Are video games harmful (con) or beneficial (pro) to play on a regular basis?
Debate Rounds (2)
III: HEALTH PROBLEMS
Observation: "These days, screens of one kind or another occupy youth for 50 hours a week, a 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation reports. "It's a full-time job plus 10 hours of overtime, and that's the average," said Douglas Gentile, a psychologist and director of the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University." http://www.livescience.com...
Definitions of Topic: "Are video games harmful or beneficial to play on a regular basis?"
(Source: Bing Dictionary and Merriam-Webster Online)
Are: present 2d singular or present plural of be
Video Game(s): an electronic game in which players control images on a television or computer screen 2) an electronic game played by means of images on a video screen and often emphasizing fast action
Harmful: causing or capable of causing damage or harm
Or: "used as a function word to indicate an alternative
Beneficial: producing good or helpful results or effects : producing benefits
To: used as a function word (1) to indicate the application of an adjective or a noun (2) to indicate the relation of a verb to its complement or to a complementary element (3) to indicate the receiver of an action or the one for which something is done or exists
Play: to engage or take part in a game
On: used as a function word to indicate a time frame during which something takes place or an instant, action, or occurrence when something begins
A: indefinite article; 2) not any particular or certain one of a class or group 3) a certain; a particular:
Regular: happening frequently: occurring or doing something frequently enough over a period of time to establish a pattern, though not necessarily a strict one usual: 2) normally expected, or most often used or done
Basis: a fixed pattern or system for doing something
II: ONLINE PREDATION
We all hear the extremist stories of the kids who die playing forty hours of Diablo III (http://www.ranker.com...), but video games can cause harmful encounters from online predators. Specifically, the risk is high with MMO's and Xbox chat systems. Anyone can speak to anyone- and this creates problems when "anyone" is a predator. The FBI has been battling this issue for some time. Peter Brust (FBI special agent in charge, Counterintelligence and Cyber Divisions, Los Angeles FBI field office) offers his view on the risk of online predation.
"The [Justice Department's] Cyber Crime section is involved with all manners of crime committed over the Internet. The majority of our time is devoted to online sexual exploitation of children, Internet predators. We started keeping statistics in 1996, and we opened 113 cases that year. Through fiscal year 2007, we've opened 20,200 and arrested almost 10,000 subjects for sexually exploiting children online. So it's a crime problem that has grown exponentially over the years and continues to grow every year. At any one time, the FBI has 30 undercover operations internationally addressing this crime problem. We have, at one time, over 200 FBI agents working this crime problem full-time nationwide." (http://www.pbs.org...)
In essence; video games can cause harm by serving as an opportunity for online predation.
III: HEALTH PROBLEMS
Obesity is a major issue in the U.S.A.- not to mention childhood obesity. Childhood obesity is on the rise, and nutrition coupled with inactivity, seems to be the cause. Because
"The American Academy of Pediatrics -- on its HealthyChildren.org website -- notes that children who spend five or more hours of screen-time per day have a four-and-a-half times greater risk of being overweight than those who watch two hours or less."
Combine that statistic with the observation of the topic:
"These days, screens of one kind or another occupy youth for 50 hours a week, a 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation reports. "It's a full-time job plus 10 hours of overtime, and that's the average," said Douglas Gentile, a psychologist and director of the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University."
"Kids who play video games need to watch out for "Video Gamer's Thumb," according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The repetitive motion of video games can cause swelling at the base of the thumb, and can have long-term effects on kids' hands and upper arms with symptoms that range from weakness and fatigue to pain, burning and tingling."
Also, video games are known to cause seizures.
"Those who play video games are associated with a higher risk for seizures than those who do not, according to Dr. Mohamed K. Khan, a researcher reporting at the Council on Science and Public Health. Although no studies on this risk have been conducted in the United States, studies from Great Britain and Japan have revealed an increased risk in light-induced seizures due to video game playing. In Great Britain, those between the ages of 7 and 19 were associated with a 1.1 per 100,000 risk for experiencing a light-induced seizure. However, those in the same age range who played video games experienced a 1.5 per 100,000 risk, according to Dr. Khan's report."
