Video Games And Mental Health: Can They Be Good?

Video Games And Mental Health: Can They Be Good?

Over the years, video games have built up somewhat of a bad reputation, often being blamed for causing aggression violence and addiction. In fact, according to a report by the Business Insider, the World Health Organization even contemplated adding a “gaming disorder” to the ever-growing list of mental health conditions. That being said, are there any positive aspects of video gaming? The answer to that is a resounding yes, with some games said to improve memory and attention in users, as well as treating disorders.

Research published as recently as 2013 by the American Psychological Association, suggests that whilst there are potentially negative effects of video gaming and people who are seriously affected should seek medical advice, there are also a number of perceived benefits. These benefits include, helping children to learn how to solve problems, increasing learning abilities and social skills. On top of this, some games can potentially help people struggling with mental health issues.

An article posted by Greatist states that video gaming is becoming increasingly used to help treat those that suffer from mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. The article notes that the escapism aspect of gaming can help to boost the gamers mood and make them feel more relaxed. Gamer Rant reports that research conducted by the East Carolina University, showed that playing video games for just half an hour a day can have the same effect on a user with anxiety and depression as prescription medication. The study noted that the current best games for treating these conditions are Angry Birds and Tetris.

Gamer Rant also notes that participants with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder were helped by playing Tetris and consequently suffered from less flashbacks, than those who didn’t play the video game.
Some game developers, noticing the potential benefits of gaming, have gone one step further and created games to specifically target mental health problems. One such game is an online fantasy role-playing game, know as Sparx. Sparx was designed to help teenagers cope with anxiety and depression, by a group of researchers from the University of Auckland.

That concludes this article on video games and mental health. Do you have an opinion on this subject? We’d love to hear from you! You can get in touch with us on either our Facebook or Twitter social media channels.