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It’s pretty accessible to find a game to play nowadays and we could even say that it’s games that sometimes find us!
Between generations, our perception of the impact that video games have on society has changed a lot and probably will continue to change in the future. It’s all a matter of “exposure”. Parents may consider video games as fun in the short term, but too much playing is harmful to their children’s mental sanity. In the opposite corner, we have their children who practically came into a world where video games were already in their boom of diffusion. As a result, young people now tend to view video games as not causing any serious harm. Games are fun, nice, an escape from the “real world”. But if you think about it, is this really a good thing?
This concept of “escape” from the real world can deeply affect the way people will behave in the future. If kids grow up with the idea that there is always an “escape” to any situation, then they will probably end up depressed constantly looking for a quick-fix out of it.
Not all games negatively affect a gamer’s mind. A recent study by Dr. John Grohol who is an expert on mental health and behaviour online says the game Pokémon Go has benefited many people who have trouble with mental health.
“#PokemonGO has honestly helped so much with my depression and anxiety I’m actually talking to people and being active I love this so much – Jenny Death”
“Srsly though, I haven’t felt this comfortable leaving the house in years. #PokemonGO is helping with my anxiety & depression & it’s amazing – Neil Tyson“
Different games, different categories and different ways to play affect individuals differently. There are games which help and hurt people, by changing the gamer’s behavior. Games with violent or provocative content such as GTA (Grand Theft Auto) and Online Casinos promote playing in an isolated and negative environment which can mentally and physically impact a gamer’s life.
Especially at an age where teenagers are easily influenced, these types of games can develop their ethical and social identities. So why are these games so popular? If we delve into the niche of gaming we can identify that there are three elements which make successful games.
Gaming companies target people by creating games centered around these characteristics. Almost every popular game in the market bank on these three things without considering their negative effects. The same way a drug can increase your adrenaline levels, so can a full workout. But we all know that taking a drug is easier than jumping on a treadmill. Gaming companies take the easy way out. Writing T&C’s and warnings, companies shift the blame to the gamer’s themselves. So think about what you are feeding your brains the next time you turn on that PS4.
Hopefully, with this new phenomenon of Pokémon Go and the positive waves it has created in the industry, more companies will be inclined to create socially responsible content for gamer’s. With the increase of mental health, isolation and bullying in society; we all need to make sure that our technology is used to help us and not ruin our lives.