In essence; video games contribute to obesity and weight problems in the U.S, while also causing Repetitive Strain Injury and epileptic seizures.
Video games are harmful because they are addictive.
My past harms of playing video games are amplified when you introduce the fact that video games are designed to be addictive. Video games create a false reality- a reality that rewards players with false achievements based on false objectives. Video games are operant conditioners in terms of phycology, and in a life where other activities (such as work) are not designed for addiction, entertainment and false rewards will triumph with immediate emotional gratification. The following website says it best: video game addiction is very real, and deteriorates the reality surrounding the player as he builds up his fantasy.
"One needs only to compare video games in general (and MMOs in particular) to the research of B.F. Skinner on Operant Conditioning. Game researcher Nick Yee explains Skinner"s research:
Skinner boxes are small glass or plexi-glass boxes equipped with a combination of levers, food pellets, and drinking tubes. Laboratory rats are placed into Skinner boxes and conditioned to perform elaborate tasks. At first, the rat is rewarded with a food pellet for facing the lever. Then it is rewarded if it gets closer to the lever. Eventually, the rat is shaped to press the lever. Once the rat learns that pressing the lever is rewarded, a food pellet does not need to be dropped every time and the rat will still continue pressing the lever.
How does this connect with games? Most games have a very quick rewards cycle at the beginning of a game. Eventually this basic rewards-structure will slow down, but by that point most well-designed games will have additional goals in place to keep you pressing the lever"goals like leveling up in a certain skill (by performing a certain action a certain number of times), or like defeating a certain monster who only shows up at a certain time to gain a certain piece of equipment.
These basic reward cycles are common to all games; systems of trophies or achievements are designed to force you to play for hours. Online games in general and MMOs in particular take this a step farther. In the popular Facebook game Farmville, you risk losing crops if you do not return to the game within a set timeframe. Some MMOs incorporate similar "features." At the least, they will introduce regular expansions to the core game with new areas, character types, or rewards.
Then there is the risk of ostracism. One of the biggest benefits of an MMO is the ability to join a guild and go on raids in groups. Miss the occasional raid, and you"ll miss the opportunity to gain valuable items, and fall behind other players. Miss too many raids, and some guilds may even kick you out completely. This is especially problematic for those who, for whatever reason, have migrated their primary social interactions to these games. They turn to their game as an escape and are increasingly drawn in; this causes them to lose sleep or skip classes or work; they drop out of school or get fired; they turn back to games. On occasion, this will lead to questionable, or even criminal, behaviors. Increased focus on the game came at the detriment of personal goals and relationships.
Because video games are addictive, the problems video games bring about (unemployment, ruining realities, health issues, and predation, to name a few) are emphasized greatly. The reason to vote for CON is simply because there is no doubt that playing video games on a regular basis are harmful. In fact, the average American takes this topic to a whole new level- when playing video games becomes as time consuming as a job with addictive qualities, what opportunities arise for advancement in real life? A job to get money to pay for the job of playing video games results in a cycle of gaming that cannot be broken so simply. This cycle is harmful, as proven in my arguments, and the issue needs to be voted in favor of the CON.
Thank you. I await my opponents counter arguments and benefits.
I.First I will address his addiction point, because I believe it may make or break his case.
Firstly I will attack on definition of addiction. Merriam-Webster 2014 defines addiction as a "compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful". The lack of a definition means that I have the right of definition to this term. The opposition never gives evidence of cases of withdrawal symptoms which by definition come with a true addiction.
"Addiction is more complicated than just wanting to feel good. People who are addicted to drugs often just want to feel "normal" or not bad. It"s also more than just the compulsive need to keep using a drug or engaging in a behavior. Addiction means being unable to quit, even in the face of negative consequences.
