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Only 3% of gamers are loners and never play with others, according to an Interactive Australia report by Bond University. Many games involve multi-person play, with players either in the same room or connected online.

And, says Dr Lawrence Kutner, director of the Harvard Medical School’s Centre for Mental Health and Media and co-author of Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do, games are a topic of conversation that allow kids to build relationships with their peers.

‘Boys and girls view game playing as a social activity, not an isolating one,’ he said.

‘For boys, game strategy is a topic of conversation.

‘If you don’t play, you’re left out of that ubiquitous conversation.’

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1. Better vision
1. Better vision
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Video games can give you an eye for detail.

Researchers from the University of Rochester found people who spent 30 hours training on action games over a month spotted targets on a cluttered screen 80% of the time; non-gamers managed this only 30% of the time. Here are some other ways to improve your visual and mental skills.

Allstate, a US insurer currently trialling video games for older drivers, has found that game software can improve visual skills important for safe driving. National Institutes of Health studies have shown the software reduces crash risk by up to 50%.

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