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How can playing video games lead to better mental health?

How can playing video games lead to better mental health?

Suraj Iyer

Published: 17 Nov 2020 3:33 PM GMT

The lockdown saw many industries go remote and many recreational activities coming to a halt. Cinemas, sports and other venues of entertainment were also shut, rendering many people bored. However, gaming and esports were among the very few industries that saw an uptake.

Contrary to popular belief that gaming causes addiction or disorders affecting the mood, many saw mental health benefits due to gaming. As outdoor interaction was restricted unless an emergency or essential was needed, multiplayer gaming became a popular form of connecting with friends and people all around the world. Though not akin to socializing in person, this provided an outlet for many, to connect without having to engage in person. This reduced the spread of the disease and introduced many to the world of single player and multiplayer gaming.

A recent study by Oxford University found that playing video games were affiliated with better mental well being. The research relied on people providing feedback after playing, which is thought to be a flawed method of feedback rather than relying on scientific research and evidence. However, if more academic research was conducted in a scientific manner, the evidence would present itself in a more concrete manner. The study is not peer reviewed and is subject to change.

However, the study still proves some benefits to video games. Despite many instances of video games causing aggression or mood disorders in many, videogame companies get their products reviewed, after which the game is released to an audience of a specific age group. When playing games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Plants vs Zombies: Battle For Neighborville for a short time, the study found that this showed a positive change in mood. This also rings true for esports players, who may spend over 6 hours a day in practicing and mastering their gameplay for tournaments as it is their source of living.

Though video games have received a bad name throughout the years for being addictive or harmful, they were among the primary sources of entertainment for many across the world, aside from streaming services.

Also read: ISL: Bengaluru FC launch mental health care programme for team

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