Video games often get criticized by societal watchdogs for spreading addiction and promoting violent tendencies among the youth. So active are their critics at bashing them that the positive side of video games gets largely overlooked.
One such positive effect of video games got highlighted recently in an accident in Slane, Co Meath, when an 11-year-old boy named Charlie Cullen used the driving skills he had picked up from playing video games to turn a potentially fatal car accident into one in which he and his grandpa escaped with minor injuries.
The situation arose when Charlie's grandfather, Finn Cullen, blacked out while driving him back to his home from a drama rehearsal. During this state of unconsciousness, Finn's foot moved on the accelerator and the vehicle started gaining speed. At first, young Charlie thought his grandpa was playing a prank on him, but the gravity of the situation soon dawned at him when the 72-year-old didn't respond to his frantic reaction.
Instead of panicking, Charlie took control of the wheel and successfully evaded a head-on crash. The car eventually landed in a ditch and was totalled, but their lives were saved by the kid's quick thinking.
Later on, he revealed how the countless hours he had spent playing the much-maligned Grand Theft Auto video game series enabled him to remain so calm and composed in the face of adversity.
"I had one hand on the steering wheel – and the other trying to wake Papa up," he said. "The main thing was to wake him up. But I didn't panic because I knew how to steer a bit from 'Grand Theft Auto'."
Of course, clinical researches have long told us that video game players have better hand-eye coordination and visuo-motor skills than non-players, but critics choose to ignore them and base their arguments on individual cases. Those in favor of video games generally lacked the fodder required to highlight their better side. Thanks to the Cullen family's example, now they don't.