I was born in the 80s and I don’t really remember a time when there were not video game consoles available for the home. I have, however, seen how far they have come over my lifetime and the advancements are incredibly impressive. As times went on and technology became more and more advanced, the video game industry exploded along with the home computing sector, too. Kids (and adults) now had all-time access to their favorite video games. As game became more complex, time-consuming and addictive, our country worried if we were facing a problem.
Some people were concerned that young people spent too much time playing video games and not enough time outside enjoying fresh air. They worried that video games would increase violence and obesity. This was something new; something we didn’t really understand and something that quite simply had not been around long enough for us as a society to judge the long-term affects it would have.
Fast forward to today’s time and we see video games being used in a whole new way. They are not just kids’ play and in addition to that, we see many new ways that the video game industry is making their games interactive and encouraging people to move. Motion gaming now offers solutions for the gamer to get up and get moving!
Many games require the full body to be used and this means that the days of people sitting in front of the television with a controller in their hand are just about over. With some gaming systems, there are infrared lights that map the body so the player is actually in the game. With others, the controller can be swung and acts as the camera making the player move around to play. All major consoles- the Nintendo Wii, the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 have motion gaming options today.
There have been studies that show that even before the video games started using full body motion technology, video games are not as bad as was reported. Now this is not to say that not getting enough exercise is good for children, but for those with psychological issues or those who needed physical therapy, video games can actually be a benefit.
Doctorsloung.com says, “Overall, however, video games were shown to improve outcomes associated with psychological therapy, physical therapy, physical activity, clinician skills, health education, pain distraction, and disease self-management.” Not only were there benefits for physical therapy, but also for other health issues that many face in everyday life.
The American Journal of Preventative Medicine posted the full study which concluded, “There is potential promise for video games to improve health outcomes, particularly in the areas of psychological therapy and physical therapy. RCTs with appropriate rigor will help build evidence in this emerging area.” It is interesting to know that there are so many health benefits for those who play video games and that they can actually be utilized in therapeutic situations with great success.
Long gone are the days when staying at home and playing video games meant sitting down, eating snacks and looking forward to carpal tunnel syndrome. Today, with the diversity of video games and the consoles that are played, the games are more interactive and many times do not even need controllers to play them. The therapeutic use of video games is also becoming common sight and the studies that have been conducted prove that there is something to be said for simply having fun and playing a video game.
While one can be addicted to games, just as you could be addicted to anything, there are many benefits to them as well. We are also seeing video games being used as learning aids, training tools and more. Love them or hate them, they are the future and many studies are showing they’re not really as bad as some people might think.