"A person with a drug addiction wants to use drugs even when their grades have tanked, they"ve lost their job, and they no longer care about the things that were once important to them. When they aren"t using drugs, they feel withdrawal symptoms that make them sick. Scientists aren"t sure video games can cause the same effects," says Sara Bellum on April 9, 2014 at the website: http://teens.drugabuse.gov...
Ms Bellum"s scientists say that video gamers don"t have the withdrawal symptoms which means that a "video game addiction" isn"t an addiction at all, but more of a time investor.
II.Secondly the predation issue will be addressed.
The predation issue online is one that is easily dismissed because of securityinitiatives by companies such as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.
"Over 2,100 accounts of registered sex offenders have been purged from online gaming platforms as part of "Operation: Game Over," a first-of-its-kind initiative to protect children from predators on online gaming networks.
An additional 3,500 accounts of registered sex offenders purged from major online gaming companies earlier this year.
"The Internet is the crime scene of the 21st century, and we must ensure that online video game platforms do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators. That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming systems as a vehicle to prey on underage victims," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "I applaud the online gaming companies that have purged registered sex offenders from their networks in time for the holiday season," is what it says on Robert Ciciliano"s web security website at http://robertsiciliano.com...
This "predation problem" is really an exaggerated false issue.
III.Now to the obesity and health problems.
I will divide this into three parts because of the three medical disadvantages given.
Firstly, the epileptic seizures.
Epilepsy is a "condition of the nervous system that can cause people to suddenly become unconscious and to have violent, uncontrolled movements of the body" according to Webster 2014.
These seizures of this pre existing condition are caused by the quickly flashing lights and such are found in video games. But this problem has also already been prevented by video game companies. When you boot up any video game there is a warning that states-
"Seizures caused by the brightly flashing images in video games are more common than most people realize. They can happen even in people with no history of seizures. Most individuals with this type of visual sensitivity (a condition often called photosensitive epilepsy) have their first seizure before knowing they need to be careful around the flash, flicker, on-screen patterns, and intense colors in video games. As exposure keeps growing to increasingly sophisticated computer graphics, more of the population is at risk for seizures."
Anyone that does not follow this warning puts themselves in the situation which cannot be prevented, so parents of the child must be the preventers of the issue. Parents will know if a child is epileptic and should keep games that may cause seizures away from these children.
Now onto the "obesity issue"
"Previous studies of adults and those in their late teens have found that playing video games and watching TV is linked with a slightly higher body mass index (BMI) than non-gamers and those who watch less TV than average, supporting the common view that "screen time" - a sedentary activity - contributes to obesity.
A team at Michigan State University in East Lansing selected a group of 482 12-year-olds and followed them for three years. Parents and children responded to six waves of surveys covering each child's internet use, how much they played video games and how often they used a cellphone. Parents were also asked about their children's exam scores, height, weight, race and socioeconomic status, while the kids were tested in reading, mathematics, visuospatial recognition and self-esteem.
"The team found that while video games were used more than the internet and cellphones, none of these activities predicted a child's weight or BMI. Instead they found that race, age and socioeconomic status were the strongest predictors (Computers and Human Behavior, vol 27, p 599)." Says Macgregor Campbell on http://www.newscientist.com...
This easily shows that the false idea of obesity being caused by video games is false. And even if it were true, the invention of motion sensing games and VR (virtual reality) games are already on the rise and giving the kids a workout with the fun of a video game.
Finally to the issue of Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs)
This is not a know issue to scientists who have studied gamers today.
"but surprisingly few studies have been done at his point to confirm or deny that. The most recent studies seem to have some unexpected and startling results" Several recent studies funded by the federal government suggest that there actually is no connection between carpal tunnel syndrome and office work, carpal tunnel syndrome and computer use, or carpal tunnel syndrome and playing video games. " says http://www.repetitive-strain.com...
This isn"t a real issue at all today with gamers, as I have just proved.
Now with the limited character limit I will list a few backed up benefits to gaming.
By Rachel Nuwer-smithsonian.com -April 8, 2014
".. A new study"one of the few that has looked at the physical effects of playing video games rather than the behavioral ones"indicates that the games might actually give kids a cognitive edge. The authors found "a robust positive association between cortical thickness and video gaming duration," which could point toward "the biological basis of previously reported cognitive improvements due to video game play."
