Video Games: Dangerous or Advantageous?


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The stereotypical view of a gamer probably involves the mental image of a wired-looking kid, compulsively eating cheetos and wearing some sort of heavy-metal band t-shirt.. or pokemon shirt. whichever. 

An even more stereotypical view of video games in general is that they're crude, addicting, and project a violent image to a youth that is already struggling with the constant media-driven prominence of overt sexuality and brutality. I'll be the first to admit that I have always had a negative view of video-games, and have never been one to be the highest scorer on Halo. However, as I sit at my computer on this late (early) evening (morning), watching a group of boys exchange ferocious expletives and playful punches as they play some sort of ninja-esque game here in the Pollock commons, I can't help but be intrigued by their own intrigue. 

So I did a little research, and turns out video-games may actually be more constructive than their reputation would have one believe. In fact, video games may actually hold benefits for the mind and body. According to a study presented by Nic Fleming of BBC Online, scientists have discovered that "video games can help people see better, learn more quickly, develop greater mental focus, become more spatially aware, estimate more accurately, and multitask more effectively. Some video games can even make young people more empathetic, helpful and sharing." This, of course, is a huge disparity with the household view that games, both online and video-based, are nothing but trouble for today's generation. 

I was a little skeptical of these findings, as the media is continually tying criminal acts with popular video-games depicting graphic scenes of violence and incentive to commit shockingly gory acts in order to "level up." So, of course, I also found an article that I agree a little more with, showing that the more violent video games played directly correlates with the amount of hostility an individual exemplifies. The study states that "investigators discovered people who played a violent video game for three consecutive days showed increases in aggressive behavior and hostile expectations each day they played." However, the study also found that the group that played non-violent games showed almost no increase in hostile behavior after each session. Huh. So, perhaps, if we expose our youth to a more positively-based genre of games, there'll be less violence in our society and we'll finally achieve world peace. Probably not. But, I mean, it's worth a shot. 

Cited: 
"Negative Effects of Violent Video Games May Build Over Time | Psych Central News." Psych Central.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2013. 

2 Comments

I found your article interesting because I always wondered the effects of video games on someone. It seems like you have studies which go both ways with video games meaning there needs to be more research done, but one problem that is evident is if someone plays video games too often, they become socially awkward. I feel that video games now take kids out of reality. I have heard many stories of kids dropping out of college, not getting jobs, and having no friends because they just sit around and play video games all the time. Here is a good article that agrees with my point http://www.video-game-addiction.org/social-consequences.html

I dont think the benefits of video games matter. Some people say that the gratification of beating a level is good for mental health and self esteem, but i think that there are more constructive ways that you can get these benefits. Also, the threat of video game addiction is very real. Whatever benefits your getting while playing video games are out weighed by whatever they are taking the place of. Check out this article to learn more about video game addiction.

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/video-game-addiction-no-fun

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