Explore Digital Gaming Benefits
In every issue, we have a section for friends of Sadé Mag to share their thoughts on the chosen topic. Discover the History and Benefits of Digital Gaming for Children and Young People. YMHD is an annual awareness campaign that is run by stem4 to promote positive mental health in young people. For full resources and more information, visit stem4.org.uk
The Gaming Edition, available to buy here
Digital Gaming written by Maleeha Mir
Digital gaming and playing video games have been an integral part of my childhood. To dive into a game and become immersed in a new reality, explore a different perspective, learn about interesting concepts and elements from a historical-adventure game, or follow a special style of mystery gameplay is not only thrilling and fun but also mentally stimulating and rewarding. Gaming has given me and so many other avid gamers an undeniable form of escapism and the opportunity to cultivate our imaginations and learn something new and unexpected with each game level, every adventure completed, and every final ‘boss’ defeated! The concept of gaming itself is a very human activity, stemming from our deep need to find connection, autonomy, and relatedness through different mediums and technologies in our constantly evolving world.
But what actually is digital gaming? In the most basic terms, this form of gaming is very interactive and is played on electronic devices including gaming consoles, phones, and computers. On the surface, many digital games may seem the same to parents but in reality, there are many types and genres of games that children and young people regularly engage with and enjoy, such as multiplayer online battle arena games or community games (MOBA), role-playing (RPG, ARPG, and More), simulation and sports, puzzlers and party games, action-adventure and much more. Digital gaming is far more complex and enriched by our culture than we might expect - it not only provides us with a form of entertainment but pushes gamers to look past the ‘game’ and see the elements of reality intertwined in the concept. In many ways, digital games simulate and reflect life while testing the human mind in an enriching and engaging way.
Youth Mental Health Day
Understanding the importance and impact of mental health in children and young people is essential in our increasingly overwhelming world. For 2023, the theme of Youth Mental Health Day is #BeBrave. The idea of being brave can manifest in many forms but I think digital gaming is a brilliant medium to give children and young people the opportunity to explore the idea of ‘bravery’, as well as feel and ‘be brave’ in the safe space of a game setting and challenging their minds healthily.
3 mental health benefits of digital gaming for children and young people
According to a recent study conducted by Microsoft, 84% of participants acknowledged that video gaming had a positive impact on their mental well-being. With this in mind, here are the top three positive takeaways of
digital gaming from us:
- It creates a feeling of community! Gaming communities have been shown to help children and young people feel less isolated, especially during the pandemic. It’s a great way to reconnect and stay in touch with friends or family who they rarely see.
- A great form of escapism and a way to de-stress! Digital gaming allows children and young people to find a safe space to regularly take their minds away from the problems they face or any negative thoughts and emotions they experience by helping them to relax, recharge, and feel refreshed.
- Digital games create lots of opportunities to learn! These new skills and experiences include ways to persevere and overcome challenges in games and this can encourage young people and children to deal with everyday problems and obstacles that feel similar.
Active ways to experience digital gaming with your child
Play your child’s favourite digital game with them! This is not only a great way to help a parent better understand their children’s passion or love for a specific game but also gives them the chance to experience a game from a child’s perspective. We recommend giving it a try, having some fun, and reconnecting with your inner child.
Ask your child or the children in your life to explain how to play a specific digital game, so you can play it confidently too! If you enjoy or want to better understand the type of genres of digital games children enjoy - first-hand experience of gaming is always the best option and it will help you to become more curious whilst encouraging your child to communicate and share something they enjoy.
Digital Games and Mental Health
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The Oxford Handbook of Digital Technologies and Mental Health
by Marc N. Potenza, Kyle Faust & David Faust
The Benefits of Playing Video Games
by Isabela Granic, Adam Lobel, & Rutger C. M. E. Engels
Video game play is positively correlated with well-being
by Niklas Johannest, Matti Vuorret & & Andrew K. Przybylskit
About the Writer
Maleeha Mir is a freelancer in the publishing, arts and culture world. Maleeha also specialise in PR, social media and events.