A recent study conducted over the course of a decade involving children between the ages of 5-8 showed no harm or behaviorial problems were associated with video game playing. This has lead to the rather gleeful proclamation that video games are good for children. During the formative years, I can not see how playing video games can be anything but detrimental to adolescent development.
Video games are positive when it comes to stimulating a child"s brain cells. They teach skills such as multitasking and problem solving. Granted some video games are mature in nature and appear to have negative effects but they are mature for a reason and are not necessarily suitable for young kids. Video games are also known to help a person"s hand eye coordination and their reflex skills in quick time situations. I am biased when it comes to this subject because I have played video games for many years and I get countless entertainment and joy out of them. They also bring out a social being in people who would otherwise be classified as an outcast in normal physical interactions.
Based on the deplorable results of all American school test scores in comparison to other countries, it is hard to believe video games to more good than harm. The 'stimulating of brain cells' by video games may be true, but it certainly hasn't done much to improve long-term memory and the ability to focus. Perhaps the heightened experience of gaming makes such concentration to onerous. Scores continue to fall as gaming continues to rise.
It is true that some people take video games to the extreme and let them rule their lives. They can cause a person to become lazy and uninterested in bland subjects that are necessary in life. But video games are not the only cause of this. There are plenty of other reasons other countries have higher test scores. One such reason is in America some kids just don"t really care about education. In this sense they go to school but they could care less what their grade is. This can be argued to be directly related to video games but not necessarily. Some kids feel that since they are not the smartest that is not worth trying. While others just try hard but they can"t wrap their brains around what they are doing wrong. This leads me to my second point, the lack of a better public school system. This is another reason America is falling behind the other countries. According to the Washington post, "The United States has edged up its score over the years, and it's in the top 13 educational systems in the world, but Americans are still consistently outranked by the same handful of countries." Other countries are modernizing with the times and keeping their educational systems at the top of their list while in America there are far greater worries such as Obama care and the 8 trillion dollars that the Pentagon has lost.
Going back to video games and education there are plenty of games out there whose whole goal is to educate. Such games are luminosity, all history channel games, clue finders games, zoombinis and any trivia games. Granted these are not per say fun for the masses the point is they are an option for kids to choose. I know as a child I spent plenty of my afternoons playing clue finders or zoombinis. They combined education with a story line that at a young age influenced me and subliminally taught me critical thinking skills. Now-a-days I will agree that there is a lack of these fun educational games for high school students. Video games like I said before are for fun and should not be taken to the extreme. They are not meant to corrupt kids and hold them back mentally but to be a way to spend free time.
You rightly point out that low test scores are not solely the result of gaming. I also appreciate your argument for moderation, as well as your inclusion of educational types of video games. However, the popularity of violent video games underscores how potentially dangerous this type of gaming is, especially on developing minds. According to Psychology Today, such video games essentially reward for violent behavior, are potentially addicting and reduces empathy while at the same time decreasing the capacity for mature decision making. These are serious consequences. The forming of 'game brains' means less social engagement, shorter attention spans (consider the rise of adhd and add) and less active play (consider, as well the rising obesity rates). While video games can't be the sole blame for such problems, they are certainly contributing factors. Regulation is required, to say the least.
You bring up the point that violent video games are dangerous for developing minds. This is true that they can leave impressions on the youth in society. But you can"t put the blame solely on the video game and the company that produces it. The blame rests on the parent. Theses popular violent videogames and rated M for mature for a reason. In order to even purchase these games you need to be seventeen years old and by then the kid is most likely in their senior year of high school. Parent s need to make the decision if they want their kids playing these games. But in most cases the parent doesn"t even know what the game is about. They purchase the game to basically shut their kid up. Being a gamer for a long time I have witnessed scenarios where immature kids are playing games that are made for a mature audience that won"t overreact with violence. I have heard kids that are seven playing these games and I agree that it is inappropriate for them to be on them. It is a choice that their parents made and I don"t support it. I have also witnessed kids in line for the release of a mature game. They acted like brats and most likely don"t fully understand what a war actually is. When you say "video games essentially reward for violent behavior", they do but they don"t. Sure you receive in game rewards to encourage you to play the more often, but it"s not like these rewards transfer over to real life. The games don"t condone violent behavior outside in the real world. They simply give you an advantage to entice you to spend more time playing. Saying they reduce empathy all depends on the maturity level. As stated earlier you are expected to be seventeen when you are playing so it is expected that you will have understanding that it is a simulation and not to be taken to heart. Little kids don"t have this real life understanding, and may even blur the lines between reality and their own imaginary world. "None of the medical doctors interviewed in the article argue that the increasing numbers of ADHD diagnoses actually represent the spreading of a disease. On the contrary, the doctors point to a purely iatrogenic cause for the epidemic: "slipshod" diagnoses, use of drugs for "enhancement" of the abilities of children who are otherwise healthy, parental pressure on doctors to drug their kids to improve school performance, and "an alarming rate of misuse of the diagnosis."( Marilyn Wedge ) This is an exert from an article about ADHD stating that there is not necessarily a spread in the disease but rather an over diagnosed and exploited pole. Parents feel that the drug will help their kid perform better in school. This is far from the truth, if the child is falsely diagnosed the drug may even hold the child back from their full potential in academics. The reason doctor are prescribing the drugs to these kids is because of pressure from parents who feel that there has to be something wrong with their child for them not to do well in school.
I'm out of room: (
Wow -- You sure do make a cogent argument! I happily concede. As a mother of video-game loving boys, I agree that the responsibility does rest on the parent. I may have misgivings about some of the types of games being produced, but the same holds true in many areas -- music, which has a powerful emotional/ psychological impact, certainly falls under that category. I also liked your response regarding ADD/ADHD, a subject of professional interest.
Well i might as well just post what else I had prepared since I already wrote it.
Now on to the point about the rise in obesity, undoubtedly there is a strong link between video games and the rise in childhood obesity. I cannot argue against this but I can point out that this is only a contributing factor and not solely to blame. Young kids look up to adult figures such as their parents when it comes to simple choices. If a kid"s parents are fat then they will see this and think that it is ok to just continuously eat. This is not ok because it may present them with health problems further down the road. I personally can vouch that this actually happens. My aunt and uncle are well over the healthy weight limit and their actions of continuously eating unhealthy are rubbing off on their kids. When my cousins were young they were skinny but I have seen them change over the years. They are heavier then the healthy zone for their age and it puts them in danger of health problems in the future. Another factor for the rise in obesity is that as Americans we will eat fast food at least once a week and this is an unhealthy habit filled with transfats and grease. "In the United States, where health officials have termed obesity an epidemic, more than 50 percent of the adult population could be obese by 2030 if current trends continue, a team from Columbia University and Harvard University wrote in a separate paper in the series." (Talea Miller) This study shows that fifty percent of Americans will be overweight in 2030. This statistic cannot be just for people playing video games. This comes from more sever factors. Such as the fact that we are a docile nation and do not need to fight for our food. We don"t need to hunt so we have become lazy and relaxed.
Sources http://www.psychologytoday.com... http://www.pbs.org...