Video games get a bad rap. We’re told staring at screens for too long can ruin our sleep, hurt our eyesight, and stunt our social lives. Not to mention, violence in action-oriented video games—like Call of Duty or War of Warcraft—can make people more likely to have aggressive outbursts IRL. Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in eastern and western countries: a meta-analytic review. Anderson CA, Shibuya A, Ihori N. Psychological bulletin, 2010, Jun.;136(2):1939-1455.

Even with these potential downfalls, gaming is increasingly used as a therapy for people struggling with mental health problems, like anxiety and depression. Here’s what we know thanks to preliminary studies:

(h/t The Long and Short)

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