Playing video games, including violent shooter games, may boost children’s learning, health and social skills, according to a review of research in American Psychologist.
The study comes out as debate continues among psychologists and other health professionals regarding the effects of violent media on youth. An APA task force is conducting a comprehensive review of research on violence in video games and interactive media and will release its findings later this year.mportant research has already been conducted for decades on the negative effects of gaming, including addiction, depression and aggression, and we are certainly not suggesting that this should be ignored,” says Isabela Granic, PhD, of Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands, lead author of the article. “However, to understand the impact of video games on children’s and adolescents’ development, a more balanced perspective is needed.”While one widely held view maintains that playing video games is intellectually lazy, such play actually may strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory and perception, according to several studies reviewed in the article. This is particularly true for shooter video games, which are often violent, the authors found. A 2013 meta-analysis found that playing shooter video games improved a player’s capacity to think about objects in three dimensions just as well as academic courses designed to enhance these same skills, according to the study.
“This has critical implications for education and career development, as previous research has established the power of spatial skills for achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Granic says.
This enhanced thinking was not found when playing other types of video games, such as puzzles or role-playing games