The everyday

Are video games a blessing or a curse?

I apologise in advance because this post may be nothing more than a bunch of questions and a big old rant. There, I warned you. So, what has got me typing away today? The stigma attached to technology, primarily gaming (Xbox, PlayStation etc).

I confess that I have no idea what I am talking about when it comes to this, I am not and have never been anything approaching a gamer. In fact, I think the last time I used a console it was my brother’s PlayStation One a million years ago, so, yes I’m far from qualified to talk about gaming and games consoles. But that is not the point of this post.

The reason I’m writing this is to talk about the negative attitudes that there are towards people that use their leisure time gaming. I’m referring to attitudes such as people that think that it is a waste of time, or worse, that gaming is dangerous. Big claims aren’t they? So, let’s look at this objectively, because as much as I can accept that there are negative elements to gaming (isn’t there with everything?!) I’m also aware that there are many positives also.

I decided to look into it and research the subject, knowledge is power after all isn’t that right? Opinions are fine, in fact I love hearing different opinions on everything but it needs to be an informed opinion if you are going to make claims on a topic doesn’t it?

Therefore, I’m going to list the pros and cons that I have come across with regards to gaming and that way I can have an informed opinion on it. I hope that you will share your opinions on this too because I would love to hear!

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PROS

Health benefits: video games are said to improve hand-eye co-ordination, motor skills, vision, and can help slow the ageing process of the brain. They can be used as a tool to de-stress as well.

Life skills: an improvement in an individual’s imagination, problem solving abilities, decision making, and abilities to prioritise and work as part of a team (when utlising multiplayer) has been documented.

Social skills: joining an online community and playing against others from all over the world has been shown to aid the ability for an individual to successfully network in other areas of their life such as the workplace.

Educational benefits: video games focused on a particular subject can result in an individual actively seeking further knowledge on the topic outside of the online world. In addition, video games can be used as a tool within the classroom/workplace to teach particular subjects and skills. For example simulation videos.

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CONS

Violence and online danger: it has long been argued that violent video games can spark violence in an individual, and leave them numb to consequences. In addition, there is a real fear associated with the risks of online predators and bullying.

Health risks: video games have been linked to a lack of physical exercise in an individual. In addition, there are the suggestions that sleep habits can be adversely affected due to over exposure to screens. This can lead to a poor diet as well. The issue of addiction is another concern, alongside the argument that video games can cause physcological stress leading to anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.

Isolation: playing video games can result in a person becoming isolated from their friends and family. Hours spent gaming can have a negative impact on quality time with loved ones which can leave an individual left out.

Expense: consoles, games, headphones etc, they are all expensive! With new games and upgrades being released all the time it can cause financial strain.

I found these pros and cons through an internet search, there is a wealth of information and many online articles on the topic. I’m not here to say what is scientifically proven or disproven, I haven’t looked into it that deeply. But what I am here to say is that it is a much deeper topic of conversation than I gave it credit for initially.

I felt annoyed that there was such a stigma attached to gaming, and I feel like that annoyance is somewhat justified when taking the pros into account…there is a but coming however. That but is that to research pros meant it was only fair to research cons as well and I can’t ignore them. They exist as much as the pros do!

But, there are pros and cons with everything.

I have lost count of the times I have seen an article pop up online stating the health benefits of coffee for example, only to spot that just below it is another article all about the health risks associated with coffee. And that is just one example, it is the same with foods, activities etc. etc.

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So, as a result of that I ask why are the negatives more often promoted with regards to video games? I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel like I hear far more about the dangers of gaming than the benefits. Is that fair? Or am I not paying enough attention? Am I seeing what I think is there rather than what actually is there?

Next, I want to ask if gaming shouldn’t just be like most other things in life; enjoyed in moderation? Surely it can’t do much harm to spend an hour here or there gaming if that’s what you like to do to unwind? It’s no different to watching the latest episode of a series or reading a few chapters of a book is it? On that note, there isn’t the same label of ‘antisocial’ placed on a person reading, why is that? As a general rule it is more of a solitary activity than playing a video game! Also, much like a video game, a book would be dependant on type as to whether it is educational or not, so the idea that reading is ‘better’ than gaming in this aspect is unfounded in my opinion as well. What do you think about this?

I suppose what has made me most annoyed when writing this is that I can’t help but feel as though a lot of society has an opinion on certain things without learning about them and that can create a problem. Of course I am not simply referring to video games here, the list is endless but video games are one example of what I am talking about. I would have been the first to say not long ago that gaming is bad, I would have spoken on the risks of violence, the lack of exercise of a gamer etc. Now that I have educated myself I feel differently and I feel silly for jumping to a preconceived opinion on a topic I was clueless about.

Here’s an interesting thought to close this out…I have just spent around an hour staring at this screen to write and edit this post. How is that any different to a gamer staring at their screen for an hour to play a game? I have moved from my chair only once to grab a coffee, otherwise I have sat still typing so, definitely no exercise! I haven’t spoken to my other half whilst I have been writing this because I have been focused and therefore somewhat checked out from my surroundings.

Do you see what I am getting at here?

I’m not sure people would look down on me for writing a blog post in the same way that they may look down on somebody for playing a video game and yet there are many parallels.

This applies to so many areas of life doesn’t it?

So, how about we give learning about something rather than prejudging a try? It’s got to be better that way right? If you already do then that’s brilliant! For me, I’ve been pretty good but it turns out there was definitely room for improvement and I shall continue this new approach moving forward.

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What are your thoughts on this subject? How do you spend your spare time? Do the activities that you engage in have an effect on you?

Please share your thoughts in the comments, I would love to hear your perspective!

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Thanks for reading!

Until the next time…Jess x

 

 

5 thoughts on “Are video games a blessing or a curse?

    1. It’s the same in my house, my boyfriend loves to have his me time gaming and I read a book or do some writing. I see no harm in it, I’m not sure if it’s the same for you but I feel like we appreciate our time together even more if we have had some alone time as well. Haha, same, gaming is not for me! I shall stick with my books.

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