FOCUS

FOCUS: Moderation increases benefits

by RAQUEL DIAZ & JUSTIN LEE

Ever since the development of the first video game, concerns have been expressed regarding its addictive nature; however, video games provide many benefits as long as they are played in moderation.

Most of the repercussions from use of video games are not inherent; they result only from excessive use.

It is such a shame that the benefits of video games are often overlooked by people who demonize them, choosing to emphasize only the negative effects of gaming, which can be easily prevented.

When a person commits a violent act, and is proven to have been at one time been exposed to video games, the media seems to capitalize on the role of video games in causing the violence. However, games are not necessarily the sole factor in the persons’ rash decision to use violence, and it is important to examine video games in a manner that considers the complexity of their effects.

Many negative effects of video games are actually attributed to their overuse, according to huffingtonpost.com; many of these results occur when any activity is done too frequently.

For example, carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain are associated with excessive video game use. According to the National Institute on Media and the Family, playing video games excessively can lead to a lack of social interaction which can contribute to anxiety, impulsiveness and depression. However, these symptoms can be allayed with moderation, the key to fostering the ideal conditions for any activity.

The most common complaint against video games is that they distract students from work, either by consuming their time or extinguishing their interest in school, but other forms of recreational activities have the potential to also affects students in the same manner. Keeping this in mind, it is not fair to single out video games.

In actuality, playing video games can enhance decision-making and analytical skills. In a study by the University of Rochester, video games help players make faster decisions that are more accurate.

Another study by the University of Toronto has discovered that video games help develop better hand-eye coordination, also increasing decision-making.

As technology evolves, it is integrated in schools and the workforce to reflect daily life and raise people’s efficiency. Video games are no different, as the aforementioned studies suggest.

Certain video games can also offer educational effects, underscored by their ability to enhance analytical and critical thinking skills. Games driven by narrative that employ the plot structure of books and film share the benefits of cultivating reasoning and problem-solving skills taught in classrooms, according to apa.org. Changing the perspective of on the purpose of gaming can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy: if one views games as a possible learning tool, one may consider a game’s educational merit during selection.

While many games focus on repetitive reflexes, such as First Person Shooters, they may not offer the same benefits as their more complex counterparts, but the same comparison can be made for the spectrum of literature, which encompasses everything from lauded classics in the western canon to pulp mystery novels.

It depends on what players consume, and the amount of time spent on the activity. Moderation is necessary to derive benefits from playing these games and limit the negative consequences that come with excessive play.

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