By Kari Jenkins
Online gaming is at its apex of popularity, with communication services like Discord having over 130 million registered users as of 2018, showing that now more than ever people want to connect with one another over the love of gaming. Just as social media can bring multilingual communities together, being able to communicate with people from a wide range of ethnic and lingual backgrounds is a modern miracle, but the cognitive benefits gained from internet gaming is a reward in a league of its own. Gaming through the internet can be a great boost for keeping your cognitive skills sharp and on point.
The most tedious part of trying to learn a language is retaining new vocabulary. Sometimes, the frustration that comes from wrestling with your short-term memory to learn a new word almost brings you to the brink of giving up. Studies have shown that game based activities, such as puzzles, can reinforce existing connections within human brain cells. This means facets of your brain's functions, like short-term memory, are exercised in a way that improves your mind's ability to retain recently learned information, which is great when you're learning a new language. Plenty of resources are available online that allow you to create your own crossword, word bank and word matching puzzles. Creating puzzles with online friends is a great way to engage one another in language practice, while keeping important cognitive functions attuned. So, go ahead and start forming your own fun online exercises!
A part of what makes access to the internet so brilliant is how easily communities can be formed and expanded over shared interests and hobbies. During the early days of the internet, gaming offered an opportunity for people to form a strong community that encouraged personal expression and uninhibited ingenuity. In a similar vein, language learners are able to foster an online presence constructive to their own interest in becoming fluent with their language of choice. It's well known that socializing combats the progression of mental illnesses such as depression, but recent research has shown that it can even prevent the development of cognitive regression and dementia. There's no better way of maintaining a keen memory and good socialization than through the easy access and support of online communities.
It may seem unreal, but something as fun and enjoyable as online gaming can prove to be of significant benefit to your mental health and cognitive abilities. Through the supportive nature of online communities, you can expand your own ambitions with language learning, while keeping your mind fit and happy.