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Are there any benefits to playing video games?

Yes. There are benefits to playing prosocial games. Children who play prosocial games tend to have higher empathy toward other people, higher cooperation, increased helping behaviors, and decreased aggressive thoughts in comparison to children who do not play prosocial games. In one study, children were randomly assigned to play a violent game, neutral game, or a prosocial game for 20 minutes. After playing, children could either help or hurt another child. The results indicated that children who played the violent game were more likely to hurt the other person, but if they played the prosocial game, they were more likely to help the other person. In a longitudinal study where children were followed for several months, those who played more prosocial games at the start had changed to become more prosocial in their behaviors later on. These studies suggest that there are both positive short-term and long-term effects for playing prosocial games.

Source: Douglas A. Gentile ""
Suggested Readings:
De Freitas, Sara (2006). Learning in Immersive Worlds. Bristol. Joint Information Systems Committee.
Fabricatore, Carlo (2007). “Gameplay and Game Mechanics: a Key to Quality in Videogames”. Published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Electronic version  retrievable at: Article presented at the “ENLACES (MINEDUC Chile) - OECD Expert Meeting on Videogames and Education” (Santiago – Chile; October 29-31, 2007).
Gordon, Edwin (2007). Learning Sequences in Music: Skill, Content, and Patterns. Chicago: GIA Publications.
Johnson, Steven (2005). Everything Bad is Good for You. How Popular Culture Is Making Us Smarter.  Riverhead.
Mitchell, A., & Savill-Smith, C. (2004). The use of computer and video games for learning.
Prensky, Mark (2006). "Don't Bother Me Mom -- I'm Learning" : How Computer and Video Games Are Preparing Your Kids For 21st Century Success -- and How You Can Help!. Saint Paul (MN): Paragon House.
Prensky, Mark (2007). Digital Game-based Learning. St.Paul, MN:Paragon House.
Van Eck, R. (2006). Digital game-based learning: It's not just the digital natives who are restless. Educause Review, 41(2).