Research suggests possible cognitive benefits to video games

A U.S. report on video gaming states that Americans spent more than $12.25 billion on video games from July to September. As gaming becomes fully immersed in American culture, a recent study conducted by the Jama Network shows video games can help teens learn cognitive skills, multi-tasking and problem-solving.

If your parents ever yelled at you for playing video games for too long, you may want to point them to the recent study.

“I used to be shy because I didn’t play games much,” tenth-grader Darrius Martinez said. “I played like once in a blue. When I play video games more, I feel like I can talk to kids at school more about video games.”

For Martinez and his family, gaming has proven beneficial.

“When I’m having trouble in a game, I try to create a strategy of how to overcome that obstacle,” Martinez explained. “And the same thing can happen in school.”

Adam Morris, a child psychologist, believes such research will continue to become more in-depth as technology advances with gaming, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality.

“They’ve started to do some preliminary research with kids, and they do find some effects,” said Morris, director of The Child Psychology Program. “Whether it’s the video games that are causing the effects, that’s something that is yet to be seen.”

Despite the study, some parents are concerned about the negative effects video games can have on their children. Others support them, such as Martinez’s parents.

“I feel like now that he plays games with other people, from basically when you’re online, you play with everybody all over the world,” his mother, Jacqueline Martinez, said. “So you kind of open up because now, you’re all together and you like being vocal, telling them where to go and what to do in the video game.”

Luis and Jacqueline Martinez have two other sons, Danny and Donovan, who have excelled in school and also have a passion for gaming. This led them to open and create the NYXP gaming facility.

Donovan Martinez sees it as an effective way to cope with life’s challenges.

“Games give you critical thinking because, in games, you’ve got to make decisions,” Donovan Martinez said. “You’ve got to make critical decisions. I mean, it’s not life and death…but it’s decisions on if you want to win, if you want to lose and the decisions you make.”

Darrius Martinez hopes to play a part in the process as technology continues to advance and more data and results are produced about children’s cognitive development surrounding gaming.

“I guess coding has to do something with video games, because video games come from coding,” he said. “So maybe I could create my own video game or something.”

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