Since a long time, video games have been blamed for a lot of things. Right from contributing to childhood obesity to making kids (people) aggressive, much has been talked about the harmful effects. However, new research reveals that some games might actually be good for your health. It may not sound right for most of you, but many savvy players can agree with it. But how can that be possible when all kids (of all ages) do is sit in front of their television and/or computer and play violent games. Then how can research prove it otherwise? Are video games good for your health, even after being perceived as making the youth lazy?
Effects on Eyes
Action and adventure games can, in fact, enhance vision and also help cure Amblyopia, commonly known as "lazy eye". In Amblyopia, a person's vision in one of his/her eye is inferior to the other. In normal Amblyopia treatment, the person would be asked to wear an eye patch over his/her good eye. However, Nottingham University researches claim that they found positive effects which can actually treat the eye in just one hour. Whereas, the eye patches takes about 400 hours to cure it.
After doing research for first-person shooter (FPS) video games, University of Rochester found out that these games have positive effects on improving visual skills. The reason behind this, our brain's capacity increases by playing the games in order to spread attention over a wide range of events taking place in the game itself. Also, playing these games can heighten the capability of visual attention and its spatial distribution.
Effects on Brain
There are so many different kinds of games being invented every day. Games that teach you new skills, yes, games do teach kids new skills, such as quick and accurate typing, understand physics of racing a car, learn about historical events, musical appreciation of classic and modern rock, understanding how to build industrial and residential zones, building transportation, flight simulation, survival skills, teamwork, geography, and so much more.
Remember playing Tetris when you were young? The game has been around for years and years, definitely one of the oldest and much-loved games. Well, one fact you wouldn't know about the game is that it can boost brain efficiency. Mind Research Network in Albuquerque had undergone a research where they took about 26 adolescent girls.
They had to play Tetris for approximately 30 minutes each day, for three months straight. After three months, they found that the players had developed a thicker cortex than the ones who didn't play. The parts of brain which demonstrated a thicker cortex were areas that scientists believe play a role in contriving complex, organized movements and forming visual, tactual, and auditory data.
Effects on Health
Let's get back to our main question in this article and the misconception of them playing a part in increasing obesity in those who play them. Keeping these issues in mind, companies like Nintendo have invested their resources towards the evolution of video games to come up with games which can keep its players active.
A research done by University of Ottawa selected Parkinson's patients to play Nintendo's Wii Fit for 30 minutes and Wii Sports for 15 minutes daily for 6 weeks. Researchers found that the participants could significantly improve their static balance. Such gaming consoles could help people slow up the descent of functional disabilities. The changes are supposedly related to the increase in dopamine production which gets triggered by the exercise in the games.
Would you think games like "Dance Dance Revolution" and "In the Groove" are good for health? These games are perfect examples of making players get off the couch and be active. For Wii Fit, the Wii Balance Board is used to check the weight of the players and their center of balance. Along with Wii Fit, other games by Wii lets gamers surf, ski, dance, do boxing and Cheerleading as well (that too in their own home).
Effects on Hand-Eye Coordination
It helps improve motor skills and hand-eye coordination. To prove this theory, Iowa State University study on surgeons helped reveal the real truth behind this. The surgeons were asked to play video games for 3 hours a week, which in fact, helped cut down errors in minimal invasive surgical procedures. The games helped the doctors perform their tasks faster than their colleagues who hadn't participated in the study. After the study, specially made video game was devised for trainee surgeons to help them "warm up" before they enter the operation room.
Due to its effect on children, good or bad, more and more studies and surveys are being conducted on the subject. Hence, the concept of video games being a positive or negative effect on kids shouldn't come as a surprise because it does improve certain skills in its players. Even pilots and astronauts get trained in video simulators to improve their flying skills, so why should video games be any different?