I’m not really sure what parental advocate group started ragging on video games way back when, but can we please cut that shit out. Every once in a while I watch/read a news piece about how video games are destroying our society or causing some other horrific issue. I’ve got a list of about 100 other things that is going to bring society to a grinding halt long before video games will. Let’s examine what I know to be good things that have come from video games.
It does improve hand eye coordination to a point. Whether using a controller or a motion detection peripheral the player still has to interact with their hands while still looking at the screen. Your brain is literally being forced to get your hands and unison in sink. I’m not saying this will improve your baseball swing, but will train your brain to correlate the relationship quicker.
Depending on the game being played and honestly most games in general there is a learning stretch of some kind. All games require the player to think on some level either on how to unlock a door to gain entry to a room that has a needed piece of equipment or clue to the mystery or how to strategically place your forces in order to conquer the battlefield. Video games will force you to use your cognitive processing and puzzle solving skills.
There is also the social interaction aspect of gaming as well. Almost all of my gaming friends I have real life interactions with throughout the year. However, I do not hold that as necessary. A couple of my friends I interact with through online gaming no longer live in the area locally so meeting up for some pizza isn’t exactly an option. Let’s dive a little deeper into the social aspects of gaming.
I can probably find about a dozen or so articles of how couples met and gamed together online before dating, then moving in together, and finally marriage. Yes, it is possible to find your perfect mate through gaming. I can think of a few people who have found a roommate through gaming as well. How about those how have social anxiety disorders?
Without getting too technical there are people who have such anxiety that venturing out into the world and interacting with the masses scares the bejesus’s out of them. However, from the safety and comfort of their own domicile they can still interact with other people and have and maintain relationships that way.
In order to give a somewhat balanced view point on the good v. bad of video games here are some negative points. For those that will keep banging the drum that video games are too violent and that people will act them out I immediately call bullshit. First off just turn on any national news network and I promise at some point they will show something significantly more violent than anything the average video game has ever portrayed. Secondly for those that have “confessed” to be acting out a video game generally have some sort of mental health issue and/or are a child who has not been taught better. I understood early on without much input from my parents that video games are fantasy despite how close to real life or based on true events a game might be. It is your job as a parent to have a conversation with your child to remind them and check that they understand video games are just fantasy. There are more difficult topics in which need to be discussed with your child(ren), this one should be a walk in the park.
The other big issue I find most gamers have is knowing when to save and stop. (It is important to save before stopping because there’s nothing worse than working hard to complete part of a level and then losing all that progress.) On release day or when you are just picking up a game for the first time I can sympathize with and to an extent encourage a bender session. Nothings sweeter than just plowing through a bunch of a brand new game for the first time. Just remember to take bathroom breaks and eat. Beyond that you might have a problem.
I get that internet connection is probably best in the evening into the early morning, but there’s this thing called sleep. I have talked at length of how important it is to have an adequate amount. 3 to 4 hours a night is not enough. Especially, if you have to show up for school or work later that day. (Especially if your work is school. Voice of experience here people.)
There are more important things in life other than video games as well. Put the controller down and go outside for a bit. I don’t care what it is that you do, but a little fresh air never hurt anyone. The makers of the Wii have enough of a sense of humor to remind you of that occasionally.
Bottom line here is that there is room for video games in people’s lives. Schedule into your daily routine however you like, just be reasonable about the time you dedicate to it.