If there’s anything that’s taking the world by storm, it’s video games. From “Fallout” and “Call of Duty” to “Life is Strange” and “The Last of Us”, there are a multitude of games that cross different genres, exploring all aspects of life, all whilst integrating innovative ways to interact with like-minded people from all corners of the globe. In this, gaming has become almost integral to how human culture has been shaped over the past decade.
Despite this, the benefits of gaming are widely overlooked. Much of this has to do with the negative reputation gaming receives online. Many media reports focus on how it exposes children and adolescents to mindless violence and increases the chances of catfishing or phishing online due to prolonged communication with strangers.
While this holds some truth, it ignores the other side of the coin: that is, how gaming can also be used to produce sensible, street-smart, and capable young adults — provided, of course, that it’s consumed in moderation. More than that, it can actually help produce better students and enhance their educational experience as a whole.
With that, here are some ways gaming can actually help you become a better student at school and university:
3 benefits of gaming for students
1. Gaming improves your cognitive abilities
One of the many benefits of gaming is how it stimulates the brain. This is precisely because of its interactive nature, which requires deep levels of focus and concentration.
Think about it. When you’re playing a game, you’ll be put in a myriad of different virtual scenarios. From here, you’ll have to follow instructions, consider your actions, and respond to the problems that arise on screen. Most of these require split-second decisions and problem-solving under a strict time frame.
This provides a host of benefits to your brain. Some of these include: enhanced visual processing, quick thinking and response, efficiency in neural processing, and increased creativity. On top of this, it improves your ability to recognise and remember objects and spaces around you, and how these interact with each other. This can be applicable to a variety of everyday scenarios, such as driving, finding your way around a city, and more.
Academically, gaming has been proven to improve metacognition. This essentially means that you’d be enhancing your ability to think about your own thinking — allowing you to learn about your own strengths and weaknesses, which can ultimately help boost your academic performance.
2. Gaming develops your social skills
It’s no secret that most people in the world play video games. It’s a phenomenon that’s bridged borders, age groups, and gender: in 2021, there was an estimated 3.24 billion gamers worldwide. In the US, 66% of teenagers are gamers, and 45% of all gamers are women.
While some games are played offline, most will allow you to interact with others online, regardless of where you live. Most games are specifically designed for this purpose. Oftentimes, you’ll be required to cooperate with other players, speaking with them through text or voice chat to strategise and solve problems that are presented to you.
This, in turn, can help improve your ability to work with other people — an essential life skill at university and beyond. For example, you’ll find some familiarity in the way you’d be required to interact with, coordinate, and manage group projects.
More than that, gaming has led to the formation of long-lasting friendships. For instance, a study found that video gaming is a key element in friendships among teenage boys.
3. Gaming improves your digital and literacy skills
In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to get by without reading and basic digital skills. Luckily, gaming provides ample opportunities to develop both.
Here, the benefits of gaming can help you adapt to other aspects of life more easily. In video games, for example, you’d need to become accustomed to a new, unfamiliar digital world — and you’d do this through learning intuitively. This can help you in real life, especially when adjusting to a new university campus or country.
More than that, gaming naturally encourages you to use technology for your benefit and through this, learn how to manoeuvre digital obstacles. Many students have gone on to pursue technology-related degrees because of this, with some even opting to specialise in gaming-related courses.