Can video games be beneficial to the body?


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During the first blog period I asked the question "Do violent video games really turn kids into cold blooded killers?" in which I asked the question does violent video games play a roll into when people kill people or create catastrophes such as Columbine or the Virginia Tech massacre. I concluded in that blog post that violent video games does increase aggression, but there is no definitive proof that aggression produced by video games leads people to partake in large scale acts of violence.

Now I return to the realm of video games to try and answer another big question when it comes to video games: does playing video games help further develop the body?

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Now, if you were to ask anyone on the street if video games can be a positive thing for the body most people might say that video games have no positive affects and probably say that they are the reason that so many people in this country are over weight. There is no denying that video games could possibly lead to increased weight due to the fact that very little physical activity is done when you play video games and it sucks away time that could be used by exercising. But then again, so does watching TV or a movie as in you could say the same thing about those two causing a lack of physical activity. But there may be some people that do agree with the idea that video games help the body by developing hand eye coordination. This has been a widely accepted fact that games can do this, but it turns out there may be more positive affects to playing video games then just hand eye coordination.

A new study shows that playing video games can have positive effects on the brain. For the test they performed an experiment where one group of young adult males played the game "Super Mario 64" for a two month period for thirty minutes a day while another group did not play video games at all. According to the article: "Playing the Super Mario 64 video game causes increased size in brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning as well as fine motor skills" (Kurzweil, 2013). By playing the game and then scanning the brain after the test period it was found that the people who played the games were seen to have increased gray matter in the sections of the brain in charge of spatial navigationmemory formation, strategic planing, and fine motor skills in the hands.

So did this study prove anything? Well according to the people of the study it proved that there is a direct casual link between playing video games and a volumetric brain increase. The article also says that video games can also help people with mental disorders as well and with the results of this test it seems like a good idea.

So it seems video games can be beneficial to the body, mostly in the brain development and improvement part of the body. Of course, there is still the matter of how video games can make use lazy and take time away from physical activity which is something that will probably never change, but keep in mind there are a lot of things that can take away time to be physical such as watching TV and Movies which I mentioned earlier. So in some ways playing video games can be like a double edged sword when it comes to how it affects our bodies.

Either way, I'm still going to play some games for a good long while.


3 Comments

With the new Xbox One coming out soon this blog was very relevant to my life. In an ideal world video games could be as beneficial to our bodies as physical activity and studying, but that's just not realistic no matter how many Wii fitness games nintendo puts out. My dad yelling at me all these years to put the controller down has to be for a reason right? I think that physically video games offer no benefits, but mentally they offer much more. Not all video games are mindless shoot to kill games. Most games that I play are very difficult and involve puzzles and strategy. These types of games test my brain while helping to develop it. There has always been a negative stigma surrounding video games, but I've played them my whole life and I'm still in shape with excellent hand eye coordination.

I must respectfully disagree with your post. How many teenage and college aged boys are playing Super Mario 64? Much more are playing games such as Grand Theft Auto, a game in which you drive around, shoot people, go to strip clubs, and steal stuff. To me, there is no way in which this stimulates the brain. To me, there are other activities which foster memory formation, motor skills, hand eye coordination, and overall health. Playing sports encourages all of these things and in addition, promotes teamwork, social interaction, and exercise. While I think it is fine to enjoy playing video games every once in a while, it becomes detrimental when you let it take over your life.

Check out this article on video game use and its negative effects.http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/12/11/negative-effects-of-violent-video-games-may-build-over-time/48918.html

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