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Online Gaming Benefits and Risks

One of the benefits of having internet is the ability to play games online. The fusion of social networking and gaming has made online gaming the new craze and it has grabbed the attention of people of all ages. Although some people argue that online gaming is addictive and it leads to under productivity, research has shown that online gaming actually improves brain performance and increases a person's effectiveness when it comes to decision making and multitasking. It is like going on a ride where you get to talk to different people from different backgrounds and more importantly, it is a way to stay connected to your friends and long distance relatives.

Different universities all over the world have conducted large scale studies to determine the effects of online gaming. A lot of people feel that a person tends to lose himself in the world created by the gaming industry, but research has shown that experienced online gamers have the ability to pay attention to more than six things at once without getting confused. Online gaming also helps with creativity as a study conducted on four hundred and ninety one middle school students of Michigan revealed that the students who played online games scored more on their standardized test of creativity, whereas the use of computer, cell phones and internet for purposes other than gaming didn't show any effect on creativity. This proves that it is the specific properties of gaming that makes all the difference. Online gaming is advantageous not only for children but for people of all ages. Research has shown that people who play action based games are able to make a decision twenty five times faster than others and they also have improved hand eye coordination. The experienced online gamers also have an improved night driving ability and can act on a decision four times faster than other people. Online gaming is helpful for the elderly as well, as a person who continues to learn and stimulate his brain has less chance of developing memory problems and other disorders related to the brain. There are different methods of simulating a brain and keeping it healthy and sharp, but video games are without a doubt the easiest and the most effective method in this regard.

As there are so many online games available nowadays, a person should play something new and different everyday to give his brain a new challenge every now and then. Puzzles, matching games and trivia are very helpful in this regard as they require concentration and deep thought therefore they can help keep the brain sharp and healthy. The online games that are available today are equipped with an additional social element. The online games through Facebook and other social networking websites enable the players to not only help each other reach new levels but also help them in attaining new skills. These games have an ability to mimic real life interactions and as a result many online gamers get the feeling that they are part of an extended family. They make new friends and develop a close relationship with the gamers they play with daily. Meeting new people from different parts of the world, playing with them and interacting with them makes the online gaming experience even more special. There are parents who complain that online gaming makes their children unhealthy and that they shouldn't waste their time on such games, but many parents encourage their kids to indulge in online gaming as they would rather have their children take up online gaming than to go out on the streets. There is a proper time and place for all activities, so if parents can find the required balance when it comes to their children playing these games then it can be fun and healthy for their children. Since every activity has both positive and negative contributing factors, in order to maintain a balance one needs to make certain compromises. Some parents complain that the games played by their children are too violent and can have a negative impact on their child's development. Such parents can start monitoring the kind of games their children are playing and should prefer those which are educational and can actually teach them something. Parents should also sit down and play with their children because that way not only would they bond with their children but can also get more involved with the type of games their children play. Another thing parents should do is set a time limit. Video games are something that children can't get enough of, so it is very easy for them to get addicted. Children require boundaries and limits so parents need to allot them time each day at which they can indulge in gaming. When a child knows that he can only play games at this specific time, then he will come up with other things to do in his spare time. Parents can also use gaming as a reward for good behavior and completion of tasks and different household chores. This way children learn that entertainment and recreation are privileges that they have to attain by sheer hard work.

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A demonstration of an online game.

Gaming Benefits

When someone reads that online gaming is a good exercise for the brain and can help improve creativity, decision making, as well as perception, they normally don't believe it as they are unaware of the reasons. So what is it that makes online gaming helpful with all of these? The answer to this question lies simply in the stress and reward process that the brain goes through. An individual has to concentrate for a long period of time when he enjoys the excitement and the action taking place in the game. This leads to a surge of neurotransmitters such as dopamine that strengthens the neural circuits of the brain, just like exercise strengthens the muscle and the body. An extended session of game play is like a lengthy session in the gym for the mind and it helps in the psychological development of the brain tissues. It does not matter what kind of game a person plays online, as research has shown that action games, puzzles and strategy based games all have the same benefits. The games that are more violent also have the same effects on a human brain as the games that are less violent or have a less aggressive theme. But everyone has his own taste, so the more a game relates to a person, the more exciting he finds it, and the more he will get absorbed and involved in the game and the more benefits he will attain. So it doesn't matter if you play a racing game, a strategy based game or a puzzle, as long as you get involved and engaged, you will attain the necessary benefits. So parents shouldn't worry much even if their children are playing violent games or action games as the positive developments are still taking place in their mind regardless of the nature or theme of the game. The more they find a game exciting the better it would be for them. The research done in this regard is reliable as it is not funded by the gaming industry but the studies are done mostly by universities and colleges where the test subjects are children as well as adults.

