Who Says Video Games Are Bad? Study Suggest Video Games Can Improve Mental Health

According to a new study by researchers at Oxford University, time spent playing video games can be good for mental health. Yup, you read that right folks! Finally, some good news.

Video game sales are going up this year since everyone is basically stuck at home due to the Covid-19 outbreak which is why this study was carried out.

The paper released on Monday is based on survey responses from individuals who played 2 games, Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and New Horizons: Animal Crossing.

In a first study, unlike previous research, the study used data provided by the game makers, Electronic Arts and Nintendo of America, on how much time the respondents spent playing, which relied on imprecise player estimates.

The Oxford Internet Institute’s researchers said they found that the actual amount of time spent playing was a small but significant positive factor in the well-being of people. The paper, which has not been peer-reviewed, said the level of enjoyment players receive from a game could be a more important factor than just playing time for their well-being.

Honestly, I’m really glad to hear that playing video games can help. But I also understand that the results could cast doubt on long-held assumptions that gaming causes aggression or addiction, though the authors acknowledge they are only a snapshot.

“Our findings show video games aren’t necessarily bad for your health; there are other psychological factors which have a significant effect on a persons’ well-being.

In fact, play can be an activity that relates positively to people’s mental health – and regulating video games could withhold those benefits from players,” said Andrew Przybylski, the institute’s director of research.

Some 2,756 Animal Crossing: New Horizons players were surveyed in the US, UK and Canada, along with 518 Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville players. They were asked to fill out a survey on their experiences that matched the game companies’ recorded playing time.

For scientists hoping to better understand player behaviours, the lack of transparency from game makers has long been a problem and the authors said previous research used to propose advice to parents and policy makers was done without a strong evidence base.

Comment what you think!