The Pros and Cons of Playing Online Games

 

Gaming is a rapidly growing industry that’s worth almost $510,280,000. While some have positive experiences, others feel gaming isn’t time well spent. One gamer describes his experience in an article from The Sun.

Former professional gamer James Perrott is a 26-year-old from Peterborough who started playing computer games at the age of 15. He then slowly began spending more and more time in front of the screen. By the time he was in university, he was skipping classes and staying up late to play the games: “I’d skip lectures and stay up gaming until 2 or 3am, then sleep until midday. I’d get takeaways instead of cooking just so I could continue gaming…It became my whole life when I started competing at tournaments all over the UK and Europe.”

When Perrott realized he was in danger of failing his finals, he decided to give up his hobby. Although he struggled balancing his studies with gaming, he feels it allowed him to meet people from all over the world, practice skills such as teamwork, and respond quickly to various situations.

Of course, there are plenty of people who believe gaming not only has multiple benefits, but can actually create a better world. Game creator Jane McGonigal is one such person. In her TED talk she said that gaming could help solve problems like poverty, obesity, climate change, hunger, and global conflicts because of the skills gamers learn while playing. Some of those skills include:

  • Urgent optimism (“the desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle combined with the belief that we have a reasonable hope of success”)
  • Making connections (according to McGonigal, it takes a certain level of trust to play a game with someone as we have to trust that they’ll invest their time in us, follow the rules, and complete the game itself.
  • Achieving Goals (during gaming we’re more likely to look past failures and keep playing until we reach our goals)

McGonigal argues that if gamers have the mentality that they can change a virtual world, imagine would they could accomplish in the real world.

Clearly, the pastime has its share of pros and cons. Below are a couple of examples of each.

Pros

Gaming Creates A Diverse Social Life

Even though you’re not interacting with people in person, one is able to meet fellow players and develop a different sort of social life through gaming.

It Increases One’s Ability to Problem Solve

Researchers from the Netherlands discovered that teens who played video games involving strategy had strong problem solving skills.

The Hobby Improves Decision Making Skills

Online games encourage players to think on their feet and make quick decisions, which they can then apply to real life scenarios.

Gamers Have Good Hand-eye coordination

Researchers found that Boston junior surgeons who spent time gaming as children and teens had better hand-eye coordination and surgical skills

Cons

It Promotes Obesity

Gaming all day isn’t exactly a healthy lifestyle. It’s easy to forget that the body needs exercise and fresh air to run effectively. The Sun reported that on average, 17-year-old boys burned 21 calories per hour, but then ate 80 calories afterwards.

Some Gamers Develop Tendon Issues

NINTENDONITIS, PlayStation thumb and Wii fracture are all medical conditions which patients have presented to doctors in the UK after excessive gaming. A study found kids who game for more than two hours a day are at an increased risk of lower back pain.

It Can Turn Into An Addiction

Gaming can lead to a loss of reality. China is one of the only countries with Internet addiction centers to help those who need to break free of the habit.

It Isn’t A Cheap Habit

The cost of games, consoles, monitors, software, and more all add up, making gaming a not-so cheap activity.

It Can Contribute to Violence

Exposure to violent video games is a risk factor in aggression in game players.

This is an interesting and controversial point – some people don’t agree that it leads to violence.

 

 

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