Video Games Can Be Good For Young People, Australian Research States

Well whaddya know, more research that shows video games are good for young people? That can't be right. According to a comprehensive review of existing research put together by folks at Queensland University of Technology, playing a moderate amount of video games can positively affect children's self esteem and, on the whole, can help improve emotional stability.

Gaming picture from Shutterstock

The research was initially reported on at The Conversation and stated three major findings...

- moderate (non-excessive) levels of playing are associated with positive emotions and improved mood, improved emotion regulation and emotional stability and the reduction of emotional disturbances;

- playing video games is a healthy means of relaxation, stress reduction and socialising; and

- people who play video games in moderation have significantly less depressed mood and higher self-esteem (compared to those who don’t play or who play excessively).

Another interesting finding was the fact that this improved sense of well-being was directly related, not to the type or genre of the games being played, but more to the concept of 'flow' within a game. Simply put games in which you experience this (I'm guessing in games like Guitar Hero or Tetris or even a game like Bayonetta) are more likely to give players that vibe of simply feeling 'good'.

The researchers are interested in applying this research to video game ratings. Instead of rating games according to violence, language or drug use, they suggest a system that rates the game according to its positive influence. Seems a bit out there considering what ratings are actually supposed to do — inform parents of content they don't want their children to see — but I think it could be an interesting additional rating to have. If we're going to inform parents of the negative aspects of games, why not get them informed on what's positive about the game they plan on buying.

You can read more on this research over at The Conversation.


    "playing video games is a healthy means of relaxation, stress reduction and socialising ..."

    They've obviously never played Dark Souls...

      Pretty good for emotional response control, though. I haven't broken a single monitor, or 360 controller!

    When you are doing good in the game, you are doing well in life! AMRITE?

    Actually flow is a psychological concept. Its when you are completely absorbed in something you are doing and time seems to pass quickly. You are at your most focused and will be enjoying and fully involved in what you are doing. supposed to be great for learning but not sure if this is what you meant by games like guitar hero etc but im sure they could work too :)

    Before video games kids use to just mindlessly stare at the TV. At least now theyre doing something mentally stimulating.

      Screaming into microphone headsets about my mother and sexuality?

        Generally speaking the ones who act in that manner have gone past the moderate levels and into the excessive levels. Not to mention from what I took away from this, it feels like it is talking about younger than teenage kids.

        I've got a 10 year old, and she's just starting to get more interested in serious games (i.e. not stuff on the Wii) so I'm building her a rig to play Rift with me. I feel it's great because she can work on her reading (which she struggles with) while we do something we both enjoy doing (spending an entire afternoon watching here for the thousandth time is not my idea of fun). Of course, there are other ways to work on reading and such, but if we can do it while playing games, means it is fun for her because she's playing while working on it, and fun for me, because I still get to game.

          I must post my obligatory Nintendo fanboy whine here: Wii has serious games.

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