A villain or a good man? Playing video games can have a positive effect on mental health

The Oxford University study points to a positive relationship between games and the mental well-being of users; Experts evaluate the model and make reservations

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Mental reflexes can vary depending on the dynamics, objectives and missions in each game

Games Video games Can be positive for Mental health Of users. Has done this research Oxford University, In the United Kingdom. Contrary to common sense, which shows concern about the impact of sports on young people, especially a study published in November 2020 Indicates to have a small relationship In addition to the socially friendly aspects, between the entertainment model and the mental well-being of the users. This research analyzes the reflections of sports in the lives of three thousand adult athletes and understands that a model of collaboration is proposed. Games This creates a “social context” that makes it a viable option for living in a society, explains psychologists Luiz Maffele, PUC Minas and PhD in psychology at the University of Geneva. “We understand that when there is some collaboration, and these are games that will not show great competition among the users, there is an advantage, because there is something beyond the game that goes into the community. In this universe, it makes contact possible, which leads to mental health benefits, ”explains Muffle.

In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) Even “gaming disorder” is an addictive behavior and addiction is classified as a disease. Oxford research, however, points to an opposite situation, which has positive consequences for those involved, albeit preliminary. So, in fact, Good or bad for the mindset of sports players? Among experts, the assessment is that there is no single answer to the question, as mental reflexes may differ in each dynamic, in each phase and from the objectives and missions involved in each gamification model. There are games that contribute to socialization with users’ cognitive and memory skills, leisure skills, teamwork and even decision making, which psychologists suggest as alternative therapies, explains psychologist Vanessa Gabrim. “It contributes a lot to socialization, in that sense it helps a lot and there are other factors that help video games, but it is very serious to say that it helps mental health, because if you do not use it sparingly, it can be harmful. In extreme cases, It can be addictive, sleep and harm the body, and can even cause fatigue and stress.

In addition, it is important to note that research has analyzed users of two games that are considered “social”: Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing” and “Plants vs. Zombies by Electronic Arts.”, Developed without any violent character, which minimizes potential negative effects on the mental health of the participants. However, violent games “make a person insensitive to society” and the reflection in the study will be different. “One can catch that behavior [do jogo], In the process of social education and the desire to replicate it in society, which is very worrying “, states psychologist Louise Maffele. In other words, Professor Andy Prazibilski, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, agrees that research results do not mean “all video games are good” or “all gamers benefit”, but that data is the first step. Science to understand the true impact of sports on mental health. “The discussion about video games focuses on the fear that a large part of gamers will become addicted, and our results challenge that view. [Eles] Suggest that gaming may be an activity that is positively related to people’s mental health – and game regulation may retain these benefits.

If the results are positive for science, the assessment is also favorable among game developers. Rogério Felix, director of training and game development at ZION, a training school for game developers, emphasizes that games take on “second standards”, leaving only the role of fun and becoming a platform for simulation, training, immersion and socialization. “I have no doubt that this will strengthen the gaming market, as many studies have shown The ideal game, at the right time, done in the right way and applied in the right way, can lead to good results. The biggest concern is to know how to choose the game, to know how the student will enjoy the game, to understand the family culture.”, Felix completes.

Side note: Warn the kids

Although the Oxford study states that the use of games for adults can bring good to users, experts warn that it is important to be aware of this. Children’s audience. Experts in neuroscience and child development at Projeto Pygmeu Ana Macedo explain that in children, sports reflexes can be counterproductive. According to her, in childhood, screen use should be zero and games should focus on “the child’s motor, sound, cognitive and social skills”. In adolescents, there is concern about the release of “addictive substances responsible for activating the instant gratification system” into the brain, which can lead the player to misjudge real-world predictions and control of the virtual world. , Which creates frustration. “It’s hard to define the boundaries between fun and addiction,” begins Ana Macedo, one of the best games for free time moments. “Choose games related to language development or exploring the natural world. These games will be more productive and provide more tangible and useful benefits for healthy development, ”he added.

Another important consideration, and the biggest concern of families – and psychologists – is Escapeism, Especially in adolescence. In other words, users’ practice of using the game as an “escape valve” from reality is a worrying situation, as it can limit the development of social skills and keep the individual away from the family and the so-called “real world”. . “Any situation you come up with as a solution to avoid social interactions and to avoid the challenges that arise is very worrying, because living in a society always requires us to negotiate, restructure and develop new skills. And hiding behind games can have the potential to limit development. So, on the one hand, games can be positive, but if they are not in moderation, they can be harmful. Psychologist Vanessa Gebrim insists that virtual contact is of no use to the person, but rather to stop doing other things throughout the day.

The villain or the good guy: how to evaluate?

From an expert’s point of view, two points need to be analyzed to assess whether a game is positive or negative for mental health: the style of play and the age of the player, explains psychologist Louise Maffele. “There are games that will offer socialization, there will be games that will offer competition, another great personal skill and that is what is important for the whole society at every moment. So, in every context we will see: is this competition alienating him from society? Is it a game of trapping an addict? How old is the person using the game? Are you a 7 year old or a 14 year old teenager? Will access to sports be a privilege for him or a problem for society? So these are the two issues: how much of the game is created to keep the person inside, avoids social interaction and how old the person is, then these events are made more qualitatively for the society.

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