Computer Gaming

British students are currently struggling to cope with loneliness, as a survey has revealed that one in six students say that they have no real friends among their peers. Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused young people to grow increasingly isolated as global lockdowns have been put in place to enforce social distancing rules. Social isolation can cause a host of health issues that include chronic stress, anxiety, and depression, and it may even increase the risks of developing cardiac disease. Taking some time to de-stress and communicating with loved ones can help young adults to cope, but studies have shown that playing video games can also help one to overcome negative emotions brought about by isolation. When done in moderation, playing video games not only enhances one’s real-life skills but it may also contribute to improved mental health and happiness.  

Gaming for stress relief

The Covid-19 health crisis has increased stress levels to escalate among the young and old in the UK. British students are a lot more worried than they’ve ever been before as being anxious over their health, their family’s wellbeing, and their financial security during the pandemic has caused unwanted stress. Chronic stress can be managed by engaging in activities that promote mindfulness, such as drawing, yoga, and meditation, but playing video games can also help fight stress during uncertain times. Some people spend time on their gaming console for the feeling of achievement that they get from playing, but research has shown that playing cooperative or competitive video games can reduce stress and fatigue. To maximise the soothing effects of gaming, students should try playing non-violent games such as Animal Crossing or Pokemon X, or exploration games such as Abzu or Sayonara Wildheart.

Video games to stay connected with loved ones

Being in lockdown can isolate students from their family and friends, but gaming can help them to stay in touch with loved ones and even build new friendships. Online games such as Lucent Heart, Planet Calypso, and Clash of Clans enable players to talk with other gamers, so it’s a good way to spend some free time while catching up with friends. One can even communicate with strangers and make new friends, but if students would rather play with people they already know, they can always play games wherein they can create private chat rooms, such as Fortnite or Second Life. 

Which games should be avoided?

There is no denying that gaming can be addictive, and the wrong type of games may even trigger bad experiences or negative behaviour among players. That being said, students should avoid games where one has to invest a lot of time to play, as well as games that require too many in-app purchases to continue playing. One should also be wary of overly violent games or games with graphic content as playing these video games on a regular basis may increase aggressive thinking and behaviour.

Video games can be useful tools to fight off isolation and stress. Everything's better when done in moderation, so students should spend no more than two hours a day gaming to have enough time for their daily routine, social life, and some time spent outdoors for their health and overall wellbeing. 

Chrissy Hatfield

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