What Are the Benefits of Playing Games?

Gaming can make you more social

Sitting behind the television for hours instead of meeting other people can never be good for social development, can it? On the contrary! A recent study that followed 900 children from ages 6 to 12 found that playing games is not associated with a reduction in social skills. A possible effect was only seen in ten-year-old girls, perhaps because slightly fewer women play online games.

But in general, playing games has no negative effect on your social skills. That is not surprising: when playing online games you are in regular contact with other players. In many competitive games you play in teams against each other and so you have to work together to beat the other team. Sometimes contact arises through real conversations with a headset and microphone, or for example through sent messages, but even without direct communication, in-game actions can be communicated. Just think of the different dances you can do in Fortnite.

Also in a collection of studies by Kennisnet that extensively examines the effects of games, it is stated that games can have a positive influence on people’s social characteristics. It is also said that the research is still in its infancy. But assuming that playing games will make you a lonely hermit is no longer of this time.

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Gaming is good for your (language) knowledge

Games are often packed with text. In any case, it must be read regularly while playing games. This does not only concern the Dutch text; many games are only playable in English and therefore contain a lot of written and spoken English dialogues and texts. Some games offer subtitles, so that players slowly but surely get better at the English language. Many children come into contact with various Dutch and English words through games. A sample of Elke Peters and Eva Puimège among 560 Flemish children confirms this: children know many English words, and that is partly due to English-language games and television series.

In fact; from the collection of Knowledge studies also show that educational games used in a learning environment can have a positive impact on students, specifically in language and mathematics subjects. It is emphasized, however, that in many cases the teacher still plays a more important role in gathering knowledge.

By the way, you do not only train the language skills with games. Some games offer a wide variety of knowledge that you can learn from. Consider, for example, the recently released games Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. While these games offer a free, virtual interpretation of Ancient Egypt and Greece respectively, they also include a so-called ‘Discovery’ mode where you get a virtual tour and learn all sorts of facts from history. Real-time strategy games like the Total War series give you strategic insights, the Civilization games present you with diplomatic dilemmas and managers like SimCity, Planet Coaster and Planet Zoo let you experiment with infrastructure and budgets.