Top 6 Facts Parents & Gamers Should Know About Video Games

Those who think gamers are lazy, stupid or dumb should think again. Here are the top 10 facts that every parent and gamer should know when it comes to video games. Hit the jump and check it out!

#6 Video Games Increases Creativity

Fact 10 1/2: All video games should be played in moderation! You can have fun, improve on some of these facts without sinking 24 straight hours into a video game! Have fun out there!

In 2011, Michigan State University researchers found that kids that played video games were much more creative in drawing pictures and writing stories. Research also showed that it didn't matter wether or not that the games were violent or non violent. Linda Jackson, the head researcher at Michigan State found the study to be the first evidence based study to link the relationship between technology use and creativity. At the same time studies showed that cell phones, the Internet and computers (other than use for video games) showed no evidence of increasing a childs creativity. 

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The study itself surveyed 491 students using the Torrance Test of Creativity-Figural. The Torrance Test involved a series of tasks like drawing a "interesting and exciting" picture from a curved shape. They'd also title their drawing and write a story about it. The children that played video games were far better off in the creativity department. Video games were the only technology to increase creativity. 
Source: Information technology use and creativity: Findings from the Children and Technology Project

#6 Video Games Improve Your Vision

In recent study condcuted by Daphne Bavelier, she followed a number of people with normal eyesight and she found as they played action video games (FPS) their vision began to improve. She took the study one step further. She began following seven people who were at a visual deficit one she claimed "had a visual deficit that had been stable for years." They started the study by allowing the people to get accustomed to the game for a few hours then sent them home to play for 2 hours a day. At the end of the month the results were tremendous. Those who were at a deficit reported seeing better in their good eyes, bad eyes and even both eyes. 

When she was asked why a first person shooter or action game she states "they require a person to monitor the whole field of vision, not just what is ahead of them. The player has to monitor everything, because the enemy could come from anywhere. The game is fast-paced. You can’t sit back because you will get shot dead. "  As these fast paced games continue to improve gamers eyesight begin to improve in a number of tasks, if you don't believe us check out the video above!

#4 Video Games May Help With Nightmares and PTSD

Jayne Gackenbach, a pyschologist at Grant MacEwan University took up the study and effects that video games have on dreams. She surveyed both gamers and non-gamers as to what kind of dreams they had been having. Through the surveys she found that gamers were more likely to have lucid dreams or dreams that they could influence or change. Though she said the study is open to all sorts of bias, there are some common themes in the dreams of gamers that non gamers don't do. This is were this nightmares and PTSD come into the picture.

In 2008 Gackenbach based a study of nightmares on Finnish psychologist Antti Revonsuo's theory of "threat simulation." The theory states that a dreamers nightmares that mimic real life situations that occur in a safe space of a dream.  The nightmares hone the skills of the dreamer and prepare them for real life situations. Here is where Gackenbach's study on gamers gets interesting. She studied 98 males and females (about 1/3 female) and how they reacted to the nightmares they had. The gamers in a post-dream report, reported that less threat or  even reversed threat simulation. Reversed threat simulation is when a dreamer turned on the threatening presence and became the threatening presece.

She found that gamers turn the nightmares into something fun and they fight back agaisnt the threat. After the study she turned to the nightmares of those who are suffering from PTSD. Though the study is ongoing, nightmares occur in 71-91 percent of people that have PTSD compared to 3-5 percent of those who don't. Her hypothesis is that virtual reality and video games can be used as a protective function against nightmares of those who suffer from PTSD.

#3 Video Games May Help Improve Grades

No, games like Call of Duty, Destiny and Resident Evil are not  the best games to help a child, teenager or adult do better in school, however, studies have shown certain types of games will help in that department. These studies (there have been many) show that games that are based on memory, problem-solving, and spatial intelligence (i.e. puzzles and mazes) could actually increase IQ, brain function and academic performance. Though there is no correlation between these games and higher grades, but if a game provides a challenge to said person, learning is taking place, which translates to the classroom. 

There have been many studies that also support the theory that video games can help with ADD and ADHD. It is said that the games help with focusing on a task until it is finished.

#2 Minecraft Is Now Being Used In The Classroom

Minecraft boasts over 100 million users across the world and is one of th most popular games to date and educators and the developers have taken notice. So much in fact that the creators of Minecraft developed a special version specifically for the classroom. So what does this version do for children?

Minecraft developers created what is called MinecraftEdu mod. This mod allows teachers to insert their curriculem and run it on private servers for each of their classrooms. The listed benefits according to education world include:
  • Minecraft gives students the freedom to create, pushing their imaginations to the limit and allowing them to be creative in ways not possible in the real world.
  • Inherently about problem-solving, the game can inspire students’ higher-level and critical thinking.
  • Minecraft is also a very social game, where students can rely on other players for help in the sometimes-unforgiving Minecraft world. When students work together, it builds positive classroom climate, teaches the benefits of collaboration and facilitates teamwork in a way that’s more organic than, say, being assigned to work together on a project. Students who might not get along in the real world can become allies in the Minecraft world. 

#1 Gaming Can Be Benificial For The Brain

In a study in 2013 Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine St. Hedwig-Krankenhaus found that playing video games increased brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning as well as fine motor skills in their test group. In the group, 23 males were asked to play Super Mario 64 (CLASSIC!) on a portable Nintendo for 30 minutes a day for 3 months. The control group didn't play any video games. After the 3 months were up the took MRI's of each of the males. They found that those who played the video game had " showed increases of gray matter in the right hippocampus, right prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum."

With those types of increases in brain functionality, they found that video games could help with mental dissorders. Dissorders like schizophrenia, alzheimers and other dissorders where areas of the brain are "altered" or smaller in size could possibly be helped by video games. 

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