One of the more popular dead horses that the media has loved to pummel for decades now is the idea that playing video games contributes to or causes mental illness. Data around this concept is usually sketchy at best and the conclusions that people seem to draw are even more suspicious.
Well, now it seems that playing video games is good for your mental health – within some contexts. And isn’t it convenient that this report happens to drop when we are all trapped inside of our homes with nothing else to do other than play video games?
Medical Daily reports that research from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada shows that video games have benefits for your mental health, particularly during times of social isolation like now.
Regan Mandryk, a professor of computer science who researched the project, said that video games have several components that help relieve stress.
“When people play video games they actually have a lot of benefits to our emotional health or social health and our mental well-being…It allows you to escape psychologically, have a little bit of psychological detachment from what’s going on around you,” Mandryk said. “It helps you relax. It helps you feel like you’re mastering challenges and it helps you feel like you have control over your environment — which are four main pieces to help you recover from stress.”
For those of us that have played games for most of our lives, we can likely concur based upon personal experience with many of Mandryk’s conclusions. It’s also nice to see something positive about gaming and even better that it is quantified in some form of research.
As mentioned earlier, this research couldn’t come at a better time because the industry is not only experiencing record sales but also more people gaming simultaneously than ever before. If there was ever a time to test the industry’s ability to positively contribute to issues of mental health, now is that time.
It also seems to contradict many of the popular stereotypes about gamers as asocial people. This kind of research will hopefully become more common in the future as more people become gamers or participate in the medium in some way. Whether it is just as a mobile gamer or beyond that, there are more things to study about gaming and an increasingly diverse sample size from which to draw.
What do you think? Does playing video games have positive effects on your mental health? How so? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section below.
Source – Medical Daily