An Unbiased look at the Epidemic of Video Games in Our Youth
Since the creation of video-games, parents, and children alike have been wondering about the usefulness, and disadvantages of playing these technology-based diversions. If moderated, games can be a great medium for social bonding, and an outlet for a well deserved break. Recently many studies have been released showing many effects of playing video-games, and many times, their data is misinterpreted. Instead of taking the radical approach to denying the advantages of playing video-games, or even proclaiming them as the savior for today’s youth, it is necessary to take the middle road, and adjust it according to your own values.
On one social aspect, video-games are a great way to enhance friendship, or even make new relationships. By sitting down to a nice game of Madden 06 (A football game) or even playing co-op mode on Halo 2 (a first person shooter), you can develop bonds between you and your partner. By playing these games you are working on your teamwork, it being necessary to be corporative and work out a game plan to win. However you can also play on opposite teams in Madden 06, or even fight against each other in Halo 2. If taken too seriously, this can prove to be harmful to a relationship. Nonetheless, usually these games provide a light healthy competition, and hopefully allow the loser (and winner) to practice sportsmanship skills.
Unfortunately there are also negative effects on social behavior, almost directly linked to playing too many video-games. Many times, if gamers become too obsessed, playing some single-player games could cause social-isolation. These games (if abused) could take time away from being with friends and plant gamers in front of a screen. At an early age this could prove very harmful as kids are still learning better social behavior and skills. Becoming “addicted” to video-games could cause a child to grow up as an introvert, shy, and/or anti-social.
Another ill-affect of video-games besides the social health of gamers is there physical health. Many conditions and injuries have been linked to repetitive use of video games. Some of them include: Eye Strains, Wrist/ Neck/ injuries, Back Pain, Photosensitive Epilepsy, Headaches, nerve and muscle damage, and even hallucinations! Currently researchers are examining the effect of video-games on obesity, and whether it is a factor. Even though these alone sound like a reason enough to eradicate video-games you must look at the conditions of the studies performed to come to these conclusions. Many of these injuries are very rare, and you also must examine the word repetitively. Most of the cases of an injury or disease as a result of playing video-games happened because the person was playing too much. Therefore with moderation, one can enjoy video-games with a much lower risk of besetting one of these injuries.
Even though there are negative risks to playing video-games, there are also many positive effects on physical health brought upon by playing these games. Many studies show, including one by Stanford University, that video games have a great effect on player’s problem solving skills and alertness ([http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/spotlight/2001-01-19-video.htm]). The US Governments National Institute of Heath also recently released a study showing amazing increases in visual skills and attentiveness after playing video-games (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/2943280.stm). Among these increased skills is also the better ability to follow directions. Teachers for centuries have been trying to instill the educational ideal of following directions upon students. Now with the advances in video-games player’s skills in directional following will also hopefully rise.
In additional to the capability to follow directions, come many other educational benefits to playing video-games. It is proven that many strategy games such as Age of Empires and Rome: Total War, increase logic and thinking skills. In these games, players are required to engage in critical thinking and decision making that will influence there gaming experience. In order to win, you need to think through a decision before you do it. For example in Age of Empires, choosing whether to build an archery range or a stable could influence the result of your next battle. Many role-playing games (such as Final Fantasy X) also require you to read great amounts of text scrolling fast through the screen. In fact, many American teachers have been noting improvement in spelling, reading, and even mathematics due to video-games (http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/2-27-2004-51038.asp). Many readers may now be thinking that it is obviously more beneficial to reading skills to read a book, but how much easier is it to ask a child if they want to read a novel, or play the latest blockbuster game to hit shelves?
The content of games is also important. Today the array of genre and content of games has increased ten-fold. There are games designed for pre-teen girls, violent teenagers, sports lovers, history aficionados, anybody you name, and there is probably a game that was designed with them as demographic. The same study by the US Institute of Health also used different games as variables (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/2943280.stm). They had some children play modern games, just released in the last few years (such as Medal of Honor), and grievously released games (such as Tetris). The Medal of Honor players improved there visual and attention skills significantly, whereas the Tetris players had almost nil improvement.
Regrettably, many of today’s youth are using video-games to escape the stresses of daily life. It is also ultimately one of the best tools for procrastinators. This can have a negative effect on daily life. Children will play video-games instead of doing there homework, instead of studying for tests, even instead of conversing with their own family! In addition, many video-games are understandably “addicting” and cause many “hard-core” players to lose jobs, fail school, and even lose a relationship. These qualities of video-games make them seem almost drug-like possessing some of the same social negatives as alcohol. However just like red-wine (which appear to be positive to your health (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1719675.stm)) video-games are great in moderation.
Ultimately if a player practices self control video games can be positive for them. As long as they keep track of time, choose good games, and balance their life, gamers around the world can all feel these productive effects. Fantasy is an essential part of a kids growing imagination. So as long as they do so wisely, let them play, let them have fun.
An Unbiased look at the Epidemic of Video Games in Our Youth
Contents About : An Unbiased look at the Epidemic of Video Games in Our Youth
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