Do video games actually rot your brain?

biolizardshadow

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I am currently staying with some family friends through college and one day when one of their friends were over, the topic somehow turned to video games and young people. The friend that was over to help us shuck some corn said that "video games are rotting people's brains." I was in the room when she said that and I did not know what to say in response. Luckily the comment was not directed towards me, however, the family friends I am staying with promptly agreed with that statement, and so the conversation continued to other things not related to video games. The couple I am staying with are waayyyy older than me with the youngest being in her mid 50's while the oldest just turned 77 not even a week ago.

While I can't speak for other people, I have been playing video games for since I was a kid. Currently I am 19 years of age and am currently in college and expected to graduate in 2 years. So now I am putting this question to all of you, do video games rot peoples brains? Also, have other forms of entertainment experienced the same forms of criticisms? Feel free to put whatever response you agree or disagree with.
 

WiiMiiSwitch

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Well, they can.
For example, a man played a game for 72 hours straight and he literally went braindead
He's still alive today, just unconscious
If you can handle everyday things such as a job, seeing family and stuff you're good but if you have an addiction its bad
 
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Xzi

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I suppose in the same sense that any media can rot your brain if you consume too much of it. However, if you're sitting in front of a screen playing the same game for 72 hours straight (as in WiiMiiSwitch's example), then there are clearly other psychological factors driving you to do that as a means to escape the real world.

In general, interactive media keeps your mind engaged much more than passive media, and I've seen more people addicted to cable TV news (to the point of self-harm) than I have video games.
 

Tom Bombadildo

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Generally speaking, no, anyone who says that is just repeating utter nonsense spouted by people who just think "XYZ craze is the devil!!". There have been various studies around now that have shown the opposite in fact, with video games potentially improving things like problem solving and reasoning abilities, improving short and long term memory, improving the part of your brain that handles visual/spatial data, etc etc. Sometimes those skills can translate to other useful real world scenarios, and sometimes those positive effects are useless in others and only really help with gaming specifically, but it's generally agreed (ATM) that video games tend to be a net positive on the average person. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00248/full < You can check out this collection of studies that have been run over the course of quite a few years, but unfortunately there aren't any studies that are properly conclusive because there's simply too many variables when it comes to gaming (genre, length of play time, complexity etc etc) that virtually no study actually takes into account (which is annoying :/)

As with everything, of course, there can be negative side effects. But for the most part studies agree the vast majority of those are because of video game addiction, and not just your average person spending a few hours a week gaming.
 

bonkmaykr

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Unless you're literally sitting there playing CS for 2 or 3 days straight without a break, giving yourself a massive blood clot in the leg and causing a stroke or heart attack? No. It's nonsense.

On a side note, as long as you're making responsible decisions and balancing work and play, you'll be fine. If you don't, your brain won't "rot", you'll just become a less productive person and slowly become less satisfied. (I suppose I've kinda gotten too close to that low point a little bit.)

If your brain is "rotting", that isn't the video game's fault. It's your fault. Never blame an inanimate object for someone's poor health choices, always remember that it was somebody's idea to waste their time doing that.

Old people are scared of things they don't understand. They let rose-tinted nostalgia glasses, and a desire to dislike whatever is popular, get in the way of unbiased constructive judgement. They often look for answers in all the wrong places. If your parents say something that sounds too crazy to make sense off the bat, and they don't have a good detailed explanation aside from "because I said so" or "__ said so", then they're probably just out of their minds.

It's ironic because most old people now just waste their time on Facebook and watching the news, both of which are significantly worse considering how gullible people are
 
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bonkmaykr

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I suppose in the same sense that any media can rot your brain if you consume too much of it. However, if you're sitting in front of a screen playing the same game for 72 hours straight (as in WiiMiiSwitch's example), then there are clearly other psychological factors driving you to do that as a means to escape the real world.

In general, interactive media keeps your mind engaged much more than passive media, and I've seen more people addicted to cable TV news (to the point of self-harm) than I have video games.
This

May I remind everyone that the entire "video games cause violence" rumor has been debunked by simply looking into every violent gamer's past psychological history. Columbine being an infamous example. If you have other problems in life, those probably are the biggest culprit. Video games are just a coping mechanism.

"it's the video games fault, not my bad parenting/schools!" -America
 
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GBADWB

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if things you do in whatever your playing not engaging enough and become ultra repetitive, I wouldn't be surprised it could cause brain rot in the same vein as job deskilling. As long as the play is actively engaging and thinking about something in the game, then no, it wouldn't lead to brain rot.
 
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bonkmaykr

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I have a serious question, though. What do they even mean by "brain rot"? Games exercise our minds in the same way sports and board games should, if not better. Even if they didn't, how exactly do we "rot" from that?

I wanna know, if there is a single scientist on earth, that can prove that not working yourself hard enough can cause your brain to turn into a dead pile of fat, because that is what boomers are claiming is happening.
 
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I have a serious question, though. What do they even mean by "brain rot"? Games exercise our minds in the same way sports and board games should, if not better. Even if they didn't, how exactly do we "rot" from that?
If they are old enough then playing video games to them is no different to sitting in front of the TV for hours. When I was young old people would say the exact same thing about watching TV. I wonder what it will be for future parents to moan about to the next generation.
 

