Playing video games increases healthy brain stimulation

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PHOTO KAITLYN JAMES

Senior Sam Nichols playing Bloons tower defense in the computer lab. Like many students in the school, Sam likes to play video games in her free time.

After long durations of tireless gaming, when the crust begins to form in the corner of your eyes, there are two decisions to choose from: either to keep going, or to pause and resume at a different time. 

Video games have been a controversial topic for a long time on how they may affect physical and mental health or how they may affect a person’s social skills. There are many opinions for and against video gaming. Nonetheless, video games are very popular amongst people of all ages, but are especially popular among teens and students. In a survey of students, 91.5% responded that they play video games.

Lots of controversy swirls around whether video games are good or bad, and any benefits of video games are often ignored or are buried. Yet, benefits come along with playing video games that some might not even realize. 

A study done on 33 laparoscopic surgeons found that those who played video games were 27% faster and made 37% less mistakes than those who did not play. A better reaction time can help you make less mistakes when in serious situations. 

Social anxiety can make it difficult for kids to start conversations with their peers or make friendships. It has been found that talking with people over the mic reduces the anxiety-inducing part of making friends, but in some circumstances the social and collaborative aspects of most games can improve those skills in school and other public settings. Even just the topic of video games can be an easy way to start or carry conversations.

Video games have made eighth grader Shelby Palmer more social when talking with new people. “Oh, yes, 100 percent,” Palmer said.

Gaming can be a perfect way for teens to destress from a long day at school or pass the time when there is nothing to do. Some games promote physical activity and/or getting outside, such as the popular game Pokemon Go, which was one of the most played interactive games in 2016. 

Games similar to Tetris have been found to reduce stress and depression. It has also been found that during collaborative gaming on online servers that most gaming groups even unite together to help each other with their real life problems, which can be very therapeutic.

Gaming can bring lots of benefits like reducing anxiety and stress, improve reaction times, and can make you more collaborative with your peers. However if the player spends too much time on the game it could become harmful.

“When I don’t have time to like, because then that would just stress me out more, I only play them if I have the time,” senior Grace Drier said.