Video Games: Good or Bad?

The biggest debate in the world of gaming asks one question: Are video games good or harmful? The truth is, the answer to this question is opinion-based. People can list all the reasons why video games are bad and detrimental to our health. But people can also list the benefits of gaming. It’s a win-win situation. Both sides have research to back up their beliefs. That is the wonderful thing about this divide. Both sides are supported. But, there are extreme articles out there that blindside one another. For example, the article The Negative Effects of Video Games, completely misses the points and ideas that I believe are important in understanding this worldwide debate. 

Analyzing “The Negative Effects of Video Games”

In this article, the author is quick to present twelve common negative effects of video games. As I was reading through this article, I realized one thing was missing. It’s the lack of proof. There aren’t many studies that prove this side of this debate. There is still some work to be done on this side of the divide. The positives include an abundant amount of studies that prove the benefits and their impact on gamers. The number of gamers is on the rise and scaring them with these “common” negative effects will not work. They will eventually find out if gaming is good or bad for them through personal experience.

I don’t agree with much that was said throughout this article. The author, Cam Adair, fails to realize that the symptoms he mentions are extremely rare. One must suffer tremendously from a clinically diagnosed gaming disorder. This is of course based on the symptomology listed in the DSM-V. He provides very little statistical evidence that shows the population that struggles with extreme and prolonged gaming. He did share personal accounts that explained multiple individuals’ experiences with extreme gaming issues. One thing I noticed was their negative tone. The author used these accounts in a negative spotlight which makes me like the article less. I wish there was awareness of the opposing side of this debate as it does exist, whether you believe it or not. You can’t hide from that fact no matter how hard you try.

I can appreciate one thing from this article and the author. He provided a resource for those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and ideation. He also provided a personal account that relates to overcoming suicidal ideation and thoughts that came from the effects of a gaming disorder. Not only this but a resource for how to overcome gaming addiction. The negative tone slowly developed into a helping hand. There is no mention that there is an upside to gaming though. The article only focuses on the idea that gaming too much quickly develops into a disorder that can, of course, be managed and treated. I would have preferred he stated the positives of gaming as well. There are two sides. If you bring awareness to the other you may reach a larger audience that wants to be swayed in one direction or the other. The bias is ultimately eliminated and the readers would begin to trust you. This is just my opinion though.

Positive Effects from Gaming

I believe in the counter-proposals of this article and debate, which are the positive effects of gaming. After a little bit of digging, surprisingly, I came across an article authored by the same individual. Cam focuses on one side at a time. He takes the time to prove one side, then moves on to the next. I can appreciate that. But, I believe articles covering this debate should meet somewhere in the middle. It seems logical to cover both within the same article in a brief manner to catch the reader’s attention.

I am not here to provide specific statistics or ideas. I am here to address how gaming has helped me and why I believe it has positive effects. Not only this but why I think it has negative effects as well. Firstly, I will discuss the positives.

Gaming has served as an escape for me. A place where I can go to forget about my life for a little bit of time. I’ve come to realize I deserve that. I pack too much on my plate and don’t release it. Gaming has become the perfect pleasing skill for me alongside music. When I can incorporate gaming into my day, I find my stress levels greatly decrease. I play with a bunch of my brother’s friends and all we do is laugh. My social life thrives when gaming. I can play with others and talk with them every time. I have also gained confidence in my skills, especially with video editing. I make gaming YouTube videos to help fill the time when homework becomes too much, but I need something to do. It makes me feel capable and confident. I love this feeling.

I have pointed to more specific benefits of gaming in the Instagram post below that was published by Forbes. I resonate with the idea of improved emotional health because I have experienced it firsthand. I have made friends, I have also uncovered skills that have paved the way for my future career (e.g. social media/marketing work).

“Technologies are invented to make our lives easier – not our choices”

Adam Jensen, Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Though there are countless amounts of positives, I have experienced the negatives. One of them being HORRIBLE sleep hygiene. I was dealing with a lot a while back and needed an escape bad with all my unwanted free time. I took advantage of my free time though, and never slept. I was severely sleep deprived for weeks. Until I said, enough is enough. I learned to moderate gaming. There’s a healthy medium when it comes to stress and gaming. My diet was non-existent as well. I’ve lost a lot of weight after my pregnancy because I had no time to eat. This was worsened when I picked up gaming once again. I’d play all day if I could and I’d forget to eat and hydrate myself. The bare essentials of daily living and I forgot all about it. I have dealt with both the negatives and the positives, and thats okay. You can believe in one side and have experienced the other, it’s your opinion and your choice. Go with it.

In conclusion, articles need to reveal both sides of the debate instead of sticking to one side. Especially if one side cannot be proven with extensive studies or lack thereof. There are both negatives and positives. It’s up to you to decide what side you are on. Do you believe in playing, or do you believe in not playing? Be careful about what you read on the internet. A lot of publications hold bias on this topic and lack logic on certain ideas. Now that you’ve read this, I hope you gained a better understanding of one of the biggest debates we have seen, which will continue into the unforeseen future.


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