Op-Ed: Why gaming should matter to schools


Lizzy Camp

Video games could help students with skills like strategic thinking.

Madison Bair

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You’ve heard of Minecraft. You’ve heard of Call of Duty. Maybe you spend too much time playing these games, and your parents yell at you for it. I know I have heard the “screens will fry your brain” lecture dozens of times. But despite older generations’ negative perceptions of technology and video games, gaming can prove to be a beneficial resource when used in moderation, and can prove to be useful in education. 

In a study from 2015 by Australian and Chinese researchers, fMRI scans were performed on 27 professional gamers, revealing enhanced development in areas of the brain associated with problem solving and logical thinking. Gaming also improves an individual’s decision making and multitasking ability, as they may be faced with challenging decisions that must be solved within a short amount of time. Another study by the University of Toronto found that gaming improves sensory-motor skills such as hand-eye coordination and visuospatial awareness. Gamers in this study also completed tasks with higher accuracy and speed than those who didn’t play games. Other benefits, particularly from puzzle and logic games, include improved attention to detail, perseverance and extended concentration, strategic thinking, pattern recognition, and language learning. 

Aside from cognitive benefits, gaming can also promote social behavior and teamwork when used in positive atmospheres. Esports have become increasingly popular across the world, using multiplayer games like League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Overwatch, and Dota 2 to create competitive teams and communities. However, gaming can expose individuals to toxic, destructive environments and may lead to social anxiety, reduction in motivation, and poor health. Repetitive motions and overuse of bodily functions can also lead to repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow, though these injuries are relatively uncommon and can be detected early.

To avoid these negative impacts, it is important to limit screen time, take regular breaks, and possibly look to purchase ergonomic equipment, which is designed to reduce the risk of injury and improve productivity. Ergonomic equipment may include controllers, mice, keyboards, and chairs. If you’re experiencing mental and/or physical struggles as a result of gaming, seek professional help immediately.

If gaming is something you’re interested in, whether you’re new or have years of experience, consider joining the Fossil eSports team. The team offers a variety of games including Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, League of Legends, Rocket League, and others. For more information, email Mr. Besel at [email protected].