How Video Games Boost Mental Health

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Since the popularity of video game consoles, experts and researchers have studied their impact on young people’s mental health. In 2020, the World Health Organization recognized gaming disorder as addictive behavior that people should be alert of. In reality, it only affects a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities.

Are there benefits to playing video games? Certain games are designed to assist in learning and skill development. Whether for young adults, children with special needs, or senior citizens in nursing homes, the gaming industry has found its place as we go through our everyday lives.

Invisible rewards

Games have objectives and specific missions. Once achieved, we either get a physical prize or bragging rights. This feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction are invisible benefits that relate to our mental health.

As children, we play with our imagination and create rules. These limitations make the game more enjoyable. When there is a concept of winning and getting achievements, our brains are wired to work hard for it to a certain extent.

Mental stimulation

If video games can stimulate young minds, they can also enhance the performance of older minds. Virtual reality (VR) games are an excellent example of new technology that has therapeutic benefits for aging adults. Through virtual reality, senior citizens participate in diverse activities in addition to video games, such as cultural tourism, performing arts, and museum visits. Because it brings the world closer to their fingertips, virtual reality games have made it possible to provide mental stimulation, especially to those with mobility issues or social disorders.

Reduced depression

Multiplayer games are known to affect promoting virtual social interaction. Whether it’s friends getting together in a house to play video games or meeting each other online to cooperate, there’s no doubt that games help create relationships with other individuals.

Depression is a serious illness and should be treated by professionals. Therefore, video games are only complementary. While not all video games are similar, there are games based on positive psychology that promote engagement and purpose. When done well, games can change people’s lives for the better either because of the people they interact with or the physical relief they experience when playing single-player games.

Life skills

Many games are based on mythologies and epics. In the same way that literature teaches life lessons, video games are good demonstrations of these teachings, which are more intuitive and inclusive. Not everyone can learn to read in a day, but most people can play a video game in an hour.

While we know that video games can trigger unhelpful symptoms, they are part of a massive industry where ethical and well-managed companies also exist. There are smaller studios of passionate video game designers who also release games for niche audiences. Like art, video games may not appeal to everybody but it is a form of self-expression by the creators. Playing them should be entertaining as well as foster the feeling of connection with a community.


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