According to Ygam, gaming is now on the rise among college students. Recent surveys have shown a significant overuse of video games by youth, with 92% of students playing regularly, 35% playing most days, 75% playing over 20 hours every week, and 40% playing over 30 hours per week.
These numbers are impressive. They clearly indicate the huge tendency to gaming among college students. However, opinions about the impact of such overuse vary. While there clearly are some risks in excessive gaming, there also might be some positive effects of it on students’ lives and performances. In this article, we are going to cover the major negative and positive side effects of gaming to answer how it actually affects academic success.
The Risks of Excessive Gaming on Academic Success
The biggest concern parents and educators have relating to video games is that it occupies a huge part of students’ time. Indeed, when young people play 20-30 hours per week or even more, this can hamper their academic performance. Of course, students can always choose to ask professional writers, “please, write me a research paper.” This way, they will be able to enjoy their favorite games without missing deadlines or leaving their tasks uncompleted. Still, there are a number of other risks associated with this.
According to experts, there is a very fine line between intentional and compulsive gaming. Compulsive playing can have a range of negative consequences, such as:
- A loss of focus and motivation for learning;
- Poor attendance, which can lead to missed learning opportunities;
- Missed assignments and deadlines, which lead to lower grades;
- Extended years in college due to poor performance and low grades.
These are the primary academic-related risks. These risks are also supported by studies. Namely, one recent research investigated the relationship between male first-year students’ performance and excessive playing. It found that gaming negatively affects freshmen’ engagement in the classroom and lowers their grade point average (GPA).
On top of that, there are a number of personal and mental consequences. Numerous studies confirm that addition to video games can make young people develop the following symptoms and issues:
- Lack of sleep;
- Poor eating and personal hygiene;
- Internet safety issues and cyberbullying;
- A strong feeling of helplessness and isolation;
- Increased aggression;
- Mental health issues, such as anxiety, stress, and even depression.
The Advantages of Gaming for Academic Success
Although the negative consequences are pretty serious, they most often take place only when young people develop an addiction to playing. If we are talking about intentional and managed playing, it, on the contrary, can help students gain a number of benefits.
Namely, these are the main perks:
- Increased brain capacity and efficiency;
- Enhanced memory and information retention;
- Faster and more accurate decision-making;
- Improved multi-tasking skills;
- Boost in creativity;
- Improved cognitive and problem-solving skills;
- Better logic;
- Increased interest and engagement in STEM disciplines.
These are the proven benefits of video games for college students, and they are also backed by science. Namely, a 2021 study revealed that students who devote equal time to learning and playing achieve higher grades and better overall educational outcomes than their peers who don’t play games at all. The reason for this is simple. Playing is a fun and enjoyable activity that lets you rest from your everyday routine. Respectively, when you reward yourself with it, you gain more motivation to learn and can improve your outcomes.
9 Tips to Maintain the Fine Line Between Beneficial and High-Risk Gaming
Now that you know about the risks, as well as the potential benefits, you must be interested in how to make games beneficial for you rather than harmful. The good news is that you can make it a regular part of your life at college without affecting your grades. All you need is to develop healthy gaming habits.
Here are a few handy tips to help you make this real:
- Get on a schedule. Devote certain days and times to playing and ensure that you balance it with your learning schedule.
- Don’t let it affect your academics directly. Never play while in class, during your study sessions, or when you have an important assignment to complete. Remember to prioritize your academic matters.
- Find other hobbies too. According to experts, real problems start when you focus all your free time on video games. To avoid this, you need to have other hobbies and interests, too, such as sports, arts, or anything else that you enjoy.
- Don’t neglect the importance of socialization. Be sure to make friends and interact with them in person to avoid the feeling of isolation.
- Minimize your exposure to bright, blue light. Studies show that blue screen light can have a negative effect on your brain and interfere with sleep.
- Choose games that offer positive experiences.
- Don’t play at night. When you are enjoying your favorite game, it can be easy to deprive yourself of sleep. Ideally, it’s recommended to stop playing at least one hour before bedtime.
- Take good care of your health. To avoid the mental, physical, and other negative consequences of gaming, be sure to do it with your health in mind. Namely, be sure to get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and take regular breaks to move around. Also, be sure to reduce eye strain and avoid hunching over the screen.
- Avoid excessive or compulsory playing. Keep track of the time you spend playing every day, week, or month, and adjust your schedule if necessary.
The Bottom Line
As you now know, playing video games in college isn’t rare. These days, a large share of students tend to engage in this activity regularly. Also, you know that although there are a number of risks, gaming isn’t always harmful. It is proven to bring numerous benefits too. You just need to do it the right way.
Luckily, now you have everything you need to make it a reality. Use the tips from this article to have the best gaming experience without letting it interfere with your studies!