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Does Gaming Really Harm Study?

Does Gaming Really Harm Study?

Online Gaming and The Privacy

Usually, gaming is considered a (somewhat harmful) alternative to study, work or any other productive activity. Gaming becomes almost a synonym for procrastination. But does it really harm study?

The bad news: yes, it can as any other activity that takes the students’ time and efforts. But gaming, in reasonable amounts, can be pretty neutral and even beneficial for the learning process. Let’s see how it works!

Gaming mechanics is motivating

Even for study, it is! It is called gamification. Gamified lessons are like quests: they have a heroic flavour, interesting tasks, instant rewards (even in the form of cute sounds and congratulation messages) and a big final reward. These small stimuli tap onto our primal brain that doesn’t work well with long-term goals, but is pretty much focused on “here and now” state. A simple “ding!” sound and seeing a bright text can motivate us more efficiently than thought about future grades. If we add a setting and atmosphere, imagining ourselves great knights who came for ancient knowledge, the study can actually become fun. The most modern gamified tasks are almost indistinguishable from quest games with all the graphic, story and score. For example, learning trading law could be hard for students, but gamification of the process by creating interesting quests like Internet surfing in search for and using different programs to make it more engaging could be easier and more interesting.

This approach proved its efficiency in classes for kids – but it’s not a shame to use our less grown-up and serious parts of the brain to have some fun during the study! It shouldn’t be a “no pain – no gain” process. Any subject, be it history, languages, science or something else, can be turned into a rewarding experience, giving you all the knowledge without stressing out too much.

Games help us relax

An obvious point, isn’t it? But still, games aren’t just a fun way to spend time. They return us to the blissful time when the world was understandable and predictable. Do this and get that. Don’t go there and you won’t lose one of your lives. A simplified version of reality that is present in the games helps us to do something meaningful (slaying monsters, picking the right colors, dressing up our characters, whatever) with clear conditions of victory, easy rules to follow and full awareness about the laws that make the world moving. The uncertainty of the studying process and constant need to think outside the box might make us want to hide in the box and sit there for a while.

Also, games are a rewarding experience story-wise and graphic-wise. You may enjoy the breathtaking views of fantasy worlds or cute characters in a cartoonish landscape, read some immersive plots and influence them with your decisions. You are literally living another life while playing. This experience helps people to step aside from their current troubles and look at them from a different angle later.

Games provide us with an environment

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The new quarantine trend is to gather in MMORPG settings instead of Zoom or Skype conferences. The characters are sitting around a bonfire at night, while wolves are howling and owls are laughing in the dark. They discuss their plans and later, when it’s time to leave, they mount their horses (or dragons or starships) and leave dramatically. Isn’t it cool?

While we are isolated or are just too busy to raise our head and go somewhere with friends, games may become our playground. We meet our friends there, socialize, spend time together doing stuff and feel almost as great as if we attended a party. There are even whole worlds created almost solely for that, like Second Life. The whole universities have their online offices there, so you may spend some time fighting monsters and saving cuties in distress and then come to The Great Library Of Eldritch Knowledge to have your exam with the real grade.

Games aren’t evil. They are tools that are tuned to the childish and primal parts of our brains and personalities. They can, of course, become a great distraction, but they also may become a great aid, if used wisely. If your teachers aren’t too conservative – why don’t you ask them to try a different experience? We are sure that they’d be surprised with higher grades and motivation of their students!