RISE OF THE SIL­VER GAMER

Lancashire Life - - Family - WORDS: Ju­dith Palmer

It’s not just teenagers who are ob­sessed with video games – up and down the coun­try the older gen­er­a­tion are grab­bing the con­trols for them­selves

video games, in­clud­ing those who only played oc­ca­sion­ally, re­ported higher lev­els of well-be­ing. Those who did not play video games re­ported more neg­a­tive emo­tions and a ten­dency to­ward higher lev­els of de­pres­sion.

‘The re­search pub­lished here sug­gests that there is a link be­tween gam­ing and bet­ter well­be­ing and emo­tional func­tion­ing,’ says Dr Ja­son Al­laire, lead au­thor of a pa­per de­scrib­ing the study and an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy at North Carolina State.

This re­search doesn’t mean we need to start spend­ing hun­dreds of pounds buy­ing our grand­par­ents a Plays­ta­tion or Xbox though. While these are of course good op­tions, video games are also eas­ily ac­cessed through tablets, phones and lap­tops.

Games like the smart­phone hit

matches users with an­other user, as they have to guess what the other is doo­dling. Many peo­ple play these games to keep in touch with loved ones who live far away, or to make new friends as games can be paused and picked up as and when they have the free time.

When Nin­tendo brought out the new Wii games con­sole in 2006, they cre­ated a gam­ing plat­form that was more of a so­cial event than just a solo ac­tiv­ity. In­creas­ingly these are be­ing in­stalled into re­tire­ment homes, where they hold a weekly golf or bowl­ing tour­na­ment, giv­ing the res­i­dents not only men­tal and phys­i­cal ex­er­cise, but also the op­por­tu­nity to meet their neigh­bours and make friends.

So next time a birth­day comes around, in­stead of the usual chocolates or flow­ers, why not treat grandma or grand­dad to the lat­est video game. You might find they have a trick or two to show you.

ABOVE: It’s an op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with all the fam­ily

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