Are there any negative effects to children from video games
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25 May 2015
Are There Any Negative Effects to Children from Video Games?
With the advent of technology, gaming has reached a redefined level. Video games are most preferred and liked methods of playing among the children on today’s date. The prime feature that attracts children most in video games is the virtual playing ambience. Video games saw the first light of earth early back in 1950s as a part of research works in computer science (Hamilton 173). Its immense popularity was recorded since 1970s to 1980s. Eventually, it became an inseparable part of the childhood. This research paper aims to explore the impacts of video games upon the children as the childhood stage is the most vulnerable phase of life. The paper further narrows its discussion on negative influences of video games. It is seen many parents complain about their children being absorbed addicted and corrupted by playing video games. Simultaneously, the technological education system also applies the video gaming approach to attract the focus of students and teach them accordingly. Thus, the strategy of this paper is to compare and contrast positive and negative impacts of video games on children and finally drawing conclusion upon the negative ones.
Since time immemorial, parents have kept complaining about games. To them, games are just only a mean to waste time that should be, in fact, channelized into focussing only on education. With the passing time, the scenario of games has changed completely and children are now seen to be glued to their play stations or computer screens for playing every kind of games starting from sedentary chess, cards to outdoorsy football, cricket and others. Moreover, categories of games are no longer restricted within these few types. There are now games that are created as an action movie where the player can don the role of the protagonist and keep playing. However, irrespective of categories and types, the psychology, attitude and behaviour get heavily conditioned by the immensity of video games (Monsen 206). But, as per the presupposed conception of the parents, the constructive sides of playing video games are very much powerful to sharpen the reasoning faculty among the children. It has been found that as education, music, dance or other activities contribute significantly to change the structure of the brain, video games operate in the same way as well. Rehman (456) has further added that as exercise elevates the physical energy by building muscle and enhancing fitness, the combined way of concentration and coordination energizes the neurotransmitters of brain (as strengthening the neural circuits by dopamine) and leads the children quick, clever and intelligent.
Some of the highly advanced games necessitate the children to adopt a complicated process of thinking that are not always clearly defined and stated to solve a puzzle or to crack levels. Even, the formal syllabus and activities of the education system are unable to approach the potential of a child in that way. Video games infuse the systematic and instructive methods into children, and they learn how a puzzle can be solved in the quickest way with 100% success rate. Furthermore, they also get trained automatically to think logically and work accordingly to achieve highest scores (Hutchby 472). Apart from that, some types of video games such as racing cars or shooting games, the children learn hand-eye coordination and skills related to space and fine motor. Some games involve simultaneous multitasking like running, shooting, identifying and defending. Another benefit of video games is sharpening of reflexive action of the brain. In order to keep up with the speed of the game, the player has to react instantly. Otherwise, they may be loser. Previous studies have indicated the attention skills of a child multiplied in terms of spatial, iconic and visual way. At a very tender age, they develop an excellent skill of resource management. Most of the games, the life or energy is limited, and the gamer has to manage all adverse situations within that limit including winning. It can be noted in the proclamation of Maxis, a game developing company along with American Planning Association and trade association, the game SimCity has been the main driving force for many players to consider architecture and urban planning as serious career options.
Children learn to analyse the situation within no time to decide quickly and act accordingly to forward the game in the restricted time. However, gaming situations are simulated ones but now they are virtual ones and capable enough to apply in managing immensely pressurized real life situations as challenges keep popping up at every second in the games. Video games also improve accuracy in performance and coach the children the meaning and effectiveness of anticipated strategy in very simple terms. They become aware of maintaining the perfect equilibrium between an immediate situation and the ultimate goal of the game and along with they need to be always cautious about any abrupt twist and turns (Postmus 79). There are many tough and complicated games which are very difficult to go through successfully on the first go. Children who are already avid gamers take it as a challenge to win these games contextualizing perseverance at a very tender age.
The imperative need in the world today is to be a technological pro. With the medium of video games, the children automatically adapt the high-tech operations in the computer and the complicated concept of communization. Surveys have noted that love and passion for video games are much more in the boys in comparison to girls. Thus, the parents can really use this playful and informal method of learning via video games as brain teaser for their meek daughters. Apart from that, there many games that necessitates to be played in groups. In this way, the children on their own develop a bonding and learn how teamwork can fetch success (Hamilton 167). Eventually, they come to understand healthy competition and how the individual selves can cope up with any competitive situations. The old and traditional pedagogical structure of learning in the schools often develops boredom and regressive attitude towards education in children. But, gaming is always a mean of attraction to them and that is why the pre-nursery levels are now called as play schools as children are taught by play, games only.
