Is Gaming Good For Your Mental Health And Wellbeing | Video Games and Wellness | Unwanted Life

Is Gaming Good For Your Mental Health And Wellbeing?

There are a lot of good and bad qualities when it comes to gaming, often resulting in a fine line between the two for some people. But don’t go dismissing gaming just yet.

 

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The media often seems to focus on the supposed bad sides of gaming, and research into this is little different. Research often only focuses on the bad effects of playing video games, especially violent video games, which is likely causing a publication bias, even though the literature is often inconsistent (Jones, Scholes, Johnson, Katsikitis, and Carras, 2014). 

 

Both the media and researchers collapse all video gamers into a simplistic archetype, which allows for making sweeping generalizations of potentially deviant behaviours or consequences (addiction and aggression), but ignores the fact that different people choose to play video games for different reasons, with the same videogame having different meanings or
consequences for different players (Yee, 2006). This is what makes individual differences so important in mental health.

 

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The Good Bits Of Gaming

 

There are many positive effects of gaming and playing video games in general, with some of these benefits being clinical and educational (Grüsser, Thalemann, and Griffith, 2007).

 

A study by National Literacy Trust conducted on 4,626 young British people aged between 11-16, who filled in a survey through BounceTogether, found that 65% (2 in 3) said gaming helped them develop empathy by being able to imagine being someone else.

 

These same young people also said that gaming helped them deal with or escape stress and other difficult emotions, thus helping them with their wellbeing. Although it should be noted that avoiding difficult emotions isn’t a good practise in the long run, as this is how addictive behaviours can start.

 

Video games can also provide a way into reading and improving confidence in reading as well as encouraging creativity. Support for these findings comes from Granic, Lobel, and Engels (2014), who reported that gaming boosts learning, benefits a lot of cognitive skills (spatial skills, problem-solving, etc.) and helps to manage moods or enhance them.

 

The social nature of online gaming also provides gamers with opportunities to develop and maintain positive relationships (Jones, Scholes, Johnson, Katsikitis, and Carras, 2014). So for example, in a lot of video games, you can play in teams or join guilds which allows you to develop friendships through helping and supporting each other because you want your team and guildmates to do well so you also do well. Support for this comes from Jones, Scholes, Johnson, Katsikitis, and Carras (2014), who stated that positive gaming relationships are associated with social and emotional support.

 

Yee (2006) conducted a study which collected data from 3,000 MMORPG players through various surveys which targeted players from games like EverQuest, Dark Age of Camelot, Ultima Online, and Star Wars Galaxies. The analysis of the data showed that these gamers enjoyed socialising and helping other players, liked forming long term friendships with other players in the games, and got satisfaction from working in a team to achieve goals.

 

Is Gaming Good For Your Mental Health And Wellbeing? | Mental Health and Wellness | Unwanted Life

 

As you can probably imagine, if online gaming can help people connect with each other and form friendships, then people who feel lonely or lack social skills would also benefit. Online gaming can thus provide an alternative to uncomfortable everyday offline interactions (Lemmens, Valkenburg, and Peter, 2011). However, this is is very much a double-edged sword. It’s perfectly fine to make friends and socialise through online gaming, but it becomes a problem if that replaces other forms of socialising and friendships.

 

According to Jones, Scholes, Johnson, Katsikitis, and Carras (2014), playing with your real-life friends in games like WoW, allowed players to strengthen friendships and transfer positive gaming experiences into real life, reducing the risk of problematic gaming through developing an addiction and becoming more lonely and isolated.

 

Furthermore, a study by Williams et al. (2006) found that roughly 60% of the gamers they interviewed belonged to a social guild, which is a guild where the goals of the game are secondary to social interactions. What’s more, they found that these social interactions, especially in small guilds, were extensions of their real-world social bonds.

 

As gamers grow to number 1 billion people, a review of the literature suggests that gaming has the potential to improve life satisfaction and improve gamers mental wellbeing (Jones, Scholes, Johnson, Katsikitis, and Carras, 2014).

