Gaming has had a bad rep over the years. Video games have always been seen as time-wasters, distractions and toys. However, gamers have proven that video games are not the mind-rotting creations they’re made out to be. In light of several social and health benefits from gaming, society is only now appreciating the potential of gaming. Here are five such benefits that may surprise you.

1) Building cognitive skills

If you’ve ever played a video game, then you know it involves spotting, tracking and interacting with small blocks of pixels on the screen. There is a lot of problem solving and precision that goes into playing. Over time, this enhances the player’s attention to detail, vision, memory and reasoning. Researchers have found that gaming helps children with dyslexia learn to focus, observe, and even read.

2) Improving mental and emotional wellness

As much as it’s entertaining, gaming is also a form of escape from stress, addiction and unhealthy habits. Studies show that playing games, especially over VR, relieves anxiety, depression and even physical pain caused by chronic illness, trauma and physical therapy.

3) Social growth

It’s wrongly been assumed for a long time that gamers are anti-social – that could not be further from the truth. Massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) have given rise to social gaming where players from all over the globe collaborate and solve problems together. Multi-player experiences build strong social connections. In fact, gaming has been found to help individuals with autism socialise with their peers.

4) Improving decision making

Some modern games feature complex storylines whose path depends on the player’s choices. Even simple games like Tetris and fast-paced action games require players to make split-second decisions that have a profound effect on the outcome. This improves the player’s ability to make quick and accurate judgements in the real world.

5) Learning

Games can make you smarter besides improving your cognitive abilities. Educators use gaming platforms to create exciting and engaging learning tools. Developers are also using games to raise awareness about global issues such as poor governance, environmental conservation, gender inequality, and insecurity, just to mention a few. The interesting thing is, games can actually call people to action against some of these concerns.

The benefits of gaming go beyond entertainment. Join Virtue Gaming and become part of a community that is really making a difference through gaming by addressing environmental issues.