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Are Video Games Bad For You?

Are Video Games Bad For You?

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Video games have been the subject of controversy since they arrived on the market decades ago. 

Many have regarded video games as a scourge of society, leading to anti-social and criminal behavior, depression, anxiety, and poor personal hygiene and health.

As such, people around the world often wonder if video games are good or bad for them and what risks they may pose to their health.

Are video games bad for you?

There are two ways to answer the question honestly.

Let's dive in.


Is Playing Video Games Bad for You?

No, video games are not bad for you if you're living a life that includes eating a nutritious diet, exercising daily, and enjoying a healthy social life with valuable human connections.

Entertainment such as video games do not present any immediate danger or threat to people who enjoy gaming in moderation and do not allow it to become an addiction that consumes their lives.

Just about anything has a toxicity level if you're consuming too much of it. Have you ever experienced the lightheaded spinning of a room after breathing in too much oxygen (the element that you need to live)?

Vitamin C is great, too. The body needs Vitamin C to heal properly and has numerous other benefits. But if you consume too much, you're likely getting nightmarish nausea and diarrhea.

So, it's not necessarily about what you're consuming, but how much. This leads us to the second part of how we can answer the question 'Are video games bad for you?'

Yes, video games are bad for you if you're living a life that includes eating an atrocious diet of junk food and snacks, getting zero exercise because you're gaming all day, and rarely having IRL (in real life) experiences with friends and family.

Video games, while generally harmless, can be very dangerous if they become an addiction. Video games are harmful if they're the catalyst to establishing a lifestyle conducive to poor diet and isolation.

If you think confinement and isolation pose no threat, talk to NASA. They spend millions of dollars in research and training to make sure astronauts don't go crazy and kill each other on long space missions.

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Are Video Games Bad For Kids?

If a child is enjoying ample fresh air, exercise, a nutritious diet and social activity with friends and family, then a moderate amount of video gaming will have very little or no negative effects on them.

According to the National Institutes of Health, on the contrary, video games can actually be beneficial to your child's cognition and mental growth.

Video games can help your children's learning (even more so with video games specifically designed for educational purposes).

Video games have been shown to benefit hand-eye coordination, improve response times, enhance visual memory, encourage teamwork, inspire creative and critical thinking, relieve stress, improve focus, and help lay the speech processing and cognition groundwork for learning multiple languages.

Let's not forget that video games are fun and enjoyable, which can stimulate neurotransmitter function and brain chemistry to improve a person's mood and the quality of their life.

But wait, there's more.


The Unspoken Benefits of Gaming for You and Your Kids

With all the scientific stuff aside, let's look at some other real-world benefits of video games that often go unnoticed or ignored.

In the 80s and early 90s, video game culture had established its footing in American society.

After we finished our homework, played outside for a while, ate dinner and finished our chores, kids would get an hour or two to play video games before bedtime.

Kids all over the country were doing this at the same time. If you were playing Mario 3 on Nintendo or Mortal Kombat on Sega, you were part of an unspoken social club.

Talking about video games in school the next day with your friends became a culture of sorts, like a brotherhood of gamers.

Video games, and I can tell you from personal experience, were a way to establish and maintain friendships for many elementary school boys in the 80s and 90s.

While the grownups of the day became terrified that we were becoming alienated, anti-social and detached from reality, the opposite was true.

The kids who chose not to play Nintendo or Sega, I'm sorry to say, were unfortunately left out of "the club." We weren't trying to be mean to these other kids, but it's a matter of reality that they had no frame of reference for what we were talking about.

And we wanted to include them. Kids would invite other kids over to their homes after school or on weekends to play video games if they didn't have access to Nintendo or Sega. If they refused or showed no interest, that was their loss. They weren't in the club.

What about adults? What about today?

Today, not much has changed in the social aspect of gaming. Adults can establish and maintain friendships that revolve around video game culture that last for a lifetime.

Whether it's graphic online gaming, text-based MUD gaming, RPGs, or console-based gaming, there is a gaming culture there that's important and meaningful to many of us.

The importance of video gaming culture cannot be trivialized, for children or adults.

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The Bottom Line

Sure, as most people know, video games can be bad for you if you let them turn into a disastrous addiction that transforms you into a Gollum covered in bed sores, ghostly pale skin and greasy grime that encompasses all 350lbs of your sad and crumbling body, but most of us gamers do not become addicted.

Severe video game addiction, quite earnestly, is a pop-culture trope and a stereotype. Sure, it happens, but not as often as you think.

Yes, video games CAN be bad if you let them consume your life. But it's also true that becoming obsessed with reading or collecting stamps can have the same negative results.

If you live your life with balance and homeostasis, your hobbies can be rewarding aspects of your life.

Video games can certainly be rewarding. They can enhance your mental acuity, cognition, and critical thinking skills, and help you foster new friendships and social interaction within the gaming community and beyond.

So the ultimate answer to the question 'Are video games bad for you?' is that no, video games are not inherently bad for you!

Don't let any Karen tell you otherwise.

Thanks for reading! Before you go, check out our awesome line of Premium Gaming Shirts! 


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