Is Gaming a Healthy Hobby?
While we are told to limit our kids time on technology, very little in the way of research is put out there as to whether gaming is a healthy hobby for adults. For kids, we know that the experts are still debating it. Some claim it’s a great way to meet friends, be mindful, and also with the sheer amount of educational games on the market today, it’s also beneficial from a learning perspective. Other experts claim that is stops children being able to learn to socialize in a normal manner.
However, as adults are already passed the stage of learning to socialize, does this mean they are only getting the pros of gaming as a hobby? This article will explore the good and bad points of gaming and how it can impact your life as an adult.
The Good Stuff
The pros of gaming for adults are much the same as the pros of gaming for kids. It’s a great way to engage with likeminded people, now that most games you can play connected to others gaming systems. Mindfulness is also more important for adults than children.
Children seem to easily and naturally live in the moment, not thinking about tomorrow (hence the reason your summer break used to seem like a lifetime, but as an adult the 6 – 8 weeks the kids have off passes in the blink of an eye!). However, for adults, not living in the moment causes depression, anxiety and stress, which can in turn cause physical health issues such as heart problems, muscle pains, lethargy and more.
This is because stress releases cortisol, a hormone designed to help us in a fight or flight situation, but if this occurs too regularly it can have a detrimental impact on our health. Gaming puts us back into the moment, allowing us to immerse ourselves in a fantasy world for a while, and forget about the stresses and strains of everyday life.
This can only be a good thing, right?
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The Bad Stuff
Some folk still believe that gaming leads to social isolation and with some people becoming addicted to their computers, they may favour sitting at home in front of their screen as opposed to heading out for meaningful connection with others. However, addiction levels are low, with only 3-4% of gamers suffering from addiction. So, the risks here are generally minimal.
Gaming is a hugely popular pastime, and this was especially true during lockdown when people had very little to keep them entertained. While there is a small risk of addiction, which could lead to social isolation, generally the benefits of gaming and stress reduction should in theory outweigh the negatives for most adults. It’s also a hobby that you can do any time, unlike sports where you need to rely on facilities being open for you to attend.