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Video Games on Children
Owing to the advent of digital media over the past few decades, technology has taken over many dimensions of the world and given the media a 360 degree turn by entirely switching the way it previously worked. The computer era not only changes the way transactions were done, documents were prepared, statistical tools were used and made the world global but it also changed the way sports and games were played. It converted the physical playground into a virtual one to quite a great extent and now, computer video games have become an increasingly important phenomenon of today for the entertainment of kids who now believe in virtual playgrounds (Anderson, Gentile, & Katherine E, 2007).
Every new change brings its pros and cons with it, and he computer era was a boom towards the video game industry which is still a significant use of computers and is not only becoming more popular by the day, but is also having impacts on the daily lives, routines and priorities of the children who play these video games. Where a lot of work has been done to develop games of the sort that help children in their studies such as in Mathematics, English and development of analytical skills which have helped children learn a lot from these and to polish their skills, they have also had a negative impact on children who like to play games that portray aggression and violence such as fighting, wrestling and even criminal games (Gunter, 1998). Minds of children are highly vulnerable and can be molded the way they are exposed to the kind of things they see around them, observe and use. Where computer games have shown to enhance mathematical and thinking skills of students manifold, computer has been declared as an ideal medium to tech children as it helps them retain their knowledge for much longer in a unique way that makes them understand things in a better way.
Where video games are an amazing means to inculcate education and training in the young minds for their growth, they can act as a very negative thing that could hinder their positive growth to a great extent. Video games that promote violence, negative imagery, and social isolation are merely regarded as money making machines because obviously children get attracted to these things instead of those that would focus on education and learning (Vorderer & Bryant, 1996). Companies that make these video games have n doubt, been making a lot of profit because of their selfish gains and lack of concern for the true development of children. Where all this hard work in the video game industry could have been devoted to educational and knowledge purposes for children, they have mostly been directed towards negative imagery and negative thoughts in the young minds that can be easily manipulated. Another problem here is that due to the rapid advent of technology, a huge generation gap has developed amongst the children and their Parents, and it has become very difficult to reduce this ever increasing gap because Parents are not as technology prone and do not have an idea of how bad an effect it has on their children who spend half the day sleeping and the remaining half plating video games, ignoring their physical health, mental growth, social standing, spending time with people and at the same time indulging into the wrongs of technology (Willoughby & Wood, 2008). It is extremely miserable that where technology can be such a useful thing, it can be so disastrous at the same time. It is ruining the futures of children, who are the upcoming youth of tomorrow, and thus it is very important for them to have healthy minds, bodies and souls that can help them make the world a better place.
According to research that has been conducted about the effects of video games, 2 opposite viewpoints are seen in the limelight. Some research like one conducted in India by Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), found that children who are exposed to violent video games for more than 14-16 hours a week show more aggressive behavior than those who are not exposed to violent video games. Moreover, the reach revealed that video games that had content like obscene content, violence and adventure caused children to get excited after which they became immune to it and looked for something more exciting in real life which was dangerous because they became more aggressive and hostile that way. ( Franciss & Subramanian, 2012).
Another study on analyzing the long-term effects suggested that video games were not only limited to children but elders and adults also got influenced by the usage of video games. Surprisingly, the study indicated that adults also had a similar effect as the children except that it was relatively lesser intense. The research also found that people who were exposed to video games for long hours ultimately lost focus on everything else like reading and writing and their patience level had reduced manifold. They were so used to getting exposed to the light and sound of the video games that they couldn't concentrate as much on anything else that was more subtle and less vibrant than the video games (Krogstad, 2010).
A research by the Harvard Mental Health Letter used words like Blood and aggression, Intensity and violence as well as strong sexual content and drugs usage to describe what kind of content most video games had in them. It mentioned one of the most famous video game series Grand Theft Auto which was rated as the highest played game at that point in time and said that it had all this content that is mentioned. It obviously had a very negative impact on the minds of young kids who basically copy, imitate and quickly learn what they see around them especially when it fascinates them. It is therefore important to see what content the children see and how much time they spend using even though children have their own way of reacting to stimuli. Some would react instantly and negatively and it would affect them for a longer period whereas some would be less affected by the content they see and it would be short-term. It also depends on the age of the children and their level of exposure towards these games.
Even though some researchers blame these video games to be responsible for the social isolation and negative behavior of children, some researchers believe that they are a reason for excitement and fun for children and they also like to share their experiences about these video games with their parents and other people as well as friends so t actually promotes their social life. This research however gave some tips to the parents to avoid the negative effects of video games which include going through the checking of ESRB rating in order to understand the sort of content a video game has, to play those video games with children to see what the games portray, to allow the children to play the games only in front of everyone else instead of playing them alone in their rooms as it could highlight the social isolation aspect. Other than this, there should be a limit to the number of hours they can play these games. Too much exposure would mean a greater and more intense effect. (Harvard Mental Health Letter, 2010). One research also argued that this violence and obscene content is also available on television etc. But these video games effectively become a virtually practical experience for them to be followed in real life (Lussier, 2010).
One study indicated that kids had become addicted to video games and faced withdrawal symptoms if asked to live without them. This study was held in Singapore and included over 3000 children for study and indicated that over 9% of the children were addicted and that this addiction had really interfered with their grades, emotional imbalance as well as their behavior. This study was one of the first to be conducted relating to outcomes of video gaming. Children who were exposed to games were reported to have a few temporary and some permanent consequences in their behavior especially if they played games for over 21 hours a week. The temporary consequences could be removed in a few years' time but the dangerous ones were the permanent ones. However this trend could be changed by limiting the number of hours the children played these games. The study also found that if they were monitored and controlled regarding the kind of games they played for a limited number of hours, then its negative consequences could be avoided (Olson & Star Tribune (Minneapolis), 2011).
An additional study suggested findings which were that when boys owned video consoles and had no control over the number of video games they played and the amount of time they spent on them, their academic achievement was impaired to a great…[continue]
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-Onge, Keller, and Heymsfield, children are spending a lot of their time performing a wide range of sedentary activities including but not limited to playing computer games and watching television (qtd. In Stern and Kazaks 97). Lack of physical exercises has been identified as one of the contributing factors to obesity. It therefore follows that sedentary video game activities effectively increase a child's chances of being obese. Dissenting Views In seeking to
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