Video games do not affect well-being or mental health, study finds

Video games do not affect well-being or mental health, study finds

A report published in the Royal Society Open Science confirmed that gaming for long hours is not as harmful as previously thought.

Video games are again at the center of the old and outdated debate on its effects on mental health. Since the massification of this form of entertainment, much information has echoed its “harmfulness” to people’s mental health and has even been stigmatized as generating violent behavior. However, a new study reveals the opposite.

A report recently published in the The Royal Society Open Science has confirmed that playing video games for long hours not as bad as thought.

The research studied tens of thousands of players; precisely, to 38,935. With this amount, they were able to obtain reliable results regarding the human behavior after long exposure to video games.

In fact, the study surprises with its findings: a long session of video games have no measurable impact in the well-being —or the discomfort— of people.

Of course, this does not mean that you can overdo your gaming sessions. This same study explains that, to see a significant impact on well-being, we play more than ten hours a day, every day. So this time frame marks a sort of baseline where the excess begins.

People who gambled because they felt like it showed greater well-being. Photo: Rolando Andrade Stracuzzi.

Although multiple daily play sessions didn’t have a serious impact on well-being, there was something that did. The Royal Society Open Science has pointed out that it influences the motivation behind the game. For example, people who gambled because they wanted to gamble showed greater satisfaction to those who did it for an obligation.

How the video games and mental health study went

The research team collected information from nearly 39,000 people, spread across titles of various genres. It was decided to evaluate the model followed by the players of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Apex Legends, Eve Online, Gran Turismo Sport, The Crew 2 and Forza Horizon 4.

Also, as a main method, researchers did not use data directly from the sample population. Instead, they received information from the companies responsible for these games, although this was also supplemented by three participant surveys.

In this way, the specialists were able to obtain information without player bias regarding their entertainment routines. As part of the study, they were asked if they felt happy or scared at any point in the game.

Reconciliation with video games

Playing video games for long hours does not harm mental health.

Playing video games for long hours does not harm mental health.

Based on the results presented, the researchers hope to be able to change the popular conception of video games to parents, representatives and institutions with this means of entertainment. After all, Video games are one of the most effective methods of entertainmentand has demonstrated positive effects on decision-making and helping you find a vocation.

However, those responsible for carrying out the study do not consider the mission complete. There are still many other video games to analyze, as the case of shooters, and it is that the behavior of the players has only been examined in a handful of them.

They even say that there are people who could be more or less likely to change on their well-being, depending on certain characteristics. Of course, it seems that so far studies around video games have given quite positive results, far removed from the crisis of the 90s that made every parent believe that this activity was something almost diabolical.


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