SG854

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If they are old enough then playing video games to them is no different to sitting in front of the TV for hours. When I was young old people would say the exact same thing about watching TV. I wonder what it will be for future parents to moan about to the next generation.
To be fair many people aren't socializing as much today as they use to with the idot box and tv games, pre covid.

Socializing Online just isn't the same
 

XDel

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I have been playing video games since at least 1978, growing up in the 80's and especially the 90's I heard it said over and over again that video games are the reason for the excessive violence in this country. In fact they tried to blame the Columbine incident upon DOOM as the two students involved in the shooting were members of doomworld. In fact it make talking in the forums a very touchy subject over the next few years; say the slightly wrong thing and you'd get banned...
...not unlike how it is nearly EVERYWHERE on-line today.

The thing is though that I never associated video games with violence growing up. Then again most of my video game experience during that time was from the 80's and early 90's where there wasn't a huge trend in video games to make them violent and crude for the sake of being violent and crude. Rather the focus of many of the games I played were to have good mechanics, addictive replay, the drive to keep playing, exorcise the mind, reflexes, problem solving, involving story, original story, unique presentation, etc. So I grew up thinking of video games (not all), as inspirational rather than destructive. I mean I know for sure that playing games taught me a lot about managing money, it improved my gun skills through improved ability to aim, I became proficient at solving new types of puzzles and riddles, some have helped me with my timing in musick, reading skills, ethics, manners, concept diversity, how to hold a courteous as opposed to rude conversation, etc. They have also influenced me to create my own video game, and certainly inspired some of my writing. And that's the thing, some video games are like books, most especially RPG's. Reading a book, interacting with characters on screen, etc. all require a lot more attention and personal in put than passively watching a movie or a tv show. In fact many studies have proven that movie and television watching does manipulate the mind in not so healthy ways. Granted, going outside and experiencing life is FAR more helpful than playing video games, but at least video games are not a passive venture.

All that said, video games can be used as a negative and destructive influence, though I don't see that threat coming so much from the gore and violence, but rather by the context and character of the players and stories on the screen. Just as some games can introduce healthy, soul full concepts and ideas, so to can they influence us to adopt negative and destructive ones. Now that censorship is almost non-existent, there are plenty of juvenile game designers out there who never quite matured as an adult in their thinking, and still think that sex, violence, tattoos, and the like are life and need more representation in the main stream. I guess this is why i never play bad guy when I have the choice, and why I never really got into games like No More Heroes, GTA, and the like. Though I do appreciate GTA's tongue in cheek slams on the very culture they are capitalizing off of in their radio bits.

Anyhow, all that said, video games only influence dumb and bad people to be dumb and bad. The dumber and bader a culture we produce, the higher their ability to influence. That said, up to this point in history I would say the main stream media, be it sit coms, movies, TV "news", the radio, and magazines have been much of the real cause of violence in this world, as they are EVERYWHERE and are certainly up to their own share of marketing/deceit/propaganda, which takes its toll on the culture and the individual. And once it has become culture, the individual will be pressured to conform, be it a true thing or not. I mean this is why today we can not understand basic biology or the fact that having a sex change is technically IMPOSSIBLE, but there is the pressure there to speak as if this were not so.

Or take the virus as an example, it is mutating and therefore the old vaccines are ineffective towards it, but we are encouraged to take the vaccines anyhow. Or these masks that everyone is supposed to wear, only one model of mask is said to have any effect according to the CDC, yet we are still encouraged to wear a mask, any mask, even a cloth, regardless if it is TOTALLY useless.

Ok, then on top of that you have the media playing devil's advocate, starting up conversations, bringing topics, and providing the opinions for us to argue, fight and bicker over when 99% of those subjects, opinions, views, and solutions are not the ones that are going to help us in the long term. Not unlike cutting a tree by it's branches rather than its root. And so when 2+2 no longer equals 4 and the wise and discerned individual feels lost in a world of madness, when people begin to realize they are being lied to but don't know who to blame or where to focus their anger, when people feel voiceless, when people allow them selves to be programmed to stereotype one another and turn against one another, when people have lost faith in the breath of life that flows through them, and faith in mystery, and think that the crappy culture our media spews out is all there is...
...people then become influenced towards violence, towards them selves or others, and maybe not with guns and fists, but also suicide, or shunning others, being un-loving, inpatient, misunderstanding. By ignoring real pain while being distracted by superficial non-sense. Willful ignorance, etc. These are the true ingredients to brain rot.

OK rant over.
 

WiiMiiSwitch

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if things you do in whatever your playing not engaging enough and become ultra repetitive, I wouldn't be surprised it could cause brain rot in the same vein as job deskilling. As long as the play is actively engaging and thinking about something in the game, then no, it wouldn't lead to brain rot.
Yeah that sounds pretty fair
Plating the same game again and again won't allow the mind to grow
 

phreaksho

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they tried to blame the Columbine incident upon DOOM as the two students involved in the shooting were members of doomworld. In fact it make talking in the forums a very touchy subject over the next few years; say the slightly wrong thing and you'd get banned...
...not unlike how it is nearly EVERYWHERE on-line today.

Doomworld was a crazy place for a bit back then..
 
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biolizardshadow

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Interesting video! I found it to be very informative.

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------

Well, they can.
For example, a man played a game for 72 hours straight and he literally went braindead
He's still alive today, just unconscious
If you can handle everyday things such as a job, seeing family and stuff you're good but if you have an addiction its bad
OUCH! That sounds really bad!
 
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