Along with the undeniable positive aspects of video games such as cooperative mentality, high self-confidence and self-esteem, accurate decision making and fast reflex, the negative impacts of video games are very much explicit in the development of children. The action paced game series contain too much violence, and they provide the gamers the roles of avengers. It conditions the tender mind of a child to be very destructive and aggressive. According to Monsen (207), video games these days channelize the energy within kids to think, feel and behave in a very rude and aggressive manner and these games are responsible to a certain extent to make them self-centred and unsocial. The reason of it is if a child indulges himself or herself maximum time in the virtual world of gaming, eventually, that virtual situations of the games become real to them, and they start to believe in them. Moreover, they may adapt good management skills with computer games, but they lag behind in acquiring social skills. Video games are noticed to estrange children with each other in terms of real group activities and participations. A survey on children between 10-15 years has inculcated that the enthusiastic attitude towards travelling, outdoor games and reading books has drastically dropped, and most of them prefer to play games on their computers in leisure.
The games are formulated to reward the players to be more violent and destructive. In addition, the children do not stop with one game as the sleek and dazzling decor of the game attract them to play repeatedly. Rehman (459) has stated that nowadays kids are learning to kill, punch, shoot and stab mercilessly to win over and quite often they are seen to practice and apply those violent methods upon people they are related to. In fact, psychologists suspect this experience of violence to be fatal for a disintegrated personality in the long run. On the contrary, as recorded by some reflective studies on video games, these virtual medium of practising violence has reduced the rate of juvenile crime. Apart from that, children usually have timid sensibility by which most of the time they cannot differentiate between the gaming sequence and real life events, and this leads to crate violence in real life. But with comparatively grownups such as teenagers, they can get out of the gaming environment when the game gets over.
Social isolation is a grave consequence of video games. Considering the tight schedule of the children consisting of school time, tuitions, extracurricular classes and many more leave them with very little free time and due to the enclosed nature of nuclear family; they do not get any companion within the family. Thus, they take refuge in video games for playful fun and entertaining themselves. But studies by some American universities have shown that a gamer is not always lonely and tend to reduce their offline activities for playing video games, rather they tend to exchange time shifts such as sleeping late in daytime, studying at night and playing at usual day time or whenever they are free (Postmus 264). Apart from that, they witness the objectification of women at a very improper age when they cannot assess any kind of visualization of anything and continue with believing in them. The games mostly exhibit denial of authority which in real life gets echoed in the misbehaviour of the children or refusing to listen to parents or elders.
Spending too much time on the game console also causes health hazards in children. As it requires no physical activity, kids in America are seen tending to be obese. Obesity again leads other major health problems. Children who are really addicted to video games are often seen to either skip meals or leave eating incomplete. A study has reported that kids who play highly violent games are detected with symptoms such as dizziness, high pulse rate, nausea, eye problem, backaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, headache, numbness and join pains around shoulder, elbow, knee, wrist etc. (Hutchby 378). In the initial part how video games play the role of academic performance enhancer has been accounted. Simultaneously, they are potential enough to cause deterioration in the performance of children in academics as well. Childhood is a developing phase of a complete human being, and if it gets damaged then the rest of life of that human being remains as disintegrated.
Actually, things that a child ought to know after gaining certain knowledge about life, society and his or her surrounding, video games are showing those things beforehand when their mind is not ready to digest them properly (Rehman 462). Again a child on his or her own cannot be drawn towards video games. The parents should completely monitor and control the activity of children. At that vulnerable age, they would be attracted to anything that they would find interesting. At that age, they do not have any wisdom to distinguish between good or bad. Quite often it is seen with working parents, if their children remain outside after school that would be a cause of tension for them, thus restricting those children within home, they allow them to play on gaming consoles at home. This escaping mentality also works when the parents are exhausted and unable to spend time with their children. Like science, video games too are boon and bane at the same time. Thus, this paper can be concluded by saying this that video games do have strong negative effects on children, but they should be controlled to avail the advantages of the same.
Hamilton, Jill. Video Games. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. Print.
Hutchby, Ian, and Jo Moran-Ellis. Children, Technology, And Culture. London: Routledge/Falmer. 2001. Print.
Monsen, Rita Black. Children and Video Games. Journal of Pediatric Nursing 18.3 (2003): 206-207. Print.
Postmus, Judy L. Sexual Violence And Abuse. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Abc-Clio. 2013. Print.
Rehman, Shabina. Impact of Violent Video Games On Young Children. SSRN Journal. 2010. Print.