The surprising benefits of gaming

Do your parents view video or computer games as the enemy? Show them these studies.

Alvin Smith, Guest Writer

Have you ever been yelled at by your parents to get off the game? Or have your parents blamed your failings on  spending too much time gaming? Well, do I have good news for you today. 

Researchers from the University of Rochester and Michigan State University say that gaming can change a person’s brain and for the better. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, gaming improves hand-eye coordination, nighttime driving abilities, and decision-making skills.

Michigan State University’s study, led by psychologist Linda Jackson, found out that middle school students who played more computer video games earned higher scores on standardized tests.  Almost any computer game boosts the creativity in children’s brain says the researchers at Michigan State. 

Brain and cognitive sciences professor Daphne Bavelier (University of Rochester) found that gaming brought real-world benefits. Not only does gaming give players better attention spans, but it improves players’ vision and “contrast sensitivity,” which helps when driving in poor conditions. 

Despite the benefits of playing, video game playing is often a source of conflict between children and parents. My own story is no different. Ever since I was young, my dad saw games as an unnecessary distraction or a threat to education. 

My dad would always ask, “Why don’t you ever read a book?” I knew he would not be satisfied with any answer I would give him. 

So any chance I had to play games, I would abuse it, but not on purpose. The way I abused it was by staying on it a lot, but I made sure to get my chores done first before hopping on the game. The time I get to play was the only time I got to relax from school. But the moment my father came across me playing the game, he flipped out and would ask me why am I always on that game? This aggravated me endlessly. I always do what he tells me to do academically, so why, when I want to do something to relax, would he get mad at me?

Regardless of my conflict with my father, I saw growth in hand to eye coordination and a wider attention span. This helped me excel in classes in which I did not know I could improve. In English, I improved my focus and reading time, and in science, I improved my ability to focus on an experiment and complete lab reports at the same time. 

My older brother Wilhelm is a better person to analyze. Wilhelm is both a fan of computer games and a strong student, excelling in all his classes and graduating high school with a 4.2 GPA. His experience gaming on his computer helped develop his brain and enhance his attention span. Games were always a relaxing activity for Wilhelm, and they helped him succeed in school by improving his brain’s functioning.

If parents (my father included) knew about the connection between game-playing and improved brain functioning, they would be very lenient, allowing their children to play games because of the educational benefits.

Playing computer games is good for your brain. If your parents say otherwise, prove them wrong with these studies or even do some research of your own. You’ll be surprised by the benefits you discover.