The truth behind the clichés and myths about videogames
The videogames and the time that is invested in playing them is a topic of main concern for the parents of children and adolescents nowadays.
There is a real increase in the consumption of video games both in Spain and around the world, which is generating a powerful stressor in parents (and adults in general) because of the stigmatization of society towards this type of leisure offer.Recommended article: "Do video games make us violent?"
In addition, with the rise of the videogame sector and the great popularity that is being acquired by the branch of electronic sports or "e-Sports", criticisms of this sector are becoming harsher and in some cases, more radical. This produces a strong alarm in parents concerned about the love of their children , which will make them pay more attention to that information that fits well with their prejudices, the result of fear of possible damage to their offspring.
Videogames and addiction
The main alarm factor of these parents is possibly the factor of addiction. Usually, video game fans usually spend a lot of free time with them, which generates a strong feeling of disapproval on the part of parents, in addition to being accused on many occasions, as addicted to video games.
It is true that video games can be an addiction, but in the same way, the hobby of cultivating the body in the gym can also be, for example . The truth is that the human being has the power to be addicted to many types of hobbies and here, the turning point is education, the way they regulate the desire to play.
Know more: "Eight important psychological aspects of video games"
Data and analysis
To shed light on the issue of videogames and try to fend off fears, we would like to cite the results of an interesting study carried out by Estalló, Masferrer and Aguirre in 2001 in which they conducted a thorough investigation with 321 subjects aged between 13 years and 33. In this study, personality characteristics, behaviors in daily life and some cognitive variables were compared between two samples, of which one presented a continuous, habitual and abundant use of video games, while the another sample showed total absence in use of video games.
Despite being widely used arguments to disapprove the use of video games, the results of this study clearly showed that the continued and regular use of video games does not imply any relevant change with respect to those who do not use them, in aspects such as school adaptation, academic performance, climate and family adaptation, the consumption of toxic substances, physical problems such as obesity or headaches, children's psychological background or social activities.
Also, in clinical variables such as personality patterns, aggression, assertiveness or clinical symptoms and syndromes, there were no significant differences in relation to the non-player group either (It exploded, Masferrer & Aguirre, 2001).
The benefits of playing video game consoles
Video games are not only the villains that sometimes sell us the media, but also provide cognitive benefits
As we have seen in one of many examples, the empirical evidence shows that the continued and habitual use of video games does not represent a real threat against young people.
Besides not reaching alarming conclusions, research in health and videogames show that these are a powerful modern tool that can produce benefits in aspects such as cognition, emotions, motivation and social behavior.
In 2014, Granic, Lobel and Rutger carried out an important revision for the APA (American Psychologist Association), on the existing bibliography in reference to studies that demonstrate the benefits of videogames in young people, especially in the areas previously mentioned. Since performing an analysis of each of the areas goes beyond the objectives of this article, we will name only some benefits of each one, leaving these analyzes for later publications .
In terms of cognition, the benefits are very broad since they promote a wide range of cognitive abilities . In this area, thematic videogames have special relevance shooter since they require a high level of attention and concentration, considerably enhancing the spatial resolution in visual processing, the rotation of mental abilities and attention (Green & Babelier, 2012).
In the field of motivation, video games play an important role since many of these, they maintain a very precise adjustment in terms of "effort-reward" which allows young people to be able to develop their skills through effort and be rewarded in a fair and appetizing manner, thus generating behaviors in favor of a malleable and potent intelligence and not as stable and predefined intelligence (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007 ).
3. Emotion management
Regarding the emotional benefits, there are studies that suggest that some of the most intensely positive emotional experiences are associated with the context of video games (McGonigal, 2011) and given the great importance of experiencing positive emotions on a daily basis, the benefits generated from this premise are very important.
Finally, due to the strong social component of videogames today, which reward cooperation, support and help behaviors, substantial improvements in the behaviors and prosocial skills of the players are evidenced (Ewoldsen et al., 2012).
Video games are not enemies, but allies
The conclusion of all this review on videogames dedicated to fathers and mothers should be the acceptance by them, of video games as a powerful ally in the education and growth of their children , combining them with the discipline and responsibility that we demand of them but that depends on their promotion.
In this way we could see the benefits that video games can generate or, at least, warn that all those theories that accuse them are unfounded and the result of misinformation. Video games are not to blame for the problems associated with youth.
- Blackwell, L. S., Trzesniewski, K. H., & Dweck, C. S. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78, 246-263.
- Estalló, J., Masferrer, M., & Aguirre, C. (2001). Long-term effects of the use of video games. Notes of Psychology. Apuntes de Psicología, 19, 161-174.
- Ewoldsen, D.R., Eno, C.A., Okdie, B.M., Velez, J.A., Guadagno, R.E., & DeCoster, J. (2012). Effect of violent playing video games cooper- atively or competitively on subsequent cooperative behavior. Cyber-psychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15, 277-280.
- Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. M. E. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. The American Psychologist, 69 (1), 66-78.
- Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2012). Learning, attentional control, and action video games. Current Biology, 22, 197-206.
- McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is broken: Why games make better and how can they change the world. New York, NY: Penguin Press.