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com...
This study shows the obvious benefits to the brain by gaming.
The Huffington Post | By Drew Guarini Posted: 11/07/2013 8:51 am EST | Updated: 11/07/2013 6:12 pm EST
This study by Huffington post a few months ago show 9 different benefits that gaming has to a gamer's health, such as slowing the aging process, better eyesight, dyslexics reading better and more, I urge you to read this as I have run out of characters.
This disproof of the opponents case should sharply put the vote of the debate at my foot, and the votes of the members of debate.org should obviously go towards the CON side.
My opponent argues that video games can not be classified as "addiction", based on the Merriam Webster definition of the term, which defines addition as ""compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance". However, this is not THE definition of "addiction". It is "A" definition of addiction. I implore you to check the website yourself. You will see that there are multiple definitions of addiction, and one of them is as follows: "an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something" and also, "the quality or state of being addicted ". Reading is not an additive substance, yet according to this dictionary, it is quite possible to become addicted to something that is not a substance, such as reading. Allow me to refer once again to http://www.covenanteyes.com..., and you may read for yourself in the following excerpt that video games can be a source of addiction (just as reading can be).
"It"s important to note that the word "addiction" is a contentious term. According to Dr. Cheryl Olson, there are three hallmarks of addiction:
1.A compulsive, physiological craving
2.Increased tolerance (needing a higher dose to get the same effect) following early use
3.Well-defined and uncomfortable physiological symptoms during withdrawal
Often, those who are accused of (or claim) video game addiction simply enjoy games as a hobby. Gamers may play for hours on end, several times a week. Therapist Mike Langlois compares these people to a person who reads Bleak House for three hours in the evening. That person would not be categorized as "addicted" to Dickens. Olson similarly likens many gamers to those who memorize sports trivia, collect memorabilia, and watch games for 3 or 4 hours: we don"t call them addicts, we call them fans."
Hence, I do meet my opponent's definition: considering that I match his source's definition. If that's not enough to convince anyone, then my opponent also states that "Addiction means being unable to quit, even in the face of negative consequences." Video games cause negative consequences, and they are unable to quit. I meet that definition as well.
Even if I were to lose this argument of definitions, why would it matter? Weather we classify video games as an "addiction" or a "time investor" (as the opposition insists), does not matter. According to my observation, people in the U.S. still spend "50 hours a week. It's a full-time job plus 10 hours of overtime, and that's the average." Changing the classification of the problem does nothing. It won't fix anything unless we act on it. It's like the government trying to fix obesity by changing it's classification from "condition" to "disease". (as the AMA have already done.) I will talk more about obesity after my next defense, regarding predation.
II: ONLINE PREDATORS
"This 'predation problem' is really an exaggerated false issue." According to my opponent's source, Operation Game Over began in 2013. According to http://www.webpronews.com... there are 745,000 registered sex offenders nationwide. While Game Over is a good cause, even their efforts do not remove the threat of predation. Game Over only removed around 5,600 accounts of sex offenders. There are still 739,400 accounts to account for. The threat is very real, and if it were an "exaggerated false issue", then Game Over would not be trying to stop the issue. My opponent argues that my argument is "easily dismissed because of securityinitiatives by companies such as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo." I would like to mention that Nintendo was never mentioned in his source. Sure, there are security initiatives that are starting, but their impact won't be enough to remove the threat. It is not so "easily dismissed" when there are still 739,400 sex offenders preying on children in chat rooms on Xbox and MMO's.
Even if I lose this argument, this fact does not change. Vote CON on this issue, because my argument is still relevant, valid, and topical: Video games are harmful to play on a regular basis based on the fact that online gaming platforms are prime territory for sexual predators to target underage kids.
