When you let it, gaming can be about so much more than having fun with your friends and mates.
Not only can gaming help children and young people with diverse abilities and backgrounds. Gaming also helps older adults with reduced physical and cognitive functions.
Video Gaming and Cognitive Function
It is easy to overlook the benefits of gaming. Most parents encourage their children to reduce their screen time.
Many adults feel guilty when they play video games. They are often overwhelmed by a feeling they should be doing something more “constructive” instead.
We must stop seeing gaming as something negative. There is a link between gaming and cognitive function. Fast action games such as League of Legends help to improve the speed the brain processes data. Scientists call this attention-processing.
Other games including Minecraft can help to boost our social skills. Gaming with others online or in the “real world” also supports work and study skills.
Gaming helps to form new pathways in the brain. This is an essential part of cognitive function.
Personal Independence Skills
People with diverse abilities and backgrounds have an equally diverse range of needs. CRANK has programs and coaching that specifically builds skill and capacity for NDIS recipients.
Developing skill sets that allow you to live a more independent life is important when you are faced with physical and mental challenges. When you develop independence skills, you learn how to think more freely. Eventually, this helps an individual process information better and make decisions for themselves.
In the long term, this has many benefits for society. This person will function better and perhaps even go on to live independently in society. This is perfect for school leavers having trouble with social disconnection. The SLES (School Leaver Employment Supports) coaching program offered by CRANK helps people overcome confusion and anxiety, learn new skills and make life long friends,
We must not overlook the physical benefits of gaming. It is easy to forget that we are holistic beings – mind and body functions are clearly linked. Physical impairments often improve when we increase our mental well-being.
Focusing away from physical problems such as reduced movement and reaction may even allow us to overcome them. More research is needed when it comes to using gaming as a therapeutic tool. However, individuals who emerge themselves in gaming may suddenly find themselves using physical abilities they did not previously display.
Work and Study Skills
Can gaming improve work and study skills? Until recently, the jury was out on this matter. But the more we find out about what motivates us to improve our work and study skills, the more apparent it becomes gaming has a role to play.
Two factors seem to be at play. It appears that gaming awakens academic interest. Just like famous movie franchises such as Star Wars and Jurassic Park spawned scientists, it seems that popular video games have led to an increased interest in academic subjects ranging from history to science.
Also, when you play video games, you need to pay attention. Paying attention to details is an important part of the study process.
Attention to detail also plays a role when it comes to work. When you work, you often need listening skills. The likelihood is that you work with information and must pass it on. These are skills that you can learn when gaming. You are not going to win a game unless you pay attention.
It has also been noted that gaming supports better memory function. According to one recent study cited in Medical News Today, individuals of all ages who play games regularly have better working memory.
Learning and memory processes in the brain go hand in hand. One can’t really work without the other. As we all know, work and study skills are derived from both learning and memory.
Looking at this from a scientific aspect, it is thought gaming increases the size of the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain responsible for memory and the learning process.
Imagination and Gaming
Throughout history, we have learned that imagination is a vital part of the learning process.
Einstein famously made the statement “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
When we look at science and research, nothing is truer. If it was not for our imagination, we probably would not achieve the technological advances we see today.
This is one of the reasons we know that imagination is an important part of the learning process. Gaming helps to stimulate our imagination and the way we interact with this important mental function.
Social Skills and Gaming
Often people with diverse abilities and backgrounds experience finding an outlet for their social needs challenging.
This is true for individuals with physical and mental challenges. The gaming community helps them to reach out and get in touch with others. When you play games online, there is no need to share your physical or mental status. Gaming is an immersive experience without boundaries for most of us.
Connecting with other individuals who have the same or similar interests can help to boost confidence and social skills. Before you know it, you are emailing each other or chatting online.
Isolation and Gaming
Isolation is a problem not only for individuals with variable abilities and functions. It is also a problem for the global population.
Since the Covid pandemic, an increasing number of individuals talk about an increased sense of isolation and loneliness. Loneliness and isolation can often lead to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Gaming is an excellent way of connecting with others. It offers isolated individuals increased opportunities to experience the world around them and explore the world further afield.
Most gamers find themselves with friends not only from different walks of life but also with an increased circle of friends from other parts of the world.
Playing video games online or meeting up with others in real life increases someone’s chances to interact, communicate and take part in activities. This leads to better social skills and mental stimulation.
When you look at game-playing skills, it quickly becomes clear they offer us so much more than a leisure activity or a favourite way to pass the time.
Gaming helps us to increase our independence and work and study skills. When you add social skills to that list, you soon appreciate there is more to gaming than virtual reality.