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How Video Games Can Help or Hinder Mental Health

Over the last few years, we have grown in appreciation of how video games have been a space that has kept children connected with each other. When they couldn’t be in the physical playground they had this virtual play space to visit.

Alongside this accelerated understanding of the connectivity of video games is a growing number of examples of games that offer players mental health benefits. This started with stories about the Nintendo game, Animal Crossing, which offered an island escape at the height of the pandemic but has continued in many other games.

The Family Gaming Database aims to highlight games that players have found beneficial in different ways. This not only grounds any claims about benefits in real players and specific games, but also enables other people to find these games.

There are a collection of game lists with mental health benefits:

Each of the lists here can then be filtered for a particular age of play, available technology or a range of accessibility features. The aim is that this further reduces the barrier to parents and guardians finding games that may be a real help for their family.

For example, here are some of those lists filtered:

Finally, if you are worried that a game may be inappropriate for a child to play, and is having a negative impact on their mental health, the database offers age-appropriate alternatives to popular games. For example:

Many of these games can also be played together in the home, anchoring gaming as part of family life rather than something that only happens in bedrooms. It’s a really positive way to guide this popular hobby in a healthy direction.

Andy will be speaking at Youth in Mind Berkshire Conference 2022

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Andy Robertson, Editor, Taming Gaming

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