The Video Game Controversy

What I Know and I Need To Find Out

Currently the video game industry is booming with 97% of teenagers in the United States being directly involved in playing it. Domestically, the video game industry generates an estimated $12 billion annually (Netzley 11). This form of entertainment is associated with both positive and negative effects

The most commonly known advantage of video games is notably being related to the user’s computer dexterity and literacy. Moors law dictates that processor power for computer based devices will increase every two years therefore improved graphics usually enable proper simulation of real life events.

Therapists have linked the idea of aggressive behaviours from children and teenagers to video games. This notion is also taken up by parents since most popular video games comprise violent content. The link between video games and violence may result partly from the duration children and teenagers are allowed to play them. Considering the exponentially growing industry, this can cause impairment in dealing with stress in the future (Tomporowski,et al.41).

A survey done by the Kaiser family foundation indicated that the youth aged 8 to 18 allocate seven and a half hours a day engaging in entertainment media (Embrick,et al.82). The survey indicated that less than half of the research group have parents who impose rules related to the media entertainment.

Interactive video games mostly involve the user identifying with his popular character.as the player continues winning and his skill mastery grows, he is allowed to move up game levels.

What I Did

In performing the research, an educative hypothesis was formed. This enabled me to find a common ground on the effects of video games. Due to the controversy of video games, the research required both the formation of a positive and a null hypothesis. It involved focussing on elements which affect video game players. This included the player’s educational performance and health in relation to how often they are involved in playing video games. Another point of study was the player’s behaviour in relation to the level of violence in the game.  The player’s visual attention was also considered in relation to the game structure. The structural mechanics which could affect both hand-eye combinations was considered to test the players’ cognitive abilities. Data was obtained from players aged between 8 and 18 and from parents who have actively gaming children.

What I Have Learned

The controversy involved when considering the effects of video games can either be positive or negative.

Positive Effects of Video Games

When someone is playing video games, the mind is at a constant state of work.  This is evident by the fact that winning involves critical thinking and determination of strategies that would ultimately make the player victorious.  These skills are inbuilt and are not taught in their respective schools. The skills come naturally developed.

An example of some of these skills includes Problem solving and logic. A game like angry birds involves critical thinking. In order to advance to the next level one needs to predict the trajectory involved in hitting the cages to free the trapped birds. Another example is tomb raider which gives minimal in form of clues. It requires the player to think critically to solve an issue.

Games aid the player in improving motor and spatial skills and increase the hand to eye coordination (Tomporowski,et al.44). Shooting games like call of duty and far cry involves the player running and shooting at the same time. This skill involves the user keeping track of the relative position of the player, the direction in which one is heading, the motion rate, position of the gun, determining whether the gun has a lock on his enemy, and so on. These factors need to be considered for effectiveness. The player then needs to coordinate his brain functions with his hands and fingertips which control the movements of the virtual player. In order to succeed the process definitely requires a huge deal of visual-spatial ability and eye-hand coordination.  Studies also prove that gamers can learn visual attention, spatial, and iconic skills from the virtual games.

Games can also involve logistics planning and resource management. In a virtual simulation, the player might be required to manage his limited resources and determine the best way required to utilize the resources. These skills can be transferred in the real life. Games which aid in recovering this skill include SimCity, Tycoon, age of empire, and rail road. Some organizations have gone as far as claiming that these simulations have aided in teenagers deciding on the profession of urban planning. Some of these notable organizations include the American planning organization and the trade association.

Video games also aid in improving skills involved in multi–tasking. Virtual games contain simulations which contain various shifting variables (Tomporowski,et al.47). This enables the players to adapt and objectively manage their actions. In strategy games like SimCity, an unknown variable like an enemy attacking can come out of nowhere. This requires the player to find a way of defending his creation and at the same time continue with his building to prevent future vulnerabilities.

Video games also improve the players’ accuracy. This is mostly evident in action oriented games. Rochester University provided a study which attested that the video games trained the real life player’s brain. This enables them to make faster decisions while maintaining focus on their accuracy. In the current world, accuracy is an important trait which can be used in many situations like sports (Attwood 43).