III: HEALTH PROBLEMS
Here, my opponent argues that the problem of video-game induced seizures have already been taken care of by video game companies by putting a warning before starting any game. This is about as effective as warning a drug abuser about the consequences of doing drugs. A warning won't solve the problem. A kid is not going to turn on his game console and stop in fear upon seeing the epilepsy warning. Unless, of course, the kid is epileptic. But even those who do not have epilepsy, as my opponent admitted, are at risk. A warning is not going to change the risk of the seizure for them. As long as the game is played, the opportunity for an epileptic seizure exists.
"The CDC estimates that about 2.3 million adults and 467,711 children (0-17 years of age) in the United States have epilepsy. Nearly 150,000 Americans develop the condition each year. New cases of epilepsy are most common among children and older adults. The total indirect and direct cost of epilepsy in the United States is estimated to be $15.5 billion." http://www.cdc.gov...
Consider also that a majority of MMO's do not have seizure warnings, according to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov....
Vote CON on this issue; the PRO did not sufficiently attack my argument. The PRO only offered a current status quo that changes nothing. These warning have been around for a while, but nothing has changed. We can't blame the players for an unexpected seizure, and we can't shift blame on the parents, whose children may have no epileptic history at all!
The PRO argues that "the false idea of obesity being caused by video games is false." A link between obesity and inactive lifestyles DOES exist. Take the following as proof, along with my evidence in the first speech.
"Many Americans aren't very physically active. One reason for this is that many people spend hours in front of TVs and computers doing work, schoolwork, and leisure activities. In fact, more than 2 hours a day of regular TV viewing time has been linked to overweight and obesity. People who are inactive are more likely to gain weight because they don't burn the calories that they take in from food and drinks. An inactive lifestyle also raises your risk for coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, colon cancer, and other health problems." http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov...
Because Americans spend much more than two hours in front of a screen, they are more likely to become obese.
http://news.ca.msn.com... reveals a study that shows there is no direct correlation between active gamers and promotion of an active lifestyle. Consider the fact that even active video games are not enough to make kids have the active lifestyle they need. According to http://www.choosemyplate.gov..., children and adolescents need sixty minutes of physical activity, "most of the 60 minutes should be either moderate- or vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week." Games like Wii-Fit and Dance Dance Revolution are not going to provide this type of exercise. A better alternative, yes, but not an effective one.
Vote CON on this issue; the solution the PRO offers is only a Band-Aid solution. And Virtual Reality? According to http://www.cnet.com..., that won't be a reality for a while.
REPETETIVE STRAIN INJURIES
"Gamer's Thumb: A postmodern repetitive stress injury related to excessive use of the thumb controls on a gamepad, which is characterized by the swelling of the thumb and tendinitis." http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...'s+Thumb
The PRO's argument is that Gamer's Wrist is not a real issue for gamers. His source states "...there is actually no connection between carpal tunnel syndrome... and playing video games." I am not talking about CTS (carpel tunnel syndrome), I am talking about Gamer's Thumb, which my evidence in my first speech from the AMA has proved and has not been attacked. To point out the severity of the issue, "A US study found that acute and sudden computer-related injuries, a separate category to injuries that take a while to emerge like repetitive strain injury, are rising rapidly in the US, and that young children are most affected." http://www.medicalnewstoday.com... (1/??/2010- This was found BEFORE the first I-Pad was released!)
"This isn't a real issue today at all?" Tell that to the kids with Ganglion, Tendonitis, Tenosynovitis, and Gamer's Wrist.
I have defended all of my arguments with reliable sources and explained why the PRO is incorrect in their arguments. I will now, with only a few characters remaining, attack his benefits.
Both benefits show that video games rewire the brain similar to the way playing a piano or reading a map would do. Such activity is healthy for the brain, yes... but this benefit is outweighed by my harms. The brain may be thriving, but academic scores also falter thanks to video games, according to http://www.education.com.... Although this isn't always the case, there become a point when a brain becomes "maxed out" in the benefits of playing a game, until it's time for new stimulation.
And you are right, Opponent. "The votes of the members of Debate.org should obviously go toward the CON side."