 

Gaming isn’t just a young person’s game, people of any age can enjoy and benefit from gaming. Over the last few years, so-called Gaming Grandma’s have been making the news, with one even making it into the Guinness World Records. The world record breaker, Hamako, says gaming rejuvenates her spirit, and during these times of coronavirus, having such an outlet of entertainment are more important than ever. If you want to check out this 90-year-olds gaming, you can do so by clicking here.

 

Why not also check out Shirley Curry, another one of these Gaming Grandma’s, who refers to her followers as ‘Grandkids’ over on her YouTube channel by clicking here.

 

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The Bad Bits Of Gaming

 

As already stated, there are studies that have focused on trying to find the bad bits of gaming, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist at all. So the following is a list of the bad bits of gaming.

 

Addiction

The benefits of playing videogames can quickly become a problem if you’re not careful. Gaming can require a lot of your time to play, and if you’re trying to compete against other players online, that can eat up a lot of your time. I know that too well myself, but I’ve also struggled with mental health issues since I was at primary school.

 

A definition of gaming addiction comes from Weinstein (2010), whereby excessive gaming that interferes with everyday life is an addiction. Where gamers play compulsively which can cause isolation, and reduce other forms of social contact, with the gamers focus being on in-game achievements over real-world ones and events. You might have noticed that I touched up this in ‘Hikikomori: Social Anxiety Or Modern-Day Hermits?‘.

 

Many of the potential problems with gaming are associated with excessive amounts of time playing and existing lower psychosocial wellbeing (Jones, Scholes, Johnson, Katsikitis, and Carras, 2014). People with low psychosocial wellbeing and mental wellbeing in general, are at a higher risk of developing an addiction to gaming in order to fill a void.

 

Which came first, the chicken or the egg (it’s the egg by the way)? Is gaming the cause or the consequences of poor wellbeing? This question about gaming has often been overlooked in research with gaming addiction. However, Lemmens, Valkenburg, and Peter (2011) sort to address this oversight, conducting a study on 851 Dutch adolescents of which 543 were gamers. Two main findings were found which could lead to gaming addiction. Those suffering from loneliness, have low self-esteem, and lack social confidence, were predicted characteristic that could lead to gaming addiction six months later. The other finding was that loneliness is both a cause and consequence of gaming addiction. Thus, the results of this study found that low psychosocial wellbeing preceded gaming addiction six months later, which then caused real-world relationships to deteriorate, increasing the feelings of loneliness.

 

It’s so easy to go from a healthy amount of playing video games to grinding a video game like it’s a full-time job. If you earn enough money you may be able to get away with spending money to get ahead, rather than having to grind, but if you’re poor like I am, you can end up having to grind 12+ hours a day, every day, to complete with people who are willing to spend money to get ahead.

 

Wes, writing for YoungMinds, found that out for himself. Even though gaming helped him with his mental health, providing an escape from the stresses of being a student, he also found that this coping mechanism got out of hand. Which can so easily be done. Luckily, Wes got his gaming habit under control.

 

A questionnaire study conducted by von der Heiden, Braun, Müller, and Egloff (2019) on 2,734 participants, 2,377 male and 357 female (which unfortunately is very male-centric), sort to find relations between personality and psychological health and gaming habits. Their results found a moderately sized relation with possible problematic gaming and low psychological functioning (maladaptive coping, low self-esteem, preference for being alone, etc). Thus, this supports the findings of Lemmens, Valkenburg, and Peter (2011) and Jones, Scholes, Johnson, Katsikitis, and Carras (2014).

 

Further support for this comes from a big questionnaire study by Grüsser, Thalemann, and Griffiths (2007) who sort to investigate gaming addiction and aggression among 7,069 participant gamers. The results found that 11.9% or 840 gamers met the criteria for gaming addiction, but only found weak evidence of a link between addiction and aggression.

 

Just to hammer the point home with gaming addiction, more support comes from Teng et al. (2020) who conducted a longitudinal study on 1,054 17-21-year-old university students who were only 41.2% male, which makes a nice change for gaming research. The results of this study showed that gaming addiction was a maladaptive response to poor psychosocial wellbeing, further supporting the above gaming addiction studies.

 

In short, if you’re psychologically unwell and have a void to fill, anything can become an addiction, even food through comfort eating, which I accidentally caused myself to develop. Be mindful of your gaming time and that you’re playing for the right reasons. If you’re unsure, try taking a break and see how it affects you.

