, forcing gamers to play with their "bad" eye. These participants noticed a marked improvement in their affected eye during gameplay. The rapid eye movements required during intense gameplay can help recall certain pieces of information more efficiently.


Videogames Can Help Overcome Dyslexia. Dyslexia is a slew of disorders that makes it hard for people to read or interpret text. Videogames can help improve reading comprehension. The reason why many dyslexics can naturally comprehend written words better is due to the constantly changing environments in games that require intensive focus for periods of time. It is easier to transfer that same focus to follow the storyline of an engaging game.


Are There Health Benefits Associated with Playing?


A study by the University of Utah has shown that regular gameplaying by children who are dealing with illnesses like depression or autism can actually alleviate their symptoms and reinforce coping skills. Kids who play certain games showcased signs of improvements when it comes to self-empowerment and resilience. Since games can help draw out positive emotions and feelings, it reinforces the mechanisms that help foster a positive state of mind. By activating the brain's reward center in kids who suffer from depression and other mental disorders, videogames can improve their resilience.


It can potentially help schizophrenics. People who suffer from schizophrenia experience sensitivity to outside stimuli that can manifest itself as hallucinatory activity. A psychiatrist from San Francisco VA Medical Center conducted a study to see whether the brain can essentially reteach the way it manages and processes stimuli via the help of computer games. For those who are managing mild forms of schizophrenia, video games can augment focus and memory, which can help mild schizophrenics to manage their symptoms and obstacles. A review of similar studies has shown that cognitive performance can be improved via computer-assisted interventions.


Videogames allow users to better manage pain. The University of Washington created a game that helps individuals who are suffering from chronic pain to help manage it better. Videogames offer distraction, allowing those suffering from chronic physical pain to allocate their attention to something else. The virtual-reality of many games requires intense attention, even requiring less pain medication during recovering. Burn victims are able to drain their attention to a game, and not focus it on the constant pain. It leaves less attention available to process pain signals coming from the burns. Two burn victims reported feeling less pain during gameplay.


Videogames Can Even Benefit the Elderly. North Carolina State University examined the correlation between videogames and the elderly. The study has shown that videogames can foster mental well-being within participants. Senior citizens who play videogames have reported higher levels of happiness.


Videogames Can Reinforce Aspects of Your Love Life. Conventional videogames will not be able to specifically guide you through the potentially complicated task of courting someone, but it can help reinforce the soft skills required to do so. In 2009, the Annual Review of Cyber Therapy and Telemedicine has found that gamers who suffered from mental issues are able to vent via videogames. Stress and depression can stifle your opportunities to create and foster close relationships with other people. Games can offer an outlet for frustrations to be discharged before it becomes a real life issue. The study also showed that people who tend to have a stifling "type A" personality can actually become more relaxed after intense gameplay. It allows these types of personalities a chance to avoid reaching a certain level of stress that can spill over to their personal lives.


Video games can also reinforce one's ability to empathize and sympathize – all soft skills that are needed when forging a close relationship with another person. The artistic directions of many game titles immerse the player in an emotional experience. It can affect people on a deeper level. With the sophistication of many game titles that incorporate emotional elements, many games can create a complex narrative. There is a reason why some of the more groundbreaking and heralded gaming titles for popular gaming consoles tend to be particularly emotional, with many players feeling that they have made an emotional investment by playing through a series. Many arcade style games also underline patience and perseverance, where repetitive play is rewarded. There are many emotions involved when it comes to dating someone, with some of the requiring a bit of perseverance. Games can encourage this forward thinking that can reinforce personal relationships.

Categories: Gaming and other topics

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Reply Rob McCrady
8:23 PM on April 7, 2016 
I like the part about video games and violence. I'll be referring people to that in the future.
Reply Jason
9:57 PM on April 7, 2016 
Rob McCrady says...
I like the part about video games and violence. I'll be referring people to that in the future.
What will you be referring it to?