Online gaming has become an increasingly popular entertainment activity over the past few decades. Millions of players log in daily to enjoy games like Fortnite, League of Legends, and Minecraft from the comfort of their gaming set up and orthopaedic gaming chair. Online gaming will continue to grow in popularity. But besides entertainment value, are there real benefits of online gaming? We unpack five ways that online gaming can be beneficial for players.
1. Benefits of improved cognitive function while gaming
One of the most significant benefits of gaming is that it improves players’ cognitive function. Studies have shown that playing certain types of online games, such as action games, can improve reaction time, attention, and the ability to switch between tasks. These skills can translate to real-world situations like driving, where split-second decisions can mean the difference between life and death.
According to a National Institutes of Health study:
“A study of nearly 2,000 children found that those who reported playing video games for three hours per day or more performed better on cognitive skills tests involving impulse control and working memory compared to children who had never played video games”.
Another benefit of gaming is it’s a great way to socialise with others. Many online games offer chat functions, forums, and other methods for players to communicate with one another. For extreme introverts that struggle with socialising in person due to anxiety or other issues, online gaming can provide a safe and welcoming environment to connect with peers who share their interests.
Online gaming allows players to converse with others making friends at their current ability level, even when players are not emotionally or physically able to leave their homes. This can help build the skills and confidence necessary to try in-person meetings.
Research into this socialising has shown that many people who meet while playing games online do end up spending time with those people. This can be cause for celebration for parents of children who are otherwise socially isolated.
3. Stress relief is a top benefit of gaming
Playing online games releases dopamine, a chemical that makes us feel good. This benefit from online gaming can be beneficial for people experiencing anxiety or depression, as playing games can temporarily escape those feelings.
A study on Springer.com concluded:
“The study observed that those who played a casual video game experienced improved mood and reduced physiological stress compared to baseline, thus supporting our study’s observation of casual video games’ potential stress-reducing benefit”.
4. Improved hand-eye coordination
Many online games require quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination, which can benefit players of all ages. Our hand-eye coordination tends to decline as we age, but playing games can help keep these skills sharp.
According to this article on tutordoctor.com:
“Video games that require real-time movement rely on fast reflexes. Whether using a controller or simply your finger on a touch screen, these movements can help develop accurate hand-eye coordination. In addition, some video games (like exercise and dance titles) also provide excellent physical health benefits as well!”
Other benefits of online gaming listed in this article include:
- Organisational skills
- Decision-making and strategising
- Improved memory
- Career opportunities
5. Career opportunities
Finally, the benefits of online gaming can lead to career opportunities. With the rise of e-sports, competitive gaming has become a legitimate profession, with players earning millions of dollars in prize money. Additionally, there are many careers in the gaming industry beyond just playing games, including game design, programming, and marketing.
A word to the wise
Although online gaming has numerous benefits, a significant setback can be an addiction.Gamers must exercise self-control by setting time limits for online gaming sessions, as too much gaming can lead to adverse effects. In studies examining children addicted to online gaming, results proved that as players cut down their game time, their school marks improved.
Online games have many benefits, but too much screen time affects sleeping patterns. So take breaks during gaming sessions to reduce eye strain and maximise online gaming benefits without harming yourself.
Conclusion to the benefits of online gaming
In conclusion, online gaming can provide many benefits beyond just entertainment, from improving cognitive function and hand-eye coordination to relieving stress and providing opportunities for socialisation and careers. Of course, as with any form of entertainment, it’s essential to play in moderation and ensure that gaming doesn’t interfere with other aspects of your life. But for those who enjoy online gaming responsibly, the benefits are clear.