Strategy and anticipation is also an important trait acquired from video games. The author of Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter, Steven Johnson provided a name for this technique. He called it telescoping. The gamer is required to solve current problems while having the goal of finishing the game in mind.

Situational awareness can also be acquired from video games. Defence News gave a report about the Army involving training soldiers through video games to improve their situational awareness. The player is trained to prepare for un-foreseen outcomes and enable them prepare appropriately.

Negative Effects of Video Games

Violence in game simulations are mostly blamed for aggressive effects among its users. Children who involve themselves in active gaming are likely to obtain unwanted traits like having increased thoughts, feelings and behaviours of increased aggressiveness. According to Wolf (p.44) involvement of large quantities of simulated violence can make an active gamer become immune to the violence.This will result to failure in showing empathy in real life situations where violence would erupt.

The violence in video games is definitely worsened by their interactive nature (Tomporowski,et al.62). Some gamers depict highly graphical features of violence making them enticing. This makes children prone to performing them. Games like WWE wrestle mania which is popular among kids contains violent content that they sometimes want to replicate. When the violent action is seen by the child repeatedly, it might enable him to become permanently aggressive. The games are also involved in rewarding violence. The active repetition, reward and participation is always an effective tool used for teaching. This can also result too negative modelled behaviour.

The American psychologists association had a conclusion that there is a definite link between violent action games and increased aggression from game users (Attwood 59). But they have insufficient evidence in backing up this claim and have resulted to many experts rebutting this statement. In Massachusetts institute of technology an expert in the field of psychology known as henry Jenkins has claimed that juvenile offending has decreased in relation to violent games such as death race, grand theft auto, mortal combat or doom. He attested the fact that the emotions involved in playing the game are left behind after the game comes to an end. He claimed that cases like the columbine and Newport have significant impact on juvenile offending but are the actions of human nature. The world will always contain violent people. That’s human nature. It’s just that some of these violent people have a knack for finding video games interesting.

Social isolation can result from too much video game.  This can also result to children spending less time in other related constructive activities such as doing homework or being involved in sporting activities (Tomporowski,et al.73).  Researchers at University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology and North Carolina State University, New York provided a study that attested that gamers are not involved in replacing their offline non-virtual lives with a virtual gaming life. The virtual life expands their capability to form new relations. Gamers are known as being mostly loners and that is not a new concept.

Some games outright teaches children the wrong values. The logo for explicit content is mostly ignored by most gamers since these are usually the most popular (Attwood 65). Games like Grand theft auto don’t even hide violence or their sexual content. The game has gone as far as including prostitutes who one can solicit their services at a particular virtual money currency. Children can at times take these actions and model themselves according to those behaviours.

What this means to me – will it make a difference in your life? how and why?

This issue is a lesson to me when it comes to awareness on the need to address uncensored video game played by children and teenagers. It is worth to note that eliminating the games is not an option. However, my knowledge gained from the study has made significant difference in the way I look at video games. While I previously thought that only negative effects are associated with video games, the research study and literature reviews from other authors have convinced me to see a positive side of it. However, I have also noted the need to push the concerned authorities through media campaign for censure to check what the children and teenagers play. Violent and explicit sexual pictures are some of the worst aspect of the video games. Generally, I have learnt the need for further reading to explore the possible measures to reconcile the benefits of video game and social fabric of the young people.

What This Means to Me

Popular games are usually the one with the most violent content. Therefore, there would be no point in trying to eradicate the booming industry from the market. The only method could entail limiting the game content and trying to filter the kind of games that the youth play. The industry is definitely beneficial to the country’s economy and is also involved in creating thousands of job opportunities. The best method would involve increasing awareness to parents to limit the time their children take to play video games. Children should be encouraged to do some nature activities which will eventually improve their social skills. Video games can definitely be a powerful tool in teaching different skills mostly because of its sheer popularity. Games should be structured in a way that would enable children obtain some aspects of their educational concept.

Get a 10 % discount on an order above $ 100
Use the following coupon code :
SKYSAVE