Video Games May Lead to Worse Grades


| 5 Comments
Many video games are educational. Many video games are fun. The problem is that when these games are abused and played much too often, they can have a negative effect on kids. In a recent study, 64 boys ages 6-9 were used. Half were given a Playstation 2 right away, and the other half was promised it after 4 months.

After four months it was found that "the boys who received the video-game system immediately spent more time playing video games (39.3 minutes versus 9.3 minutes) and less time (18.2 minutes versus 31.6 minutes) in after-school academic activities." But, the new gamers had lower reading and especially writing scores. "Teachers also reported more learning problems."

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As interesting as this study is, it is strictly observational. No variables were cancelled out leaving third variables as well as reverse causation. The students may have resorted to video games because they were doing worse in school than other students. The group that played more may not have fit in with their peers as well as the other group and play video games to use up their spare time. Or this study was all chance and the new gamer group was simply not as smart as the other group.

To summarize, this study has a very high chance of being inaccurate. They need to conduct a much more experimental study to eliminate variables and reduce the percentage that it could be chance. How could they go about doing that?

5 Comments

This is a very interesting article. I can see how it is possible for video games to lead to worse grades because many people would rather play a video game than study. However, that may just be me. I feel as if this study would be more effective if they used high school students as test subjects. Also, if they used both boys and girls. That way they could see if gender has anything to do with this. In order for that to work though it would need to be an experimental study as opposed to an observational one.

This is interesting because last year, one of friends quit lacrosse and with his new free time became addicted to video games. After school his friends were all at lacrosse practice so he would start playing video games but eventually couldn't stop. He would play until he went to sleep at night and I remembered his grades dropped tremendously. His parents ended up taking away his xbox and after that, his grades improved again. This could be due to the fact that his parents made him study extra hard after taking his video games away. Maybe video games aren't the cause of bad grades but lack of after school and extra-curricular activity is.

It would seem that the study is also flawed because it attempted to explain multiple variables at once. For example, not only are they examining whether or not instant gratification with video games is worse but also if video games as a whole are bad for grades. Perhaps the children who received the video games later found other ways to occupy their extracurricular time in the short term. You did a good job of analyzing the study and seeing the flaws in it. Although it tackled an interesting topic, the experiment was sloppy.

Video games may not only lead to worse grades, but also some serious health problems. I have heard of a few accounts of gamers playing their Xbox so much that it caused them to have seizures. Here's a link that explains 9 ways video games affect health in a negative way (muscle pain, seizures, obesity, aggressive behavior, poor grades in school, lack of vitamin D, changes in physical appearance, sleep deprivation, and attention problems):

http://www.healthcentral.com/adhd/cf/slideshows/8-ways-video-games-are-bad-for-your-health#slide=10

I agree with Ryan's notion that the study should have tested a larger range of ages among boys, and females as well. There are some females who actually play video games more than some guys. I know one who does. And teenage boys definitely love to play them some GTA5 or NBA2K14 for HOURS! Trust me, I used to play NBA2K for hours at a time back home. But that was during the summer, so I didn't have grades to worry about haha.

I can entirely understand how video games could lead to worse grades but only because a person could invest all of their time in them. This could be said for sports as well or any other activity that a person could invest their time into. A person must learn to set time aside for studies.

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