 

Violence

As stated in Grüsser, Thalemann, and Griffiths (2007) study, there was only weak evidence of a connection between gaming addiction and violence. This is supported by Ferguson’s (2015) meta-analysis of video games and violence, finding that they have a minimal deleterious influence on children’s well-being. Ferguson also found that there is a problem with researchers’ degrees of freedom, citation, and publication bias (Jones, Scholes, Johnson, Katsikitis, and Carras, 2014) when studying gaming and violence. 

 

The Guardian reported on a study by the Royal Society Open Science, stating that a reanalysis of 21,000 young people from around the world, found that gaming doesn’t lead to violence or aggression.

 

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Violence has always existed, before some sections of society blamed it on gaming, they blamed it on cartoons, music, and comics. So-called moral panics where they don’t want to look at how society needs to change and instead fixate on a scapegoat.

 

Trolls

Although the toxic nature of trolls isn’t the games fault, it is still a very serious problem. Dealing with these members of the gaming community can be difficult. 

 

A definition for trolling comes from Golf-Papez and Veer (2017), who says it involves deliberate, deceptive, and mischievous attempts to provoke reactions from fellow gamers.

 

To further add to the definition of trolling, Komaç and Çağıltay (2019) provided a list of types of trolling behaviours, which are:

  • Spamming
  • Feeding
  • Faking/intentional fallacy
  • Misdirection
  • Inappropriate roleplaying
  • Griefing
  • Flaming
  • Trash-talking

 

According to Hilvert-Bruce and Neill (2020), men are more likely to experience certain types of online harassment like verbal abuse, whereas women experienced more severe forms such as stalking, sexual harassment, and sustained harassment. Unsurprisingly, Women also reported higher levels of emotional distress than men as a result of the types of abuse they suffer.

 

A disturbing, yet interesting, study by Hilvert-Bruce and Neill (2020) performed a survey on 1,646 gamers from across the world, found that gamers have a higher tolerance for online aggression, such as trolling. Which is sad to hear, because that probably means gamers are so used to trolls in games that they’ve accepted it as being something you have to put up with in order to play online.

 

Misogyny, racism, and homophobia, are all too common in gaming. The worst example of this kind of behaviour, which you might remember, was GamerGate, where an anti-women hate narrative became incredibly toxic. The amount of racist and homophobic comments you see during a game can be a real put off. Although I’ve rarely seen misogyny personal, I’m well aware it’s a huge problem.

 

According to Ferguson and Glasgow (2020), they proposed two camps to the unacceptable behaviour that arose during the GamerGate, and in gaming in general. The first being those who have these strong feelings about the particular issue at hand and true feelings of misogyny toward women in gaming. The second being made up of people trolling for the sake of trolling without caring about the issues. In short, the latter just doing it for the enjoyment of agitating someone. Both types, in this case, need to disappear.

 

McLean and Griffiths (2019) conducted a study that explored the female gamers experience, collecting data from 271 female gamers from online discussion forum posts.

 

Is Gaming Good For Your Mental Health And Wellbeing? | Mental Health and Wellness | Unwanted Life

 

Of the 271 female gamers, 18 said the misogyny had gotten so bad that they prefered to play alone, with the majority of female gamers saying they’d had experienced negative interactions while gaming. A total of 74 said they’d had endured harassment by male gamers, with 24 saying theirs was sexual harassment, 5 being stalked by males online, and 2 being stalked offline.

 

18 stated they played alone to protect themselves from the anxiety caused by pervious encounters of playing with others, even though they find the gameplay less enjoyable to do so.

 

75 of those 271 female gamers hide their identity and stay silent on mic chats, even recommending this as a strategy for female gamers to protect themselves.

 

These figures might not seem like a lot, but no one should feel like that when gaming. I know such behaviours put me off playing with other people, and don’t play voice chat game because of it. Let people enjoy gaming for what it is meant to be, a fun immersive experience for all.

 

Swatting and doxing

Swatting is where someone calls in a fake emergency that requires an armed police response. A 16-year-old Fortnite champ was Swatted during a live stream which could have resulted in them being killed in 2019. But sometimes the targets of swatting aren’t always that lucky. A 19-year-old had a fellow gamer’s home Swatted, which resulted in the death of that person. 

