Is Gaming Bad For Your Health?

Computer games, each one among us knows them, played some or watched someone play. They became over time one among the strongest parts of the industry of technology, grossing huge sales and large profits, changing and growing every second. There is always that one game, one of the millions, billions out there, that everyone plays competitively. So much so that they become a worldwide obsession for some time, the length varying on the new games that come out, until something catchier appears and the old game falls into the dark hole of forget.

Most people of age categories between child and adult have heard this phrase at least once in their lives: 'Stop wasting your time playing on the computer for so long!’ Most parents do consider time spend on the computer as a waste. But what if it isn't always like that?
Educational games started a blooming business recently, so much so that they are already integrated in schools and other educational programs around the world. There are apps that teach you almost anything you are looking for, often more efficiently than schools and teachers. That is because these apps are developed by people around the age of the users, with similar levels of knowledge and with a similar mentality. One will always understand better the explanations of a colleague rather than those of a teacher, and this is the exact principal these apps are developed on.

Moreover, language-learning apps are some of the most advertised and most widely used types of apps out there. A good percentage of non-English speakers have used apps like Duolingo, Memrise or something similar at least once in their lives, and this is for the English language alone. Just add in the rest of the languages in the world and what you get is the technological and economical equivalent of a jackpot. These apps rely on what they often call 'game-ifying’ the learning process by inserting some rewards, some exciting challenges and just the right amount of competition. No one can deny that they are the best at their job, that of attracting people to learning something new.

But there is also another niche in the game development industry that too few people are talking about. It is often so hard to notice that many don't even know it exists, which is sad and a bit frustrating, taking into consideration all the benefits it could bring. It is the medical field that I am referring to, specifically the games designed to help in the recovery process of people with different kinds of medical problems. Although these games are shown to be quite successful in sustaining the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems, they are rarely mentioned by doctors and professionals, especially in places with a rather conservative mentality.

Even in more developed countries, although different apps might be recommended for sick children, this practice is mainly focused on a narrow range of ages and problems. Colourful scenes and powerful images play an important role in these apps, designed almost always specifically for children. While it is not only them that would benefit from using such apps, it is more or less widely believed games are for children. Adults don't play. Well, my question is: why not? For example, studies show that people who had suffered a stroke and have lost control of their fine movements benefit a lot from playing certain computer games, which by the use of a motion sensor track fine movements and act accordingly. The use of different levels of difficulty and finesse in perception can help these patients avoid the stress and frustration that come with physical therapy. They are also often showed to keep them motivated and build their mental endurance better and easier than (healthy) medical professionals could.

Although we all hope it will not come to the second case presented, maybe it is time for parents to stop putting computer games in such a bad light. As the industry keeps growing and the variety of apps keeps increasing, there might come a day when games might take a bigger role in our day to day lives. Sure, they will still remain fun, but what if, at the end of the day, we have something more to gain out of them, more than just having fun.

What do you guys think about it ? Do let us know in the comment.


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