The Benefits of Video Games


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Yesterday I was browsing facebook when I saw a picture someone posted of the line outside of Walmart for all the people waiting to buy the new Halo game. I was shocked that so many people were literally waiting outside just to get a game as if there were limited amounts or they were only available for that exact time. With the exception of the occasional game of Rock Band I pretty much never play video games. While I have nothing against it, I always wondered how people could spend hours and hours staring at a tv screen pushing buttons while really accomplishing nothing. However, today I ironically came upon an article (http://health.msn.com/health-topics/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100264008) that talks about how all those hours playing action packed video games may actually be beneficial! The article states how avid gamers actually enhance and increase the speed of their decision making. The research mainly only applies to action video games; however, the more a person plays the more they become used to unpredictable situations and have to think fast and determine the best way to react. After reading this I understand how this research could be plausible, and how maybe I should start playing games because I am extremely indecisive. I guess the games could actually prove to have some real life skills!

3 Comments

i think it is very controversial to say that, overall, video games are good for you. it is interesting to think about the benefits of them though, because up till now many adults viewed them negativly because of the percieved negative side effects on their children.

This study definitely does make sense and I can see how it would make peoples reaction times quicker, although, I feel as though video games still haven't won me over.

This website pointed out how there is so much violence in video games that correlates to people then acting violently. The website: "http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/articles/20040114/Feature1.asp" was very interesting because it showed a diagram of the human brain, specifically the amygdala. "The amygdala is best known as the "fight or flight" organ. It senses danger and prepares you to either go to battle or run away. Your breathing slows down. You become hyper-aware of movements in the environment. And blood rushes to your brain's core, among other effects." The image showed a more highlighted amygdala when people are exposed to more violence. It was then shown that people who regularly play violent games have more "aggressive thoughts."

The idea of the benefits of video games is in my opinion a double edged sword. While it is true that video games can help improve snap decision making and also can help with interaction between teenagers, video games also can have some obvious drawbacks. While video games are engaging for many teens, there is definetly a point where the games can become too engaging and the violent repetition can have a negative effect on the people playing. Hours and hours of the repetitive negative actions of games can really desensitize kids to violence, and the aggressive nature that the game displays can seem as natural for the player. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation has some interesting evidence of the negative effects of video gaming here: http://www.pamf.org/preteen/parents/videogames.html . The site points to a study done that shows teenagers that engaged frequently in video games were more confrontational and often had more problems with fights in school. When you think about it, this should come as no surprise--if you sit in front of something and engage in it for hours on end of course it will rub off on you. Video gaming in moderation is fine--no doubt, but too much of anything is a bad thing and video gaming is no difference. Also, it is tough to justify spending days on end in front of the TV playing a video game...go get some fresh air!

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