 

Doxing is where someone obtains private and confidential information about another person and shares it publically in order to abuse them. This may mean someone hacking you or tricking you into giving them the information they can use against you to ruin the life of that person.

 

Grooming

Much like social media and other online activity, children can be at risk of grooming. A 41-year-old man from the US attempted to groom children on Minecraft with cash, a mobile phone, and other gifts. For more information and support, you can visit Childline’s page on online grooming by clicking here.

 

Gambling (Loot crates)

Loot crates, or loot boxes as they’re sometimes known, have been in the news a lot over the last few years, but why is that? Well, the media and politicians have claimed that they’re a form of gambling, which can also be addictive. According to The Guardian, the House of Commons committee advised for Loot crates to be regulated as gambling and for children to be banned from being able to buy them.

 

CadenceLikesVGs, who spoke to The Verge said they spent $10,000 over several years buying loot crates. They eventually realised that they had a problem, but just think what you could have done with that money instead. 

 

I personally hate loot crates, ignoring the other issues with how they can drain money from your bank account, it can ruin the gameplay by turning every single online game into a pay to win game. I’ve quit playing a lot of games because of loot crates because it can be impossible to compete, and even if you’re willing to spend every waking moment playing the game to try and compete with the spenders, the playing field often still doesn’t level out. I avoid any game made by EA because of this issue. This is especially true if you’ve already spent £60 buying the game, no one should then be required to keep spending to get the most from the game.

 

Conclusion

The majority of the bad bits of gaming have little to do with the games themselves (accept loot crates) and more to do with the people that play them. The social aspect of online gaming can be both good and bad, but that has nothing to do with the game and everything to do with the players. So don’t blame the games for the terrible behaviours of some players.

 

Also, learn to moderate your gaming if you have mental health issues, and if you are suffering from isolation and loneliness, please reach out and get support in the real world. Gaming is meant to be fun and not a replacement for real life. There are a lot of support services out there, please do take advantage of them so you can live a better quality of life.

 

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My Experience With Gaming

 

I won’t talk too long about this as this article is already pretty long, so don’t worry. Gaming has been apart of my life pretty much from the getgo. I used it to not only cope with my life as a kid but also as a way to have friends. If I had the newest or the best game on the street, then my friends would come over to mine, otherwise, they’d go to hang out with other kids. 

 

Because my childhood did a number of me, it was pretty easy for me to develop issues around gaming. I’ve used gaming to escape from my life, which was a godsend in the world of shit I had to grow up in. I use to game so much that I would see images of the game during my non-gaming life and even dream about it.

 

However, as an adult, online gaming came with more significant issues. In order to compete with people who had money to burn to get ahead in online games, I had to grind to be competitive because I was too poor to spend money.

 

For years my life revolved around meeting my gaming requirements, which often meant getting up and gaming for 14 hours straight and then going to bed. It was so easy to fill the void inside me with gaming that it became it’s own full-time job of grinding mind dumbing tasks over and over again. I try to avoid those kinds of games now, as they’re not worth the time and I’m never willing to pay to get ahead – how’s that even fun?

 

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Using Gaming For Good

 

Nowadays you can make a living from gaming through having a gaming channel or live streaming on YouTube or Smashcast. However, you can also use your love of gaming to help a good cause. Charities such as Mind and Macmillan Cancer Support now do gaming fundraisers, and if you’re interested in helping out a good cause by doing a gaming stream then go check out how to do it by clicking here for Mind and here for Macmillan Cancer Support.

 

As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences gaming and its effect on your mental health in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up to my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications of new posts by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom left corner.

 

Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog then you can make a donation of any size below as well. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.

