For a long time, gaming has not had good press. It was even accused of the worst evils to such an extent that the WHO classified the video game disorder as a disease in 2019, a change that will take place in 2022. The international institution then pointed to the risk of loss of control that could lead players ” to prioritize the game, to the point that it takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and through the continuation or increasing practice of the game despite harmful repercussions.”
The social aspect of video games is praised
Since then, one study after another has gone in a completely different direction. This is precisely the case with this work by researchers from the University of Limerick in Ireland. They believe that video games could be an ” accessible and non-stigmatizing alternative to mental health services.
The scientists acknowledge that excessive gaming can have negative effects on mental health, but the pleasure experienced while playing can also translate into well-being in the lives of the gamers. This was especially the case in the midst of the health crisis, when many of them did not have much opportunity to get out of their homes and meet people.
As reported by Gentside, the researchers also point out the positive aspects of this practice. For example, the stress relief that can be achieved through gaming by taking a step back from the events of the day.
Similarly, gamers can counter the effects of loneliness by exchanging on streaming platforms with other users, or by forging links on multiplayer games that often lead to real friendships.
Finally, video games allow for self-expression and confidence-building, which sometimes involves customizing a character, adopting a play style and other affirmations of preferences.
These findings are not so surprising after all and are in line with the results of previous studies. For example, a recent survey conducted by WePC in the United States found that most respondents played for a variety of mental health-related reasons during confinement.