Video games have received lots of criticism over the years, being blamed for violent crimes, poor academic performance, and medical conditions such as (ADHD). With the media coverage, you might think that they are the reason for a lot of problems today. While there are a lot of negatives, recent research is demonstrating there are also some positives. When used correctly, video games can actually be beneficial.

Improved reading in dyslexic children

A study conducted in 2013 investigated the impact of video game play in dyslexic children. The study participants played twelve hours of action-based video games over an extended period of time. The results were extremely promising being at least as effective as the other more traditional treatments for dyslexia. The group that played the games experienced higher levels of accuracy and a longer attention span when reading. The research team said that, ‘the Dyslexic children learned to orient and focus their attention more efficiently to extract the relevant information of a written word more rapidly." Video games might even work as a prevention for dyslexia in the future.

Improved hand-eye co-ordination

Video games revolve around movements of the hand based on what you see on the screen and most of these movements have to be very fast with a limited time frame – reaction times have to be quick. Playing video games regularly may improve your reaction time and possibly make you better at some sports;  a study conducted at Toronto University in 2014 showed that people who regularly played video games could learn to do sensorimotor skills (skills that require a new pattern of co-ordination such as riding a bike or touch-tying) much faster and much more efficiently than non-gamers.

Improved memory

A study at the University of California found that people that played complex 3D video games, performed better in memory games and could recall information better than people who didn’t play video games at all. Interestingly, the study showed that playing simple 2D games had no beneficial effect, the improvements were only seen in the 3D game used, Mario 3D World, where a 12% memory increase was seen. As games and virtual environments are becoming more and more sophisticated, it seems likely that further improvements in cognitive ability could be achieved.

So, while there are still negative aspects to playing video games, such as obesity or video game addiction, new studies are showing that video games improving your cognitive ability and how fast you learn new skills. As video games become more visually stimulating over time, the benefits of the games will increase.