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Another Look at the Gaming Addiction Debate: Gaming for Wellness

By January 10, 2019 Uncategorized

There’s currently great debate about teens spending too much time playing video games. Some would say that gaming is indeed an addiction, and there is currently a rehabilitation and recovery center in Europe that reportedly treats gaming and tech addiction.


But others have strongly debated whether too much gaming is a serious addiction, and many have taken great pains to point out the positive effects of gaming in young and old people. In fact, there’s a new breed of video games that could be very helpful for teen mental health that are destroying the cliché that video games are harmful.


Gaming As Therapy


While too much gaming, or too much of anything, can be a bad thing, hours and hours of game playing has many good benefits for people that often gets overlooked. With video games being hot sellers during the holidays, once again the debate against violence in video games has reared its head, but as the Hollywood Reporter reports, “video games as therapy often goes unnoticed.”


As The Reporter points out, there have been games that eschew violence, but they don’t get the attention that titles like Call of Duty and Red Dead get. When you control a character’s destiny in a video game, you can feel more in control of your life, and it can indeed have therapeutic benefits, much like doctors who use virtual reality to help people deal with PTSD and other mental health issues.


The Reporter writes, “one such paper, published in Molecular Psychiatry last year, found that patients examined that more than half of patients examined who were suffering from post-traumatic stress experienced far fewer intrusive thoughts while playing the non-violent game Tetris than those who did not play the game.”


Not to mention that seniors citizens have found great therapeutic value from video games because they keep your mind sharp, and can improve eye / hand coordination and motor skills.


Some people find great therapeutic value in the ocean, and one game Abzu, lets the player go into a simulated ocean world. It doesn’t have you blasting away at aliens, but it gives you an appreciation of the beauty of nature. Abzu is indeed a remarkably wonderful immersive experience, and other games like Flower, Jourey and Rime can also invoke good feelings in people, like meditation or listening to relaxing music.


A New Kind of Gaming


Granted, trying to pitch a non-violent video game wasn’t easy for the creators of Abzu, and one gaming executive recommended putting a spear gun in the game, but if enough titles catch on, maybe non-violent and therapeutic video games can be the hot new trend.


Violent gaming is often a scapegoat for mental health problems and violence in the world, but many forget that gaming has evolved over the years, and it incorporates a greater sense of intelligence than the days of Pac Man. Some will always argue that video games can be harmful, especially to young people, but it’s far better for teens and young adults to get out their aggressions and perform a variation of mediation through gaming than to act out violently in the real world.