 

 

 

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References

 

Ferguson, C. J. (2015). Do Angry Birds Make for Angry Children? A Meta-Analysis of Video Game Influences on Children’s and Adolescents’ Aggression, Mental Health, Prosocial Behavior, and Academic Performance. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(5), 646–666. Retrieved from https://nature.berkeley.edu/garbelottoat/wp-content/uploads/Ferguson-2015a.pdf

Ferguson, C. J., & Glasgow, B. (2020). Who are GamerGate? A descriptive study of individuals involved in the GamerGate controversy. Psychology of Popular Media. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000280

Golf-Papez, M., & Veer, E. (2017). Don’t feed the trolling: rethinking how online trolling is being defined and combated. Journal of Marketing Management, 33(15/16), 1336–1354. Retrieve from https://doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2017.1383298

Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. M. E. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66–68. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/amp-a0034857.pdf 

Grüsser, S. M., Thalemann, R., & Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Excessive computer game playing: evidence for addiction and aggression?. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10(2), 290–292. Retrieved from http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15390/1/185698_3384%20Griffiths%20Publisher.pdf

von der Heiden, J. M., Braun, B., Müller, K. W. & Egloff, B. (2019). The Association Between Video Gaming and Psychological Functioning. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1731. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01731

Hilvert-Bruce, Z., & Neill, J. T. (2020). I’m just trolling: The role of normative beliefs in aggressive behaviour in online gaming. Computers in Human Behavior, 102, 303–311. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2019.09.003

Jones, C. M., Scholes, L., Johnson, D., Katsikitis, M., & Carras, M. C. (2014). Gaming well: links between videogames and flourishing mental health. Frontiers In Psychology, 5, 260. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00260

Komaç, G., & Çağıltay, K. (2019). An Overview of Trolling Behavior in Online Spaces and Gaming Context. In 2019 1st International Informatics and Software Engineering Conference (UBMYK). IEEE. 1-4. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kursat_Cagiltay/publication/338794341_An_Overview_of_Trolling_Behavior_in_Online_Spaces_and_Gaming_Context/links/5e56cb214585152ce8f26c5e/An-Overview-of-Trolling-Behavior-in-Online-Spaces-and-Gaming-Context.pdf

Lemmens, J. S., Valkenburg, P. M., & Peter, J. (2011). Psychosocial causes and consequences of pathological gaming. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(1), 144–152. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.07.015

McLean, L., & Griffiths, M. D. (2019). Female Gamers’ Experience of Online Harassment and Social Support in Online Gaming: A Qualitative Study. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 17(4), 970–994. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-018-9962-0

Teng, Z., Pontes, H. M., Nie, Q., Xiang, G., Griffiths, M. D., & Guo, C. (2020). Internet gaming disorder and psychosocial well-being: A longitudinal study of older-aged adolescents and emerging adults. Addictive Behaviors110. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106530

Williams, D., Ducheneaut, N., Xiong, L., Zhang, Y., Yee, N., & Nickell, E., (2006). From tree house to barracks: The social life of guilds in World of Warcraft. Games and Culture1(4), 338–361. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237721630_From_Tree_House_to_BarracksThe_Social_Life_of_Guilds_in_World_of_Warcraft

Weinstein, A. M. (2010). Computer and Video Game Addiction—A Comparison between Game Users and Non-Game Users. American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse, 36(5), 268–276. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/44670851_Computer_and_Video_Game_Addiction-A_Comparison_between_Game_Users_and_Non-Game_Users

Yee, N. (2006). Motivations for playing online games. Cyberpsychol. Behav. 9, 772–775. Retrieved from https://www.immagic.com/eLibrary/ARCHIVES/GENERAL/STANFORD/S060627Y.pdf

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85 thoughts on “Is Gaming Good For Your Mental Health And Wellbeing?

  1. Gaming is very important to me, as a way of getting out of my own headspace for a bit. I dont consider myself a gamer, I mostly play sports games. Now that you can get some good quality games on your phone I play more, as it’s so easily accessible.

  2. I personally don’t game but my fiance does and it really can help him unwind from a tough day at work. I get that he needs time to be on his own, in his element. I genuinely think that it helps his mental health – and then I can watch my own tv and have some time to myself!
    A really interesting, new balance to this subject!

    Rosie

  3. Great topic! I think that gaming has its benefits, such as motor skill enhancement but it’s when it consumes hours and hours of your day to the exclusion of relationships and necessities that it becomes a problem.

  4. This is so interesting! Gaming gets such a bad rap in the media but you really outlined so many benefits that I had never thought of before. I always saw gaming as a way to be social, but really liked your point that this is good as long as it doesn’t replace being social in other ways. There’s lots of great info here!

