Why Do People Think It’s Okay to Lose Yourself in a Book but Not in a Video Game or Social Media? Folks Responded.

This is a good question that we’re about to dive into today.

It really does seem like there’s a stigma out there against people who get super involved in gaming or other online ventures.

I’m not personally a gamer, but I say whatever floats your boat, right?

Why do most people consider it okay to lose yourself in a book but not a video game or on social media?

AskReddit users shared their thoughts about this.

1. Why?

“I was reading an article on benefits of reading, and there was that argument that getting lost in a book can help you escape from your worries, etc.

A lot of people do the same – escaping from real life problems – through gaming and whatnot online, so why is reading encouraged and the rest is looked down upon?”

2. It depends…

“Depends on the game.

I don’t think playing “Bloodstorm” for 10 hours is much better than being on Reddit for 10 hours.

I have done both…”

3. Something to think about.

“Fun Fact: Video games are the biological opposite of depression, to an extent.

See, the “Happiness” part of your brain shrinks slightly when you’re depressed. Your brain uses it less, so it diverts energy to memory, logic, etc.

But with video games, your brain receives so much stimulation that it actually grows slightly.

Again, video games are the genuine opposite of depression, even if only when you’re playing them.”

4. Wasted time.

“I waste like literally 4-6 hours a day on Reddit and YouTube.

It sucks because that time would be better spent on almost anything else: video games, reading a book, working, exercising.

I just compulsively pull out my phone and open Reddit or YouTube. I imagine other people do the same thing but with Facebook and Instagram as well.”

5. Both have benefits.

“Reading, especially fiction, actually, can really develop your critical thinking skills, as well as empathy. It trains very specific parts of your brain and has short and long term benefits that you can only really get from reading.

But video games have their own befits too, like problem solving and improving social skills.

It’s kind of like how doing physical activity is the only real way to build muscles memory.

I don’t think getting lost in anything is really a bad thing, though it can be. I’ve met people where video games have taken over their lives and turned into a detriment, and I’ve also met people who are annoying to be around because they’re constantly reading and when you try to socialize with them they get frustrated with you. They’re both good in moderation.

I do think one of the real issues with video games, and this is all coming from a 21 one year old who loves video games, is I feel like they’ve made me less creative over time. When I was a kid, I wasn’t really allowed to play video games much so I had to come up with creative ways to keep me entertained and invent my own games, but when I play video games, the developers took that part of the creative process out of it.

I guess the same can be said for novels, but you can play video games from a whole lot younger of an age than you can read novels, and I think it’s important that kids learn how to be creative on their own.”

6. All about the consumer.

“I will say, I feel like creativity depends on the consumer; I feel like video games often make me MORE creative, just because that’s what I look for.

If I’m playing DBD or halo 3, I can have really creative thoughts about what balancing works, what doesn’t, why, etc; or about the story, broader implications, ideas behind art choices, all sorts of stuff.”

7. Good lessons.

“Minecraft is great for creativity!

Also taught me some valuable lessons about resource management when I was younger.

It’s also just fun to do a repetitive task and kinda get lost in it like mining.”

8. Books are good.

“Books are usually good because they improve your vocabulary and come with a whole host of other benefits. They are what you could call a healthy form of escapism.

Some games are similarly beneficial in my opinion. Some that spring to mind are the Mass Effect trilogy, The Witcher 3, and BoTW. Not all games are created equal though. I would argue that the thousands of hours I wasted on games like League of Legends, DotA 2 and most MMO’s were a lot more harm than benefit. Hardcore competitive gaming is more akin to an addiction.

Social media is straight up bad though. You spend hours screwing with your dopamine system and all you get out of it is a feeling of not being good enough because you’re seeing the best versions of everyone else.”

9. Can be decent sometimes.

“I don’t think social media is completely bad, to be honest.

I find that my first ~30 minutes on social media is actually quite enjoyable; I see high quality content from the people I care about.”

10. Here’s an analogy.

“Here’s how I think about it.

Humans have huge, active brains, and we deeply crave information. Input. New knowledge.

Reading was for a very long time the primary means of accomplishing this.

Social media has dramatically changed that. We can gain SO MUCH INFORMATION so quickly via our phones.

So the analogy is slow food vs fast food. Yes, you can stuff your face with a ton of calories at McDonalds. That’s social media.

If you want a more profound and enjoyable meal, go to a nice restaurant or make a meal at home. It’s slower, and you get fewer calories, but it’s more enriching. That’s reading a book.”

11. A good point.

“It’s important to be cognizant that a lot of social media is especially designed to exploit human behavior and even employs neuroscience research behind addiction patterns to keep people on it. Video games might too, but some have an ending or narrative development arc and there’s a bit more choice involved with what you decide to play.

Reading books is way on the other side of the spectrum since the thing which might make them compelling is on other merits beyond shots of dopamine and you have a ton of choices and control over the medium+ how and when you engage it plus how it engages you.”

12. Depends on the person.

“It really depends on the person.

Social media has a base line of toxic because a lot of it is people not being genuine, putting their best foot forward ect. It heavily promotes comparing yourself to others, or finding communities of people who hold the same views and values as you which can lead to echo chambers which can lead to real world consequences.

Video games are a piece of creative media, like art, that can provoke you to think. What it provokes you to think about is up to the game. Unlike a community of real world people sharing their views in absolute ways (which we see very often on social media platforms), there is no harm in exploring different avenues of opinions and values in video games. Obviously this doesn’t encompass social video games.

Video games are a lot less toxic AND they actually come with an added benefit for those with mental health issues. I have PTSD – facebook and reddit trigger the f**k out of me. In a vide game I can get enveloped in a world where things don’t actually connect to my real life – social media will always connect to my real life.

Super long story short – reddit / social media will always be a tad more unhealthy than video games.”

What do you think about this?

Sound off in the comments and let us know.

We look forward to it!