How Do Video Games Affect Children?

Introduction

Like any other thing video games have positive and negative effects. Many children nowadays stay indoors where they spend most of the time on the screen. Many games have been developed from the need for speed and road rash racing games to the grand theft vice city mission games. Other games like the IGI include shooting and killing opponents. In this present world of video graphics the games become more complex and detailed. The children have become gurus in the art of playing and they compete against a virtual world. Many are the effects of these games, and whether good or bad, the practice has become a trend of the society, which they see as a source of fun and enjoyment.

In 1993, the video game industry started rating video games and labeled them; “EC for early childhood, E for ‘everyone,’ T for ‘teen,’ M for ‘mature.’ AO for adults only and RP for ‘rating pending’,” as an aim to ensure the children play correct games for their ages (Gunter, 1998). Children always graduate and when they are used to one game, they will require another to eliminate monotony. Children generally have their way to most games thanks to the ease of accessibility. This report gives the positive and negatives effects of playing video games and the best roles that can reduce the negative effects which are felt when there is excessive video game playing.

Positive effects

Video games are first and foremost a way to entertain and have fun. Many children are enthusiastic while playing the games and it eliminates the boredom that may be present. The games also come in many designs, concepts, and graphics so that it may suit what the child wants. This will help the child in concentrating on what he enjoys best and enjoy it. It can also enhance the development of a talent since the child can later perfect the skills practically in the real world.

Video games introduce the child to the computer world. Once a child starts playing the games through the computer, he will have an opportunity to navigate through the computer system in search of their favorable games. The need of playing video game introduces the concept of computers to the child who may not have known the concept without the lure of the game (Vorderer, & Bryant, 2006).

Video games can be designed so that they give procedures for certain processes. The game in this case will allow the child to learn the steps and grasp them since it mixes fun and learning, giving a better understanding of the process. Other games are designed to have aspects in problem solving while others enhance the use of logic to play the game. This equips the child with such concepts which they will be much enhanced in future (Gentile, 2009 p.596). Many children who play computer games always recall how the games go on and if they are problem solving then the child will automatically solve the problem easily.

Games also provide for practice so that the child uses fine motor and spatial skills, where the child learns into details, all what happens in the game due to concentration. Games can bond children and parents such that when a child is not in good terms with the parent a game can make the child love the parent again. The parent can go further and play along with the child and this will enhance the bonding. Games in this era are so sophisticated since the technology used is so complex that the child gets more interested and curious. This will help introduce the child to information technology and get interests in graphics and designing. This will also help shape the future of the child especially in technology (Graf, Pratt, Hester, & Short, 2009 para.6). Some games are therapeutic in nature. Patients can be given some games so as to reduce effects of stress or depression. Giving such games to children will also always reduce the effect of a monotony of books, school, and home environment to relax and have fun.

Negative effects

Many negative effects are brought about by the excessive playing of the video game. This may result to addiction which will bring other related side effects such as; video-induced seizures, postural, muscular, and skeletal disorders e.g. tendonitis, nerve compression, and carpal tunnel syndrome, and elevated systolic blood pressure (Brady, & Matthews, 2006 p.343). Excessive play of the game by the child will make the child over reliant on the game and hence spend more time playing the games leading to social isolation. This may also take a lot of time for the child such that the academic part of his/her life will be negatively affected.

According to Gray (2009 para.6), children playing exercise oriented games burn about three times more calories than those who sit just watching. This can be seen as a source of obesity where children will prefer to stay indoors and play games rather than walk around strolling, jogging, or playing ball. Many games bring confusion and illusions in the real world in that children may live in fantasy due to the addiction of playing games. In many games, women are seen as weak or helpless while in others they are not used and when used they are used for sexual appeal. This makes the child have negative attitude towards the gender in which he/she belongs to. Ladies may feel that they are helpless to boys and boys may feel supreme.

Many games developed have an outlay of weapons, killings, and impunity. Such games give violence the lead in the child’s brain. According to Cook et al (2006 para.5), many violent games are being played by children and the child gets the impression on violence such that the child may want to test what he sees thus leading to violence. When children play violent video games, the results are higher physiological arousal, increased aggressiveness in feelings, behaviors, and a decrease in pro-social setting. This may lead to fighting with peers or even confrontations with elders. Many of these effects may be long term which implies that prevention should be emphasized. According to Gentile (2009 p.598), 8.5% of those who play video games are aged 8-18 years and they show pathological patterns of play this is explained as having approximately 6 out of 11 symptoms of family, social, school, or psychological functioning damage. This means that most children who play video games may be socially alienated or have difficulties in fitting in social places such as schools and churches.

Conclusion

Many children give various reasons for playing games including; its fun, they like to feel they are in control, it helps release anxiety and tension, it eliminates boredom, they are able to play physical games, and it helps in mastering the art of something. With all these reason, parents have a role to play in the life of their children. Since most of the negative effects of playing video games are seen when the habit has persisted, then they need to regulate time for playing such video games. They should also check the rating for any games so as to avoid buying games that are not in the age group of the child. The parent should also buy games which can be played in multiple to enable the child involve others in the game. Violent games should also be avoided and a balance of school and fun should be ensured so that the child remains active socially and academically. Parents need to also enjoy and have fun with their children in some of the games to enhance parent child relationships and a check on what the child is doing.

Works Cited

Brady, Sonya S., & Matthews, Karen. A. “Effects of media violence on health-related outcomes among young men.” Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 160, 341-347. (2006).

Cook, Donald E., et al.Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit.” American Academy of Pediatrics. 2000.Web.

Gentile, Douglas. A. “Pathological video game use among youth 8 to 18: A national study.” Psychological Science, 20, 594-602. (2009).Web.

Graf, Diana L, Pratt, Lauren V, Hester, Casey N, & Short, Kelvin R Playing Active Video Games Increases Energy Expenditure in Children. Pediatrics, 124, No.2, pp. 534-540. 2009. Web.

Gunter, Barrie. The effects of video games on children: the myth unmasked. Sheffield, Continuum International Publishing Group. 1998.

Vorderer, Peter & Bryant, Jennings. Playing video games: motives, responses, and consequences. New Jersey, Routledge, 2006.