Essay: What are the effects of gaming, and are they good or bad?

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  • What are the effects of gaming, and are they good or bad?
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Where do people stand in in the debate on video games, and their effect on the youth? Do people think they’re a travesty and a thing that never should have been created or do people believe that they’re an amazing thing made as a product to create better entertainment? Whichever side they’re on doesn’t matter, what matters is what the next generation be exposed to. Some people don’t let their kids play video games because they only see the violent ones and completely skip over the passive ones, such as Minecraft. Some people rather than looking at the benefits of video games, they only focus on the negatives and are completely blindsided by them and can’t see the various positive effects. Whether or not the parents of these kids don’t let them own any of these, they’re going to be exposed to them eventually. Video games are the future of the entertainment industry and will only keep growing. Video games are a technological marvel and have a copious amount of effects. To get a better idea of their effects people must take a glance at the long term effects, how people have been desensitized to other media, why it may be better than other activities, such as reading, how they can act as stress/coping mechanism, and the stimulation of the video games on one’s brain.


What are the effects of gaming, and are they good or are they bad? Generally gaming has no negative effects on a person when played in moderation, and being the proper maturity age for a game. A person who plays video games, more specifically violent ones, are often targeted for being being more aggressive, in reality, action games don’t increase violence. In fact, long-term action games tend to help with mellowing someone’s attitude. Young adults, male and female, who play violent video games handle stress better than non-playing adults and become less depressed and less hostile following a stressful task, according to a study by Texas A&M International University associate professor, Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson. It’s important to understand that violent video games don’t necessarily cause violence. In fact it’s just the opposite in some cases. Video games are an amazing outlet to release aggression. This is especially helpful for those who have a lot stress in their life, and need a way to release it. The fact of the matter is that despite the public outcry about how horrible video games are, it’s mostly just rumors. Not to mention that people respond differently to video games, so basing one’s opinion upon one persons behavior is a flimsy arguement.


How have video games desensitized the youth of today, or is it really other forms of media? Video games are not the only media type. Social media, television, radio, etc. also fall under the same category, and are also to blame for the desensitization of the youth today. Video games, one must also note, are not real, and they show lower levels of violence than the real world, and as a result in lower aggression: “As a result, youth exposed to moderate levels of violence would show higher aggression and distress compared to those exposed to low levels of violence, and those exposed to high levels of violence would demonstrate still higher aggression but lower distress than those with moderate levels of exposure” (Mrug 5). While video games do desensitize the players a bit, after repeated use of the game the player will no longer be phased by that violence. On the contrary, real violence may scar someone for life, and leave them with immense trauma. While it is possible that video games might desensitize someone, it is highly unlikely it will negatively affect them..


Video games are generally given a bad rap due to the rumor that they rot people’s brains, but really they’re extremely beneficial to certain skills of a person. The rumor goes that playing video games will rot a person’s brain, make them become unfocused, become antisocial, and hurt their grades. The bad effects rumored about video games go on for a while, and while some of these effects may happen in cases of excessive gaming to an average gamer these are mostly just hoaxes. In fact video games are now being used as means of training pilots, soldiers, astronauts, etc., so can they really be that bad? Video games can be used in many ways to train the mind, but an extremely effective ability is quick decision making and video games do exactly that. According to a study by the University of Rochester action games train the player’s brain to make faster decisions without losing accuracy. In today’s world, it is important to move quickly without sacrificing accuracy. Not only do they help with quick decision making, but other skills such as spatial awareness a skill that is an extremely beneficial skill: “Research has shown that spatial ability can be trained using certain video games, and that this training produces the same or larger gains as more traditional methods of training like workbook exercises. Video game training is particularly useful for obtaining far-transfer effects. Tetris has been consistently shown to train spatial skills. Other games spanning a wide variety of genres can also train spatial skills, such as the space arcade shooter Zaxxon, first person games like Medal of Honor and Portal 2, and Super Mario” (Wauck 2-3) Other skills video games help people with is a hand-eye coordination. Studies show that

There are many professions that require having better hand-eye coordination than the average person. Of course, surgeons depend on theirs to not only perform a successful operation but also make sure they don’t nick an artery or vital organ. That’s why a lot of aspiring surgeons are now required to perform virtual surgeries for training. Curious to see who could perform better at these virtual surgeries, Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch brought together a group of high school kids, college students, and medical residents. After testing the three groups to see who could outperform the others, the scientists were surprised to discover that the high school students did the best. Why? Simply put, the high school kids played video games at least two hours a day while the medical residents rarely had time to play. (“Why Video Games Can be Good for You”).

