By Jonny Lupsha, Wondrium Staff Writer
Despite what you may have heard, video games have many benefits. Many games exercise the brain’s puzzle-solving skills and others can keep friends in touch around the world. This week on Wondrium Shorts, see the bright side of screen time.
Too much screen time spent on electronic devices can be bad for anyone—especially children. It can lead to obesity, sleep problems, depression, and more. However, that doesn’t make all screen time bad. Even the often-contested medium of video games offers several benefits for players, such as improvements in hand-to-eye coordination, cognitive abilities, problem-solving and logic skills, and decision-making.
Maintaining moderation and having some understanding both appear to be key in preventing over use. In Wondrium’s new video series Promises and Perils of Technology, David Kushner, author and journalist, illustrates why gaming can be a boon instead of a hindrance.
When Talking Online Goes Right
Anybody who’s ever been on social media or in a gaming lobby has likely seen or heard some of the most appalling language uttered in the modern world. However, internet communication can be important when your friends are spread out over long distances—especially during the pandemic.
“During the pandemic […] I miss my friends,” Kushner said. “I miss friends of mine who I grew up with; I haven’t seen them for a while and normally, we would get together, and we would go places, but we [can’t]. So, we all got our Oculus Quest headsets and we’ve been playing […] once a week, some really geeky Dungeons and Dragons game in virtual reality.
“For me, after a couple hours, I feel like I’ve hung out with my friends.”
Kushner was quick to add that playing online with his friends doesn’t mean that he won’t also socialize in-person when he’s able to, nor does it mean that he won’t get out and exercise or take a walk in the park; but, there is value in the opportunity to have a virtual meetup with people he knows and whose company he enjoys.
Change Is Constant—Embrace It
Whenever society embraces a technological innovation, it can disrupt the daily life to which a population is accustomed. Whether that innovation is the automobile, the television, video games, the internet, cellular phones, or smart watches, the world needs to adjust, unless they were born after the technology came to be.
Otherwise, we find ourselves not only out of the loop and struggling to keep up, but even afraid of the new technology.
“I think there’s always been biases against new technologies or, especially, anything that percolates out of youth culture, going back to pulp novels or Elvis Presley,” Kushner said. “There’s been concern over the years when people see kids in front of screens for long periods of time. As a parent myself, I mean, I can certainly understand that, and I was also one of those kids who was playing those games.”
Kushner added that anything can be taken too far and it’s a just cause for concern, but that parents and the generations of people who didn’t grow up with video games have an opportunity to get comfortable with them.
“The best thing that they could do is to sit down and play these games themselves, and go into these worlds, and experience it through the eyes of the young people,” he said. “This is a new kind of literacy […] and there are a lot of people who are just not—they’re not taking the time to become literate and familiar with this new form of expression.”