Gaming can be good for you

For years, video games have been stigmatized as “bad for kids.” But a recent review of over ten years of gaming studies challenges that notion.

The review, published in the journal European Psychologist, found that gaming in moderation can be good for developing brains, and doesn’t have the same downsides as TikTok, which has been linked to attention issues.

Teens and young adult gamers…

… performed better than nongamers on several cognitive tasks, per WSJ, including:

  • Switching between visual tasks
  • Dividing attention between different moving objects
  • Remembering the location of hidden objects

While these benefits don’t necessarily mean kids should start playing video games to get smarter, one of the psychologists says “parents also shouldn’t worry about gaming frying kids’ brains or making them zombies, because that’s not true.”

Unless, of course…

… they play too much. Determining how much is “too much” depends on the person, but some potential signs to look out for include:

  • Getting anxious or irritable when unable to game
  • Lying about how much they game
  • Losing interest in things they used to enjoy

Internet gaming disorder is an actual ailment defined by the World Health Organization as consistently prioritizing gaming over other activities, despite negative consequences.

This behavior…

… is one reason gaming gets a bad rap. A quarter of American adults think video games are a waste of time, and 40% believe people who play violent games are more likely to exhibit violent behavior, according to Pew Research Center.

The Chinese government even crafted a policy to address gaming, banning kids from online gaming on weekdays and limiting play to one hour per day on weekends and holidays. Maybe it’s time for a more nuanced perspective on gaming. Like many things, it’s fine in moderation.

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