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Are Video Games Good or Bad For Our Health?


Video games have become a long running debate in society over the last decade. As technology and online gaming evolves at a rapid rate, more and more people can now gain access to some sort of games console. The main argument against video games is that sitting prone for hours staring at a screen is the same, or possibly even worse, than watching TV for a lengthy period of time.

Well over at Mark’s Daily Apple, there’s evidence to suggest that it can actually be good for you. Believe it or not, video games can have a number of benefits on cognitive responses including enhanced creativity and improved problem solving. The article goes on to list the three areas video games are most associated with – violence, stress and obesity. Here’s an extract from each section:

Video Games and Violence

We just don’t see the evidence that video game-induced aggression is causing a wave of violence. Gaming is more popular than ever in this country and violent crime rates continue to drop. If anything, increased sales of violent video games are associated with a decreased incidence of violent crime.

Video Games and Stress

A considerable body of evidence shows that playing video games can trigger the stress response and engage the sympathetic nervous system. Remember though lots of things that are good for us, like exercise, engage the stress response. The key is balance between stress and recovery. Exercise is self-limiting, if you do it right.

Video Games and Obesity

Compared to sitting around doing nothing for an hour, playing games for an hour increases short term energy intake. My take is that gaming can be stressful – as we’ve already shown – and stress tends to increase food intake. But so does reading an essay and writing a short response to it. It doesn’t help, of course, that it’s logistically tough to eat healthy food while gaming.

If you want a more in-depth reading of video games and its health effects, then check out the full article. The evidence may just surprise you!


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About Matt Lawson Matt Lawson is a UK based sports journalist who covers all the latest football (soccer) news and matches for the Press Association. A keen Newcastle United fan, Matt is usually found either watching or playing the beautiful game.

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