shock new research suggests that playing video games actually helps you relax…
We’ve all been subjected to the media horror stories about possible negative effects of video games on the fragile young minds of the next generation. Now a comprehensive literature review has found a much larger body of evidence supporting the positive effects of gaming.
The research group found that playing video games positively influences young people’s emotional state, vitality, engagement, competence and self-acceptance. And that it’s associated with higher self-esteem, optimism, resilience, healthy relationships and social connections and functioning.
Clearly excessive video game play and technology use is not good for mental health and we acknowledge that excessive play is associated with negative outcomes, such as anxiety and insomnia.
But the overall picture turns the view that playing video games makes us socially isolated, aggressive, and lazy, on its head. Instead, this research suggests that, in the majority of cases, video games can actually contribute to three different aspects of young people’s well-being – emotional, social and psychological.
- moderate (non-excessive) levels of playing are associated with positive emotions and improved mood, improved emotion regulation and emotional stability and the reduction of emotional disturbances;
- playing video games is a healthy means of relaxation, stress reduction and socialising; and
- people who play video games in moderation have significantly less depressed mood and higher self-esteem (compared to those who don’t play or who play excessively).