Video games, including violent shooting games, can improve children’s learning, health and social skills, according to a review of research by an American psychologist.
The study comes amid an ongoing debate among psychologists and other healthcare professionals about the impact of aggressive media on young people. The APA Task Force is conducting a comprehensive review of research on violence in video games and interactive media and will publish its findings later this year.
“Serious research has been done for decades on the negative effects of gambling, including addiction, depression, and aggression, and we certainly don’t suggest ignoring it,” says Isabela Granic, Ph.D. from Radboud Nijmegen University in the Netherlands. … the main author of the article. “However, a more balanced perspective is needed to understand the impact of video games on the development of children and adolescents.”
While playing video games is widely believed to be intellectually lazy, playing video games can actually improve various cognitive abilities such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory and perception, according to several studies reviewed in the article. The authors found this to be especially true for shooters, who are often violent. According to the study, a 2013 meta-analysis found that playing shooter video games improved a player’s ability to think of objects in three dimensions, as did academic courses designed to improve those same skills.
“This is critical for education and professional development, as previous research has shown that spatial skills can be used in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” says Granich.
This improved thinking has not been found when playing other types of video games, such as puzzles or role-playing games.
According to the authors, video games can help children develop problem-solving skills. According to a long-term study published in 2013, the more teens reported playing strategic video games such as role-playing games, the more their problem-solving skills and school grades improved over the next year. video games, including violent games, but not when children were using other forms of technology, such as a computer or mobile phone, as other studies have shown.
Simple games that are readily available and can be played quickly, such as Angry Birds, can improve the player’s mood, promote relaxation and avoid anxiety, according to research. “If video games just make people happier, that seems like a critical emotional benefit,” Granic said. The authors also highlighted the possibility that video games are effective tools to teach resilience in the face of failure. The authors suggest that by learning to deal with current play failures, children develop an emotional resilience that they can rely on in their daily lives.
Another stereotype faced by the investigation is that of a player isolated from society. The article notes that more than 70 percent of gamers play with friends, and millions of people around the world participate in huge virtual worlds through video games like Farmville and World of Warcraft. According to the authors, multiplayer games are becoming virtual social communities where decisions must be made quickly about who to trust or reject and how to lead a group. A 2011 study found that people who play video games, even if they are aggressive, which encourages collaboration, are more likely to help others while they play than those who play the same games in competition.
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