    • My partner has just started playing videogames for the first time. It gives us something fun we can now do together rather than just watching films and TV shows

  5. For me, gaming helps me just do something for entertainment but also take me away from my worries for a bit. I can definitely see how it can be negative if it overtakes your life or becomes an overriding influence. I think as long as people are aware of the signs and symptoms of gaming (or anything for that matter) that cross over into something problematic that’s a good start. This post is so good at explaining everything clearly and I’m sure will help people navigate gaming as a positive. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I definitely agree that the bad aspect of gaming has little to do with the game itself. Yes, there are some violent games that I would personally not allow kids under 18 to play but if someone suffers certain mental health issues, I think games can be good and bad in those cases. It really depends on the person. Great post, super interesting!

    xoxo Olivia | http://www.oliviaandbeauty.com

  7. I am not a big gamer by any means, I only engage with it on very rare occasions. That being said, I have found that the times that I do allow myself to enjoy it, gaming has been a great opportunity to ‘escape’ for me. It’s similar to being lost in a good book – you can leave whatever stress you’re currently carrying in your real life behind for a moment. That being said, I can see all the potential negatives involved with it as well. I think you said it best in the intro when you described it as a fine line.

  8. Very interesting article covering both the positive and negative aspects of gaming. I’ve never been into online games, but my husband enjoys a few. Is online Scrabble or poker considered gaming? Maybe not, lol.

  9. I think gaming in moderation is good for you. I’ve been a consistent gamer since the 80s when I save my $5/week allowance to buy an Atari 2600. Damn, that was a good day! What I see more these days are the people who play an insane number of hours every day, and don’t have much of a life offline. That can’t be good. I was deep into World of Warcrack about 10 years ago and got a little too immersed for a while. I wasn’t even having fun anymore, but just grinding to the next achievement. Then the next. And the next. And it never ended. I walked away and have taken a moderate approach to gaming ever since. Now for me it’s an hour here and there, and more on the weekends, and that’s about it. My game of choice for the last year or so has been World of Warships. Those ships go nice and slow, just the right speed for my old man reflexes. Paul

  10. The amount of work you’ve put into this writing is so commendable. I agree with gaming being a way for people with low self esteem to gain confidence and make friends. That’s a good aspect.

  11. I’m not much of a gamer but my fiancé is. He typically plays before bed because he says it helps him unwind and fall asleep quicker. I never understood it but I knew it was important to him. Thank you for providing insight into this topic!

  12. I think there is an advantage of gaming. I mean, like you said, the gaming industry is actually big. Also, it is a way of having fun and enjoying some time off. And I guess too much of something is not good so maybe spending too much time on gaming is bad. I believe, as long as you can control yourself, you are good.

    I really like this post. I think a few years back I had a different mentality and I would answer no to your question. But yeah now I believe that it is not a bad things. In fact, some gamers has a lot of potential.

  13. Great post and have insightful. There are positives to gaming and it was great to see an article on it. In my opinion it is all about balance. Being mindful of the usage and understanding the effects of it if it is overused. Gaming is a great tool to get away from reality for a bit and de-stressing. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Great balanced post highlighting loads of pros and cons of gaming. I think gaming allows a great opportunity for escapism. So many entrepreneurial opportunities too

  15. It’s good to see the divided perspectives around gaming and mental health. My concern lies with your point at the beginning – using games (and other forms of media for that matter) as escapism from the reality of one’s life (i.e. the difficulties and what they’re unhappy with). Since engaging with them form this perspective will only cause even more dissatisfaction, disempowerment and unhappiness. However, if someone is for the most part happy with who they are and are able to face the difficulties, the things they’re unhappy about with about their life head on (i.e. difficult thoughts and feelings and the actions they can take to change what they’re unhappy about) then I don’t see engaging with games as an issues.

  16. This is a really thorough breakdown of the good and bad parts of gaming, I’m impressed! When I was into gaming, it was really bad for my anxiety. I’d have crazy nightmares and it was just not good. But I think there are definitely people that can handle it! It just depends on the type of brain you have. Thanks for sharing!