My opponent has defended against my attack on definition superbly, but still this "problem" of addiction is not a real disorder at all according to the source in my first statement and on many forums, and even websites with professionals. At http://www.gosugamers.net... it is clearly stated that "video game addiction" is not even an addiction at all, and video games cannot cause addiction.
"Unlike drugs, the game itself does not necessarily trigger the players' addictive tendencies and there aren't sufficient studies to support this claim. While it is true that in-game accomplishments and rewards trigger dopamine release - a symptom observed in drug addicts - this is directly tied to player's personality. Not everyone who engages in gaming gets addicted. Drugs deliberately alter the brain pathways to achieve that level of drugged state unlike in gaming where there are certain psychological traits of the player that need to be taken into consideration" it is not enough to even include it as a mental disorder since the addiction is more correlated with the player rather than the game. Also, not all gamers who play in long periods of time should automatically be considered addicted. There is a difference between an excessive gamer and an addicted gamer""
My opponent also gave no numbers on how many gamers were "addicted" only estimations on the hours that addicted gamers play. As far as we can tell only 1 in 1billion ever get to this "addicted state" that my opponent has shown us. Also the proofs I have given are much more updated than the opponents (and as we know definitions and people change with the winds) with mine being both in 2014 and the opponents in 2011, which should also put the vote to the PRO side.
II ONLINE PREDATORS
This issue has been a simple one from the beginning, yet the opponent shows an over-complicated version of what is actually happening. Firsts off I"d like to state that my opponent has said that
"there are 745,000 registered sex offenders nationwide. While Game Over is a good cause, even their efforts do not remove the threat of predation. Game Over only removed around 5,600 accounts of sex offenders. There are still 739,400 accounts to account for."
With no evidence that of the "739,400" sex offenders that any of these accounts actually play games online. The children who are prey in this situation are more endangered going outside to the "739,400" accounts that are most likely not playing video games, than to be inside playing video games where thousands of accounts have been blocked and many more will get blocked by the NSA and any other security organizations. This weak argument with little evidence to back numbers of gaming predators should be nullified and the vote should go to the PRO.
III HEALTH PROBLEMS
The "2.3 million adults and 467,711 children" that have epilepsy should already know that video games are a problem for epileptics and they aren"t playing games because of the risk involved. And even they can play now that researchers have found how to remove the seizure causing stimuli in photos and lighting, as you can see at https://videogameseizures.wordpress.com...
"Thanks to extensive research that defined the characteristics of images that induce seizures, it"s possible to make small changes that interrupt any such seizure-generating sequences."
This issue of epileptic seizures is on its way out, and not even a problem to non epileptics anyways, therefore making the vote go to the PRO side.
Again I have given evidence that genetics are closer related to obesity in children, young adults, and adults than inactivity and video game playing is, I"ll restate that "video games may not necessarily make you fat. A study of schoolchildren in the US suggests the pastime is not driving childhood obesity." At once again at http://www.newscientist.com... is also states that obesity is closer related to genetics than inactivity.
This website easily shows that video games are not related to obesity whatsoever, making the vote go to the PRO side.
RSI"S AND GAMER'S THUMB
I have provided evidence that gaming is no to repetitive stress injuries(RSIs) in my first response. Now this "Gamers" Thumb" that the opponent has presented is nothing but a less serious version of the carpal tunnel and other RSIs. No RSIs will be the result of gaming as according to the scientists at http://www.repetitive-strain.com... and that is why the health issues as a whole should turn PRO.
The opponents defense against the benefits were that they were outweighed by harms, but now that all harms have been nullified, my benefits stand. I won"t add anymore to the benefits sector because of the inability to respond to the, as I think it to be only fair, though there are many, many more. The benefits should also go to the PROs case.
The arguments brought up by the CON, being addiction, health issues, and online predators, have all been brought down by the PRO and the benefits also brought up by the PRO weren"t even debated on making the entire debate go to the PRO side. I thank the opponent for the debate, and waiting patiently for my final response, and I await the votes of the members of debate.org. Thank you.
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