It has been proven that video games can be beneficial to humans, and disregarding this information is a highly ignorant action. Not only that, but letting kids be able to game helps them in life with skills that aren’t put into practice that often during childhood. One thing to note though is that spatial awareness can only be trained by playing three dimensional video games because of the simulated depth. In summation video games have been proven to be extremely beneficial to the mind, when used in moderation. It’s of high importance that the next generation be allowed to have access to them to improve their mind.


Video games are a great way to relieve stress since they are a distraction from the things that are stressing someone. People’s brain release a chemical called dopamine and or serotonin which are basically the happy chemicals in someone’s brain. When playing a video games that they enjoy their brain releases dopamine making them feel a temporary happiness. This can be helpful, in this time, when it seems as though the weight of the world is crashing down on them. Many people have very menial, repeating, and often interesting lives. This becomes a pattern, and this pattern can cause many ill effects such as depression and stress. Video games however can break that chain: “Many people especially psychologist and medical researchers believe depression, stress, and other kinds of mental disorders are as a result of “patterned” thinking. You know, everyday you wake up feeling like “It is just another day” and follow the same boring routine. Slowly, your mind gets accustomed to the pressure and common stressors that occur each day. So, you are always living in the state of stress. Video games break this pattern and provide a mental “breather” to your mind. Here, it’s all about refocusing the brain on something else and getting it to a different zone.”(Fries) Living in a consistent state of stress is no way to live and most likely can and will lead to depression or worse suicide. Now that is just speculation, but who could possibly want that for themselves, it’s basically self inflicted torture. Video games can almost certainly help with this problem that’s why the public should stop hating on video games and actually consider them as a form of treatment for those who are depressed or stressed.. Video games are a good way to unwind, or to “Get away from it all.” They are a gateway to another world of adventure and exploration all at someone’s fingertips, to restrict use of them is absurd and ludicrous.


Video games tend to give off a stimuli when people play them, or in other words an alteration of how they act and or behave. Some of the stimulus people receive from video games could be beneficiary. Such as gaining a somewhat more confident attitude. It’s the same thing that happens when people act more like their parents. Certain things get imprinted onto people from having exposure to a video game. While although some may think this could lead to a more violent nature in people, and it can, but it can also change their personality, but more importantly how well their brain performs tasks. Dr. Daphne Bavelier, a brain scientist at the University of Rochester and the University of Geneva, has abundantly researched homicidal “first person shooter” (FPS) games like Call of Duty. Her study found that gamers’ brains show activity in multiple brain regions, indicating numerous and surprising visual-spatial benefits in areas like perception, attention, task switching, mental rotation, brain plasticity, learning, short-term memory, crowding acuity, contrast sensitivity, and perceptual decision processes. This playing of video games could also keep the older generations minds sharp and able to keep up with the next generation. It is know that with age comes mental deterioration so a way to combat is through the use of video games. Researchers at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have created a specialized video game that may help the older generations boost mental skills like handling multiple tasks at once. Dr. Adam Gazzaley of UCSF and colleagues published their findings in the September 2013 journal Nature. In the first UCSF study, healthy volunteers ages 60 to 85 increased their performance in abilities like multitasking and staying focused on a boring activity while keeping relevant information in mind. With the discovery that video games help with slowing the process of mental deterioration people should be able to keep the great minds of today in top mental shape. Through prolonging of their mental skill people would no longer have to pick up where they left off. Not only that, but using video games people could increase the mental power of the next generation through specialized video games specifically for the betterment of their mind. Video games have a ways to go before people can fully unlock the potential they have on their brains. The more complex they become the more people adapt to think and play smarter.


Video games are one of the greatest, unrealized by the masses, form of mental training they’ll ever get. By looking at video games at glance people can see they are better than most people make them out to be. In fact most other activities such as reading pale in comparison to the benefits that video games bring to the betterment of the human mind. Although video games do have their negative they often don’t get a fighting chance because of the rumors about them. Most often lay video games are considered a waste of time, and overall bad for a person’s health. This really is only true when played in excess. Video games tend to be treated as the Rock music was treated, demonized by paranoid parents not willing to give it a try. Video games as well are already being put to use by the military to train soldiers so removing them from the society is quite far fetched. Video games are a technological marvel and have a copious amount of effects not all of them being bad. Getting a better idea of their effects people must take a glance at the long term effects, how people been desensitized to other media, why it may be better than other activities, such as reading, how they can act as stress/coping mechanism, and the stimulation of the video games on their brains.


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