By Sandra Quinn

“Get away from that computer screen, it will kill your brain cells,” “If you keep looking at that screen, you will get google-eyed or go blind,” “That game console will rot your brain,” – if you heard some of these phrases as you tried to get to the next level of your favourite game, you are not alone.

Since computers and consoles first came into the sitting rooms and bedrooms of families, single people and children all over the world, they have been branded as something to be curbed, monitored and their use often comes with a time limit or curfew.

Now that we are living in an age where screens and personal devices are part of almost every facet of our lives, computer games and consoles are not quite the enemy they were seen as before.

One element of the old school of thought, which is still accurate, is that too much of any technology or anything for that matter, is not good for you and everything is only good in moderation.

A paper from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that people who play computer games demonstrated improved levels of performance, perception, attention and cognition, when compared to those who don’t play the games.

By regularly playing a game with a set structure, players also improved their dedication and will power, they were proven to stick at things until they succeeded, rather than just failing and giving up and games were sometimes found to give structure and intellectual stimulation to players.

For those who have problems staying focused, computer games can help them to work on maintaining attention on one thing at a time.

By working through the levels on a game and constantly working towards objectives and targets, people can improve their own behaviour in the real world in personal, educational and work environments and also improve their self-esteem.

While there are benefits to playing computer games, when introducing games to children, parents must consider how age appropriate they are, the difficulty level and also set some ground rules to prevent addiction and an over-dependence on the game.

Similarly, even adults should set themselves limits and try not to let a game consume their daily life or intrude upon their personal or work lives.