In a world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic where most people are forced to stay home here is a study that comes at the right time: the time we spend playing video games can be good for our well-being and therefore for our mental health! Despite the fact that they are maligned by some because of their addictive power and the fact that they are likely to lead to negative behavior, video games seem to enjoy a comeback.
While video games are often cited for their harmful effects on health, a new study by researchers at Oxford University revealed that they can have a positive effect on mental health over time. The results are timely, as many countries around the world have chosen to lockdown their populations in an attempt to limit the spread of Covid-19.
This is the first study of its kind that does not focus on self-reported game time, but on the actual game-time provided by two industry giants, Electronic Arts and Nintendo. The researchers analyzed the behavior of the players of two of the world’s most popular video games, “Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville” and “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”, and then asked 3,274 players to complete a survey.
Video games may bring wellness
Against all odds, scientists have discovered that video games are far from damaging to health. On the contrary, they have a positive influence on the mental health of players and are beneficial for their well-being. While spending time playing games was synonymous with well-being, it was more the experiences during the game that were associated with a positive effect on mental health. The researchers also found that the social connection that playing with others creates is also associated with well-being.
Our results show that video games are not necessarily bad for health; there are other psychological factors that have a significant effect on a person’s well-being,” says Professor Andrew Przybylski, lead author of the study. In fact, gaming can be an activity that has a positive effect on people’s mental health, and the regulation of video games can take those benefits away from players. »
However, there are significant differences between the players. Researchers indicate that those who really enjoy playing games tend to see their well-being increase; this is not the case for players who resort to video games to escape from a real-world that does not satisfy them.