10 Major Benefits of Playing Online Games to Students
Usually pegged to be a mere waste of time, playing online games are most often deemed to have a negative correlation to students’ performance at school. This is due to its potential harm related to addiction and violence.
However, there have also been significant studies that prove video games to have a positive impact to students. Playing online games makes use of the part of the brain called prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for controlling out thoughts and behaviour, and hippocampus, which is responsible for long-term memory.
Truly, playing video games goes more than just being a form of entertainment, as it also comes with astonishing benefits, most especially on the students’ cognitive, motivational, social, and emotional aspects.
Summarized below are the 10 major benefits of playing online games to students.
1. It increases their mental alertness.
Contrary to traditional notions that playing online games is intellectually lazy and sedating, it actually develops what students need for learning process. Students who play shooter online games, for example, have been proven by a recently published meta-analysis to have a faster and more accurate attention allocation, spatial reasoning, visual processing, and enhanced mental rotation abilities. These are the abilities necessary for arts, music, sports, and other kinaesthetic related fields.
2. It improves their motor skills.
Playing online games show a significant improvement on the students’ motor skills, such as speed, accuracy, precision, and dexterity. This demonstrates a positive influence on the psychomotor functioning of the students. Playing action online games (e.g. Angry Birds, Prince of Persia) have been found by researchers to help the students learn hand-eye coordination more than non-gamers. This prowess in hand-eye coordination, or motor skills in general, enables students to stand out in areas such as sports and music.
3. It improves their decision-making ability.
Playing online games trains the students to make decisions faster without losing their accuracy. They get to develop a heightened sensitivity to what is going on around them, which further helps them in doing activities that require multi-tasking. Most online games require an effective strategic planning. Further being exposed to such improves their ability to make faster yet thoughtful decisions.
4. It enhances their creativity and imagination.
There have been emerging evidences proving that playing any kind of online games make a significant contribution to students’ creative capacities. In a study conducted by the Michigan State University, they concluded that online game playing is positively associated with greater creativity. Students get to see the world in different ways, ways that help them see what’s behind the surface, like hidden patterns or connections from what seem like two distinct phenomena. Furthermore, they were trained to make how to make the best out of a limited resource.
5. It develops their spatial skills.
Playing puzzle online games challenges students to unleash their spatial ability, a reasoning skill that enables students to think, manipulate, and draw conclusion about objects from limited information, a skill necessary for Architectural and Engineering courses.
6. It enhances their ability to solve problems.
Playing strategic (role playing) online games have been proven to have a significant impact on the students’ problem solving skills, which then translates to higher academic grades. This is supported by a study conducted by Adachi & Willoughby from Brock University.
7. It yields a positive impact on their social well-being.
Contrary to popular beliefs, playing online games does not really isolate students. In fact, when playing online games (e.g. Farmville, World of Warcraft), students were given the chance to interact with other people, at least virtually. This then helps them progress socially, as they can establish lasting friendships with people who possess the same interest as them.
8. It promotes social development.
Many students suffer from aggression, stress, and anxiety. In a study conducted by Carolina University, playing online games diminishes feelings of stress and depression tendencies of students. It as though provides them nurturance, joy, and growth, helping them cope with whatever negative feelings they feel. This positive emotion then enables them to develop socially, helping them be able to look at things in a different light. They get to interact more with people and get to see themselves as part of the society.
9. It pushes them to strive further.
Most, if not all, online games foster an optimistic, stimulating atmosphere that pushes students to strive further. It teaches them the importance of persistence in achieving their goal and the experience of failure as a means for them to push through and attain their objective.
10. It can serve as a therapeutic.
Playing online games is one of the most efficient and effective ways of relaxation, one that generates positive mood and feelings from students. Studies suggest that puzzle video games (e.g. Angry Birds, Candy Crush), or any other online game that require minimal interface, enhance player’s moods, promoting relaxation, and warding off anxiety.
So the next time you see kids interested to play online games, don’t be so mean. Instead, allow them to play and enjoy. It is just a matter of setting the right time to play like every school breaks and holidays or during travels. There are unblocked games out there that they can check out anytime and anywhere responsibly.