Video Games aren’t a Bad Influence: Communication And Problem-solving Skills
It is often argued that the effects of gaming can be either good or bad. However, it is not as bad as it seems. The common debate is that those who play video games will be prone to aggressive behavior, addictiveness, and health issues. This perception definitely puts video games in a bad light, but there is so much more to the gaming community that disproves this statement. It all depends on the person playing and how they adapt to their environment to prevent the aforementioned side effects. Despite these factors, gaming is beneficial because it helps develop communication skills, cooperation with others, multitasking abilities, and problem-solving skills.
Communication is an absolute key in gaming; it requires teamwork to achieve the goals of the current objective in the game. Collaborating together not only gives the team success, but it also helps build confidence among players to enhance their social skills further. Everyone has a say in the match or the group they are involved in. It aids in developing quick decision-making skills, encouraging those who shy away from communicating to speak up so their voice can be heard and included in the game. Being able to converse with others helps create tactics to dominate the current objective provided. Online games are based on the possibilities of computer networks.
This shows in the scope of modes of communication that typical multiplayer games offer. A single game can support communication based on text, image, and sound. In addition, a game may provide tools for interaction between two people, as well as enable communication between whole groups and communities (“How Does Online Gaming Affect Social Interactions”). From this passage, it’s clear that some games have already built-in communication tools for players to make it easier for everyone to be on the same page when playing a match. Some other tools for players include mics, team chats the game provides, or messaging gaming apps. All are beneficial in driving the team to success. Regardless of whether failure is experienced, it helps the players to grow in communication and demonstrate all kinds of social skills, all for the sake of having fun in a game.
“Multitasking is the main base when gaming. The ability to multitask not only shows that the player can execute many actions at once, but also that the player has the concentration to control the many tasks given and to carry out the objective. ‘Fast-paced video games also appear to train the brain into gathering information and reacting much more quickly. Not only did the gamers have faster response times with less information, but they also made better decisions than non-gamers. A separate study showed that moderate video game use can even boost brain volume. Aside from increases in multitasking and reflexes, new research shows that playing video games can benefit mood and encourage relaxation through socialization when done in a moderate amount,’ (Andrew).
Every game provides a different multitasking simulation to keep players occupied. For example, single shooter games require a lot of concentration and are fast-paced, forcing the brain to be highly attentive to every detail. According to an article, ‘As the authors noted in the study, “Playing such games thus increases the ability to spatially distribute visual attention and resolve visual details. As a result, when task-relevant information appears on the periphery, it is more likely to capture attention and receive the required processing.” In other words, since first-person shooters require players to notice and act quickly on new events that may pop up anywhere on the screen, the game is essentially training them to be better multitaskers’ (Knapp). Being trained to multitask by a game not only benefits the player, but they can also use this ability in real-world workforce situations. Given that video games consistently require players to multitask, the skills gained can be easily applied at work when a supervisor assigns multiple tasks to be completed to the highest standards.
Problem-solving is the biggest factor in a game. Every layer of a game is built upon problems requiring solutions. Single-player games are often not considered to have a conflict built into their story, but they do present problems when playing. Let’s say, for example, during an online match, when the player is killed, the person wants to know who did it and how to counter them to be victorious when they meet them again upon respawning. Coming up with techniques to tackle conflict and find a solution is not only beneficial but is also useful in the real world. Video games are beneficial to problem-solving because they allow you to try different things without any cost. If you play a puzzle game, you can keep experimenting with different solutions.
The trial and error approach in games is useful in real life because of increased confidence. We might sometimes avoid problems just because we think we don’t know how to solve them. Video games, however, teach us that solutions and approaches are not always obvious and that there’s no harm in trying a few different things. Figuring out how to exit a secret room in a game, for instance, gives a sense of accomplishment and boosts confidence in our skills (Agents at Geek). Video games grant the ability to try again when we don’t succeed, encouraging perseverance to come up with solutions to complete given tasks. This approach can greatly enhance the creativity of the players’ minds.
Unlike video games, the real world is based solely on your decisions and actions. As you go through life, there are no second chances like games can grant you. Knowing how to practice problem-solving not only makes you a more prepared person in the workforce but also boosts your confidence to make the right choices and helps expand your mind. As game developer and gaming researcher Jane McGonigal noted in her World Innovation Forum and TED Talk about gamers’ untapped abilities, gamers are out-of-the-box problem solvers. Why? Because, as she puts it, players spend about 80 percent of their time failing while playing video games. Interestingly, while constant failure might make one quit their task in other aspects of life, gamers tend to embrace their failures. The more they fail, the harder they try to correct their errors and succeed at the task at hand (‘Game Changer: Video Games and Real-World Problem Solving, Part One’).
Failure is the greatest teacher for self-improvement. Although it can be frustrating, it helps push one to go beyond their capabilities. The mentality of failure not only brings fear but also limits a person’s potential. Playing a simple game to test an individual’s ability means more than just sitting there doing nothing. It gives the person a chance to explore different possibilities when playing a game that can either impact their life or serve as just another tool for entertainment.
Even though it is often said that people who constantly play games are doing nothing productive, just wasting hours of their day, they should know that gaming is not just a waste. It grants a way to escape to a different reality, helps to relieve stress built up in a person, and makes time more enjoyable by providing a chance to relax while having fun. Video games aren’t entirely useless; they provide skills in communication, multitasking, and problem-solving. The debate will still continue on how games can affect a person’s behavior by fostering aggression, addictiveness, and deteriorating health, but it largely depends on the individual. The person is entirely responsible for how they manage their habits when they are occupied with something such as a game. Technology will constantly advance, and it depends on our behavior how we choose to maintain diligence and use it wisely.
Andrew, Elise. “Can Video Games Create A Sharper Mind?” IFLScience, IFLScience, 20 Mar. 2018, www.iflscience.com/technology/can-video-games-create-sharper-mind/
Knapp, Alex. “Trouble Multitasking? Try Playing First Person Shooters.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 9 Mar. 2013, www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2013/03/09/trouble-multitasking-try-playing-first-person-shooters/#45db51441428
“How Does Online Gaming Affect Social Interactions?” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 20 Sept. 2007, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070915110957.htm.
The University of Jyvaeskylae. “How Does Online Gaming Affect Social Interactions?” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2007. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070915110957.htm
Agents of Geek, et al. “How Video Games Can Help to Improve Problem Solving and Creativity.” Agents of Geek, 15 Nov. 2018, www.agentsofgeek.com/2017/07/how-video-games-can-help-to-improve-problem-solving-and-creativity/
“Game Changer: Video Games and Real-World Problem Solving, Part One,” Game Changer: Video Games and Real-World Problem Solving, Part Two. Information Technology | University of Arizona, [2019?].
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