  17. What an absolutely brilliant article, thank you! I’ve been gaming, in one form or another, for over 30 years (yes, I’m that old!). I love it as a form of entertainment, its as simple as that. I don’t understand that media’s obsession with trying to make out that gaming will turn you into some kind of crazed, violent lunatic (apart from the fact that it is click-bait and people will read/watch/listen to it). Do they really think that if somebody with the personality of Mother Teresa or Ghandi played video games it would magically transform them?

  18. The only games I like are matching games (Homescapes, for example), and I have always been pretty good about being intentional about how much I play. I have seen campaign games turn into addiction for my brother and it becomes unhealthy when the game is your life instead of the game being a part of your life.

    There are definitely two sides to the scale as well as an in-between, so thanks for sharing your perspective on this!

  19. Very interesting read! Especially, the positive impacts of gaming that are rarely talked about in mainstream media. I also liked the idea of using gaming for charity.

  20. Very interesting read. I love how you have gone into such details and covered this topic from so many angles. For me personally, I am an avid gamer as it really puts me in another world and gives me a well-deserved break from daily life. It is really relaxing.

    MagicandBliss | https://magicandbliss.com/

  21. My biggest gripe as a “gamer” is… Loot boxes or paying extra to have better players or cards etc

    Makes it an unfair playing field and can cause additional stress and anxiety to be better or spend more

  22. We find that gaming can be a great way to destress and wind down after a busy day. I think as you say it has positives and negatives – it is about being aware of this.

    Really it comes down to moderation like most things in life – some days it would be great to just sit down and explore a new game or buy loot boxes to progress faster but how will that impact on my overall life.

  23. Gaming online has been a part of my life on and off for as long as I can remember – at some points in my life it made up most of my social interactions, at others I would only hop on on occasionally. i have made some pretty amazing friends while gaming and some of those have translated into real life friendships over the years. Now a days I tend to game with my husband and my kids the most and it can be a fun way to bond and spend time together

  24. Gaming can definitely be a 50/50 thing, depending on the game you’re playing. If it’s something like Animal Crossing then it’s all good. If it’s a triggering game like Life Is Strange or The Last of Us, then people might really become affected by it! You just never know.

    • I hope people would be aware of there triggers and thus avoid games that would cause them problem

      By the way, you WordPress account links to a website that isn’t available

  25. Fantastic article. I’m a gamer myself and got a little too caught up in it once upon a time. It can start to affect your real life relationships and work. You are so right about the free to play grinding problem. I always play as a non-paying player and the comparison with paying players can get to be a little much. Having to sign in daily and do all the daily quests and events in order to compete also becomes too much of a time suck. I still play but I agree with some of the other commenters that moderation is key.

  26. I totally agree that a lot of the time it can be the people that play the game more than the game itself, there’s such so much toxicity you’re bound to find it somewhere online. I have only ever played simulation games like Animal Crossing or The Sims, but even they have addicting factors, so it was really interesting to read more about that aspect. Great post!

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

  27. I’m not really into gaming, but in this tech era, this is what we have now. We can be easily addicted to so many things but everything must be in moderation. I really appreciate the thorough research and bringing to light the positive sides of online gaming. I agree that it can improve certain skills, especially with strategic thinking. But as far as fostering relationships, nothing beats the real human connection.

    • Real human interaction is indeed important and can’t really be replaced, but you can enhance a real world relationships online through gaming. This Saturday just gone my partner and I had a Switch gaming and video chat session with another couple we know, which was fun, especially so during the pandemic

      • That’s cool. Yet after awhile, will you be interested in meeting them in person? I mean this goes not only in gaming, in other social sites and even at work when you only interact through email or video conference.

  28. Wow, what an amazingly thorough look into the world of gaming and its effects on mental health. I love the different research you’ve analysed. The study with female games was really interesting because, years ago at least, gaming was 99% a guy thing. It’s still got that stereotype now, but not so much. I used to game when I was younger but not really any more, and it did come with issues, be that sexual harassment or just getting verbally abused for being female. Then of course you’ve got the potential positives for giving people a much-needed distraction, reducing stress and so on. I’d personally go for all’s good in moderation. Great post!

    Caz xx

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