Since their induction in the 1970’s, video games have been a cultural phenomenon. Over the last fifty years, we’ve watched them evolve from 8-bit scrolling games to large, immersive digital worlds. With the introduction of mobile gaming over the last decade, video games are available to us wherever we go. Their availability presents a myriad of new opportunities and challenges to our generation, especially in concerns to health.

First, let’s take a glance at the positive aspects of video games in concerns to health. Video game strategy is shown to improve your problem solving skills and overall logic. In many action and role playing games, players often have to learn to multitask and switch between tasks quickly. Video games are also proven to increase people’s situational awareness as well as their strategy and anticipation of future events. Can you remember the last time you had to pass a tough level or beat a difficult boss? You were training your brain to become more perseverant. Remembering facts about the game also increases memory. Even by winning in games you are encouraged to take risks. Most games don’t reward participants for playing safely. With online gaming, teamwork is encouraged and built as well. There are also a growing number of people who are able to learn English or another language by playing the game.

Video games can serve a lot of benefits, however with those comes negative consequences. Being that the majority of video games are stationary, sitting and staring at screens for a long time can be unhealthy. Scientists encourage players to only spend so long on the game and mix it up with some casual exercise. The time spent playing video games can be intrusive on other responsibilities. The feeling of escapism can cause people to look to the virtual world as an escape and avoid some of their realistic goals. Curbing the amount of time spent on video games is important to keep this from happening. Video games can also have a negative effect on a kid’s physical well being including video game induced seizures, obesity and postural conditions. Although there are many games that socialization is a key factor of the experience, young people can often isolate themselves socially. There are also studies that show playing violent video games can lead to young people displaying violent behavior. Overall, like with any innovation, making the choice to be moderate in your use of video gaming time is important.