Video games have been readily available to consumers for a good number of years now. Experts consider them to be a unique form of entertainment that does allow the player to become part of the game script. Video games today are sophisticated, and they require the players to pay keen attention to the game. Some parents think that video games are a waste of time. Some of the education experts believe that these games corrupt the mind and brain of the player. The media blame the video games for the extreme antisocial behavior that some youths commit and the reason why some youths have become violent (Gentile 134). However, video games can be considered to have some benefits to the kids. The main benefit is that these games can make the kids smarter. They may also give children high level capacity of thinking that they may need in the future.
Positive Effects of Video Games
When a kid is playing a video game, it usually gives his or her brain a real workout. Skills that can be required to win most video games involve abstract and high thinking capacity. Most of these skills cannot be given in schools. The kid does learn to follow instructions carefully. The child’s logic and problem solving ability also rises. Some games also help to increase the child’s hand–eye coordination spatial skill and fine motors. This is the case where a kid is playing a game that involves shooting and movement (Coon 569). This requires a skilled player to keep track of the characters position always, their speed and direction. It also requires the player to know where the gun is aiming at and whether it is hitting the target. These factors must be seriously observed by the players. They must coordinate their brain interpretation and hand and fingerprints movement reaction. In order this to be considered successful; consequently, it requires a strong ability of eye-hand coordination and the visual-spatial ability. Some studies do show that experience with video games can be related to better surgical skills. Experts also say that fighter pilots are more skillful nowadays, credit to the generation that get weaned by video game.
The players also gain resource management and logistic skills. The players have to accomplish well the little resources that they have and decide on how to use them best, this also applies in their real life. This skill can be gained from some games such as Railroad Tycoon, SimCity and Age of Empires. The player also gets the skill of multitasking. This gets facilitated by the simultaneous tracking of a number of shifting variables and managing multiple objectives. For example, when a player is developing a game in a strategy game, an unexpected attack from an enemy may emerge. This requires the gamer’s level of flexibility and tactics to be high. The kid will also learn how to think quickly, make fast and ethical decisions and make fast analysis. Most of the times, the player does this almost in every second. This gives to the kid’s brain a real work out (Gee 15).
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Daphne Bavelier, a researcher and a cognitive scientist at the University of Rochester have a base about this. He says that games that do stimulate stressful events like those found in action games and battles can be of help. They can be like a training tool for situations in a real world. The study also suggests that when a kid plays action games, it facilitates the brain into making quick decisions. The study suggests that video games can be used positively to add more needed skills to the soldiers and the surgeon. The games can also increase kid’s level of strategy and anticipation. Steven Johnson, the author of Everything Bad Is good for you: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter, sees this as telescoping. He says that the person playing the game must be at a position to deal with immediate problems while also maintaining their horizon long term goals. The kid can also be considered to be at a better position to develop mathematics skills and reading skills. The reason is that the young gamers always force themselves to read in order to understand the instructions. They also have to follow the storyline of the games and have to get information from every game text. Math skill can be gained when the child has to win in many games that usually involve quantitative analysis like resources management. The kid does gain perseverance (Hatch 25). This happens when the kid fails to win the game and have to repeat the same game again and again until he emerges victorious. The child can be at the same level for a couple of times and have to persevere due to the curiosity and the desire to reach the next level. The kid can also be at a position to recognize patterns. Some games do have internal logics in them, and the players are supposed to figure them out by recognizing the patterns first.
Video games do make the kid to have inductive reasoning and a hypothesis testing. A professor of education at Wisconsin-Madison University, James Paul Gee, says that while playing a game, it is like working through a challenging science problem. The gamers must come up with a thesis just as students in the laboratory. For example, in some games, the players have to try out weapon combinations and power so as to defeat the enemy. If this fails, then they have to work out another thesis. Gee says that video games can be considered as goal driven experiences, which are fundamental to learning of the kids. The kid can also gain estimation skills. This might be experienced in a mission, when he has to estimate of the time required for a task before they get attacked by the enemy.
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Videogames introduce the kid to the computer technology and online world. They make the kids to be comfortable and at ease with computing concepts. Video games can allow the parent and the child to play together. This can help to increase the bond between the parent and the kid. Video games make learning activity as a fun thing to do. Children play games because of their colors, animation, and the challenge and rewards one get after winning the game. It makes the games appear like natural teachers, which motivates the kids in practicing and thus learning. The games can also make the child to be creative. In a study by Project, they revealed a connection between playing and high level of creativity (Hoyer 399). Video games are believed to improve the decision making speed of the kid. A study shows that kids who played video games that were action based make decisions 25% faster than the rest. This is without sacrificing accuracy according to the University of Rochester. Some other studies show that expert players can make some choices and always act on them up to six times every second, and this is four times than most people. They can also pay attention to more than six things in a single moment without getting confused. This is compared to four which the average man can handle. This is like a surprise, because the violent action based games that most parents worry about had the most beneficial brain effect. This is according to cognitive Daphne Bavelier, a neuroscientist who studies action games effect at the University of Geneva in Switzerland and Rochester University in New York.
Negative Effects of Video Games
Violence in children is blamed on faulty effects of video games. Kids who play video games that are more violent have an increased aggressiveness in behaviors, feelings and thoughts. These games interactive nature worsens the kid’s behaviors. The child does experience violence in his own eyes where he does the shooting, kicking, stabbing and killing. The repetition and active participation where rewards are given are excellent tools for adopting this behavior. When a child plays too much video game, he is likely to become isolated socially. The child may also lack enough time to do other activities like reading, sports and doing homework. Some video games can teach the kid wrong morals. The kid might get violent behavior, becomes aggressive and be full of vengeance. These kids know nothing about negotiation. These games can also confuse the kids about fantasy and reality. The games may also have the child’s academic performance lower due to the excess time spent when playing games and neglecting the studies (Hoyer 399). The kids’ health may also be affected. The adverse effects can include obesity, muscular and skeletal disorder such as tendonitis. The child can pick up foul language and behavior from other people when playing online. These games can also be addictive to kids, and this addiction is believed to cause an increase in anxiety level and depression.
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Ways to Make Children Affect Positively from Video Games
For a parent to make sure that the child benefits fully from video games, he or she should have a decision on what is acceptable in their home. The parent should explain to the kid why violent games are not necessary. Moreover, the parent should check the ratings of the game before buying and before allowing their children to play them. If the game has a theme of sex or violence behavior, the parent should prohibit this. Some game selling shops have decided to check the age limits of the kids (Foxman 236). Video game retailers decide to voluntarily increase the ID verification for M- and AO-rated games. This saw the sales of those games underage potential buyers to be reduced from 83% in 2000 to only 20% in 2008. The parent is also advised to determine the child’s maturity level before allowing the kid to play a game. The parent should choose games that do require the players to think of strategies and those that involve making decisions in a game environment. They should choose games that require multiple players to encourage group play. According to Robert Butterworth, a PhD who is located in Los Angeles, one should evaluate the games not only in terms of violence or obscenity, but also in terms of the mental engagement that the players need. Boys need to play games that will make them be in fantasy where they become conquering heroes. This may have a long term effect that will make them grow aspiring to win always.
Video games do have both positive and negative effects especially to the kids. The kid does learn to follow instructions carefully. The kid’s logic and problem solving ability also increases. The kid may similarly have an increased sharpness, which makes the kids ability to make decisions improved. However, these games have negative impacts to the kids. Games may increase addiction to the kids, making the kid neglect his studies and health. Parents are advised to always choose the games that the child is required to play. Parents should also encourage their children to play a game that requires logical thinking.