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Video Games: to Play or Not to Play, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1000

Essay

Many people voice their concerns over the negative effects of video game play as perceived by parents, teachers, and academic experts.  There is so much hype surrounding the negativity associated with playing video games that it clouds any positive contributions.  The plain truth is that there are obvious concerns to the effects of video game play, but there are equally as many positive effects from playing.  The balancing weight between the positive or negative effects of playing video games rests in the discerning and responsible acts of parental control.

The negative implication of video game play has received much press and overshadows the positive effects.  One of the most talked about negative impacts is the influence of violence on children.  Games which were once limited to play in arcades are now available in home systems and have advanced in graphic content, but unfortunately the violence presented has increased with the advancements.  Video games present an alternate virtual reality which can manifest the violence presented in the present reality.  Children do not always have the maturity to filter or discern the negative influence of violent images that saturate the mind with extended viewing.  These violent images can be absorbed into the consciousness of a child and find outlets in brutal physical acts.  “Various research studies have shown a relation between aggressive behavior and playing video games that have violence in them. Indulging in games that have a lot of shooting and killing is said to increase the emotion of anger in children, leading to aggressive behavior in real life. Further, as their act of violence is rewarded in the world of gaming, they may become motivated to repeat it in real life. Video games hook the children to their consoles as repetitive playing and winning boosts their morale. They start feeling that shooting and killing are normal and do not even feel guilty about beating or clobbering siblings or peers.”  (Kartha Deepa)  These negative effects are concurrent with extended play and can be controlled with parent intervention to censor violent games and to limit play time.

The virtual world present in video games can also have a positive influence.  It inspires the imagination and stimulates the brain in interactive exercise thus inspiring creativity.  Game play also sharpens analytical skills as the player must analyze the situation presented and devise a solution.  The video game reality increases diverse thinking in this world of multimedia, where text is only one of many avenues used in information retrieval and learning.  “Multimedia information is fundamentally different from how information in the printing age is presented and processed. They learn how to learn in a nonlinear way using the aid of abundant hypertexts and visual cues.  These skills learned during game playing could be applied in instructional settings “(Malone, 1981).  “These skills could also help develop other important skills such as inductive discovery and problem-solving through trial-and-error learning” (Greenfield, 1983) “and eye-hand coordination and spatial visualization.” (Pepin & Dorval, 1986).   The virtual reality presented in video games has many dimensions and each level acquired presents a new view and a new set of challenges.  A child has to switch gears and device a new tactic for the new challenges.  The brain is receiving constant stimulus for a myriad of sensory input which encourages complexity of thought.

Many opponents to children’s use of video games cite the health risk associated with extended play where it can cause lethargy, obesity, and is said to contribute to diabetes due to these factors.  There is also concern that the nature of recreational activities has shifted from games that children once enjoyed in outside play has now become severely limited to the indoor play of video games.  Outside play encourages the benefits of the sun and fresh air, but more importantly it encourages the extension of socialization skills which are limited in video game play.  Video gaming does not play the culprit in these scenarios.  Video games just as anything available for children viewing or use must be monitored and controlled by parents.  There are many advantages and disadvantages to a child’s use of a computer.  The internet offers an amalgam of educational websites, but there is danger in free use as there is also a plethora of violent and pornographic websites.  The same is true for television programs.  Parental control is a necessary component to stress the positive and deter and deflect their children from any negative influences.  “Part of the increase in aggressive behavior is linked to the amount of time children are allowed to play video games. In one study by Walsh (2000), a majority of teens admitted that their parents do not impose a time limit on the number of hours they are allowed to play video games. The study also showed that most parents are unaware of the content or the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating (see below) of the video games their children play.”  (Norcia, Andrea)

Video game play is entertaining and educational.  In fact there are many games produced and aimed at improving the cognitive skills in children and adults, as well as games to improve visual acuity.  The key to stressing the positive amidst the negative impacts of video game play lies in the strict monitoring of parental control.  Parents have to set strict limits on play time and place the gaming system in a family room to ensure the limited access.  The game rating should be strictly observed.  The most important of these guidelines is for parents to take an active interest in any and all child activities and to discuss themes presented.

Works Cited

Spina, Stephanie Urso.  “Power Plays: Video games Bad Rap” Kinderculture:  The Corporate Construction of Childhood. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2004. Print.

Peng, Wei. “Is Playing Games All Bad? Positive Effects of Computer and Video Games in Learning” All Academic Research http://www.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/1/3/3/2/pages113328/p113328-7.php  Web. 2008.

Norcia, Andrea. “The Impact of Video Games on Children” Palo Alto Medical Foundation, A Sutter Health Affiliate http://www.pamf.org/preteen/parents/videogames.htmlWeb. 21, Mach 2000.

Kartha, Deepa. “Effects of Video Games on Children” Buzzle.com http://www.buzzle.com/articles/effects-of-video-games-on-children.html Web. 2010.

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