The reason why online gaming is so popular nowadays is entertainment. Even before the introduction of online gaming people used to play other games for the sole purpose of entertainment. After a hectic day and a busy schedule throughout the week, one just wants to relax and be entertained and this is where online gaming comes in. Earlier, it used to be a popular belief that those who indulge in gaming become anti social. As people tend to get so involved that they would be locked in their rooms and would play the game until they've finished it but online gaming makes a person social as by engaging in these entertaining online games that are accessible world wide, a person becomes able to interact with different people from different regions, societies and places. There are instances of people finding a new best friend or couples getting together through these online games. As a person socializes with others through these online games, he gets to learn about different cultures, beliefs and norms of different people around the world. Therefore in addition to being entertaining the online games are also informative and educative. One of the best things about online gaming is that it is mostly free. Although some of the content providers may charge at times but even those charges are very less if we compare them to the cost of purchasing an actual game from a store. So online gaming provides a sigh of relief to those who couldn't afford the DVDs and expensive consoles like Xbox and PlayStation. With the passage of time, access to these games has become easier, and today these online games are readily available and all a person has to do to access them is to log in to his social media account. There are some websites that allow the users to create their own games and post them freely, so access to online games has never been easier. With the increase in crimes, drug abuse and immorality in the society, online games offer a helping hand as they provide an access to healthy and harmless entertainment. Therefore one should really give these online games a try as they have much to offer.

Gaming Addiction

Like every coin has two sides, same is the case with every other aspect in our lives. Everything has advantages and disadvantages both. Playing games has been an integral part of every childhood. In the past, playing games only meant gathering in the backyard and playing football or picking an interesting board game and having a good time around a table. But internet has given a new meaning to the word playing, as it has not only given the people a wide range of games to choose from, but it has also introduced them to some dangers as well. The most common danger of online gaming is addiction. As the quantity of online games available over the internet is almost infinite, with most of the games created in a way that they provide a never ending experience, and every now and then are included with new quests and features. Therefore such games can make an individual feel the urge to play them without any breaks or intervals, and that is what we call addiction. Such an addicted person tends to lose interest in everything he used to like before. So an addicted online gamer doesn't watch or take part in sports and will constantly be feeling the urge to return to his computer or mobile device and resume the adventures of the game from where he left off previously. Too much time in front of a computer can also lead to an underdeveloped physical condition and such a person slowly begins losing his muscle mass. As a body uses and manages the energy very carefully therefore this loss of muscle mass is a biological reaction to the new routine of a person. The body would find it a waste of nutrients as the current muscle mass of the person would be needlessly more than it is suppose to be. That muscle weight would have been required if he was still playing football but now he would just be sitting in his chair all day long. This process is particularly harmful for the children as their muscles require proper stimulus in order for them to reach a fully grown state.

Ever since the early ages of mankind, socializing has been an important part of every human being's life. It is said that, man is a social animal as he has a need to have healthy conversations with other human beings and a need to be part of a community. But the urge to socialize and meeting with friends and taking part in outdoor activities reduces in an addicted person, because the only joy he tends to get is from his addiction and that is gaming. This can be even more harmful in the cases of children as they require socializing to develop important personality traits, and to learn how to talk and act around people. So if they indulge in too much gaming and become addicted then they won't pass through this experience and as a result they will lag behind as compared to other children of their ages and since they would be lacking different abilities, it will cause them problems in the future as well. An obsessed gamer also loses interest when it comes to health and hygiene. A normal person has a well balanced life that involves different activities like showering, shaving, laundering clothes etc, but an obsessed person doesn't pay attention to any of these activities and is therefore untidy, with a risk of falling ill. Students tend to fall behind in their studies as these addictive games eat up all of their valuable time and they are not able to concentrate on other activities since they get so absorbed in the virtual world because of their addiction. In addition to this, a person glued to his computer or mobile device all day is also exposed to various health problems. Shortening of eye sight, painful backs, and headaches are very common in addicted gamers. Some of these games require in-game purchases, so an addicted gamer cannot stop himself from depositing money and making those purchases and as a result ends up losing a significant amount of his money. Addicted gamers are also subjected to unnecessary tension and are not able to keep up with things in their life. Such gamers can even become a victim of hypertension in the long run.

Conclusion

So to conclude, it is safe to say that online gaming is fun and healthy if it is done in the right amount as it does not cause any harm if a person is moderate and knows when to stop. In fact, it can relieve all the stress after a long day of work. Not only is online gaming a good way to pass the time but it can also help in educating us. But since over dosage of everything is harmful therefore a person should always try and be in control and play these games just for the sake of fun and entertainment. It is important to be aware of all the perks but it is equally important to be aware of all the disadvantages as well. Because it is only after we have complete knowledge that we can try and be moderate and not get addicted to it. Like eating, Gaming too needs to be done in moderation and it is best to indulge in gaming after all the other necessary tasks for the day have already been completed.

References

1. Living a Virtual Life: Social Dynamics of Online Gaming http://www.gamestudies.org/0401/kolo/

2. Video Game Addiction Symptoms, Causes and Effects http://www.psychguides.com/guides/video-game-addiction-symptoms-causes-and-effects/

3. Gaming and Childhood Development http://www.myvmc.com/lifestyles/gaming-and-childhood-development/

4. Online Gaming http://mediasmarts.ca/internet-mobile/online-gaming

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