Video games provide powerful benefits, especially during distanced learning


Photo used with permission from Google Commons

This boy is engrossed in an online video game, which provides powerful benefits.

Video games are a hobby just like sports, reading and the arts. Video games are not just mind-dulling point-and-click activities that waste time, but rather opportunities to build coordination, improve lateral thinking skills, boost creativity, develop strategies and have a good time with or without friends.

Unfortunately, parties including parents, relatives and others who oppose video game use cite studies that show light emission from screens can cause eye strain, a temporary problem according to eye care retail chain Specsaver in an FAQ on their website. These parties also cite that task management becomes a problem when time is spent playing games instead of completing homework or chores due to the purposely engaging nature of video game content.

During the Coronavirus, the ways a student can connect with their friends are limited. Those few opportunities consist of times during school hours when they see fellow students in class, as well as outside of class on their own time. The opportunities in online class do not always provide the best medium for casual conversation, however. For those few hours that are free throughout the day not drudging through homework, a student should have the ability to converse with their friends in voice chats and play video games, Streaming websites like Youtube and Twitch, voice chat platforms like Discord, and in-game chat options can lead someone to find countless servers, videos, or communities from any particular gaming niche they enjoy. 

Our school’s community, in unaffiliated groups, has created multiple Discord servers that allow friends to spend time together before or after school and during lunch where members study or play games together. Being able to have time to play a round of Among Us, build a house in Minecraft, partake in a Rocket League match or play doubles Bughouse in online chess allows for relaxation and interaction with friends.

The most common friendship turning point is participating in a joint activity.”

— Jeffery Hall

In the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Jeffery Hall discusses the progression of friendship in his study “How many hours does it take to make a friend?” When discussing how much time friends need to spend together, Hall illustrates the importance of having fun together and enjoying each other’s company, which Hall’s claims is an “essential, yet understudied [component] of friendship. The most common friendship turning point is participating in a joint activity,” Hall said.

Joint activities (like a game of four player-chess) help bring people together through casual conversation. From friends down the street to people around the world, there are connections that can be made through video games. A person who can share in your joys when you beat a level can help a person unwind after a stressful day.  If you want to stay in touch with your friends, gaming is an excellent way to so while remaining distanced. Send them a message, call them to alleviate your own boredom or let them know you’d like to talk.