Games can have a positive effect on your well-being, Oxford experts say.
Public opinion has repeatedly accused electronic entertainment of promoting various negative values and emotions. It is enough to mention last year’s shootings in El Paso and Dayton, for which some American politicians accused, among others, computer games. However, the research of specialists more and more often contradicts the thesis about the completely disastrous influence of interactive digital productions on the minds of people. This can be evidenced by the recent one test conducted by staff from the Internet institute at the University of Oxford, England.
What was it about? Well, a team of specialists led by professor Andrew Przybylski gathered a group of 3,274 people over the age of eighteen, who had fun in two productions – Animal Crossing: New Horizons (played by 2,756 respondents) and Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville (played by 518 respondents). Next, Nintendo and EA were asked to provide game data from participants who were asked questions about their well-being and general experience of dealing with the mentioned titles. What resulted from this? To quote the words of Przybylski (via BBC):
If you play Animal Crossing for four hours each day, you will most likely feel happier than someone who doesn’t.
This result is surprising as it contradicts to some extent other studies conducted on this subject in the last 40 years, according to which the longer a person plays, the more unhappy they are. Why did this happen? There may be several reasons for this. First, the older experiments were conducted in a slightly different way – the people dealing with them did not have access to the data provided by the creators and relied solely on surveys conducted among players. Secondly, the reality of the coronavirus epidemic and the resulting “lockdown” in many countries (research conducted in August, September and October) has led many people to crave human contact. Therefore, not necessarily just communing with Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville they made them feel better, which made the use of their extensive social options.
However, you have to remember not to play games with the thought “I don’t feel like it, but I’m stressed, so maybe it will help me.” According to research by Oxford specialists, this type of forcing is unlikely to make you feel better.
Oxford specialists do not discredit the positive impact of computer games on well-being.
Here is how you can summarize the entire study described in Przybylski’s words:
Our findings show that video games are not necessarily harmful to health; there are other psychological factors that significantly affect a person’s well-being. In fact, gaming can be an activity that has a positive effect on people’s mental health – and regulating access to them can stop those benefits.
It is worth noting that Przybylski and his subordinates do not intend to end with electronic entertainment. They want to research more titles and players over a longer period of time and encourage other producers and publishers to collaborate. As a result, models for building new relationships at a distance could be created.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is able to provide us with moments of relaxation.
We remind you that this is not the first time in recent days that British scientists have spoken about games, and not in a negative context. Recently, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the UK government body dealing with advisory in crisis situations, published a paper in which we can read that access to, inter alia, free electronic entertainment is important for maintaining well-being and keeping young people from breaking quarantine rules.