Unlike common notion that online and video games (OVG) are harmful for kids and teens alike, what I present here is something unprecedented for many of us. Ok. I agree. Excess video gaming is bad. It causes strain to eyes, can elevate body mass index, make people less social. etc., etc., etc. However, its a fact that excess of anything is bad and it applies to online and video games as well. My argument is that, just like any other recreational activity that children and adults engage in, time-bound and systematic interaction with OVG has various benefits as highlighted below.
Games As Healers of Diseases
According to Professor Mark Griffiths, Chartered Psychologist and Director of Nottingham Trent University, gaming can help kids and adults undergoing painful treatments like chemotherapy. He conducted in-depth studies which revealed that OVG occupy their mind and distract them from the pains of the diseases. Resulting benefits included lower doses of medication and less problems due to hypertension and nausea in comparison to patients who were asked to rest.
According to Griffiths, games also benefit children suffering from attention deficit disorders as well. In fact games like “Ratchet and Clank” help children to focus and relax while they concentrate and focus more, and the more they concentrate, the better they would perform.
Studies across the world have proved that OVG helps physiotherapy patients in their recovery process. In fact according to a study by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Nintendo Wii Fit, has been proven to be an adjunct to physiotherapy intervention for patients who underwent knee replacement therapy.
Games Improve Hand-Eye Coordination
OVG help in improving hand-eye coordination (in nutshell, hand-eye coordination is coordinated movement of eye and hand. It is essential for all the human beings to do their daily tasks properly). Since more than thirty years, researches have indicated and proved that OVG go a long way in improving hand-eye coordination in people of all age groups and professions.
Various iPhone, iPad and i Pod Touch games and Android games are specifically designed to improve hand-eye coordination. These include Cut The Rope, Holes and Balls, Finger Balance, Jenga, Parking Mania Lite, Box and Bag, High Noon, Finger Basketball, Foot Sorter and Slide.
Games Help Develop Decision-Making Capabilities
Various researches have suggested that playing OVG help people take right decisions faster. OVG makes gamers more sensitive to what is happening around them in the gaming environment. This increased level of sensitivity goes a long way to improve their skills in general, which include activities like multitasking, driving, reading minutely printed words, finding a friend in the crowd, and navigating effectively.
Games Help Children Gain Self-Confidence
Many games involve activities like history, city-building and governance. The most notable of them from my time that is are Caesar and Zeus. However, more advanced games have emerged including Build City Game, Settlers Online and The West and the like. Children, and teens learn the art of governance, decision-making, strategy and management while playing these games. And mind you, clearing stages in many of these games requires patience and dedicated effort. In nut-shell such games help children learn life skills.
Games Help Improve Health (Active Games Rather)
According to a study that UnitedHealth Group, a U.S.-based diversified healthcare company very recently conducted active games help children lose weight, significantly. The program is referred to as JOIN FOR ME, a pediatric weight management program.
The study involved 16 children between the age group of 8 to 12 receiving weight reduction sessions. Half of the children also engaged in active gaming with XBOX 360 and Kinect as part of the program. They however didn’t receive any special instructions on how to game in general. The introduction of active gaming in the curricula resulted in significantly greater reduction in BMI and weight than children who completed JOIN FOR ME without the gaming component.
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