The effects of video games and other media on children
Everything in the modern era revolves around technology. It has gotten to the point where some people are reliant on it for basic social interactions like setting up a date or communicating with friends, but where did this all stem from? Well take a look into a person’s childhood and see how the evolution of technology has changed the way people do things and also how it has changed the definition of what is seen as ‘normal’. Video games have negative effects on children between the ages of eight and sixteen as they desensitize them to violence and reduce their social interaction.
Video games give children a sense of desensitization at a young age and also stray children from social interactions that may be necessary for future productivity in society. A study by science direct stated, “It is believed that repeated exposure to real-life and to entertainment violence may alter cognitive, affective, and behavioral processes, possibly leading to desensitization.”(Department of Psychology, The University of Toledo) This exposure to violence normalizes acts of violence as something they see every day and thus makes them act out more violently. The study goes on to talk about effects of media and television on children. Another article sourced from The Telescope, a newspaper at Palomar College, said, “The times of playing together with friends is over. Modern games are designed to be played alone for many many hours”(Keanu Marble-Smith) Videogames take away many social interactions the children have with other children and causing them not to go out and play and interact with other children. The effects video games have on children both take away their assessment of violence and their ability to interact with other people.
Violence is the main theme of many video games if not most, if a player succeeds in killing they eventually receive awards and end up finishing the game wanting more. Teens averaging 13 hours per week of continuous video games are really expected to display many aggressive behaviors. The designers of these games may or may not intend to have this sizable impact, but either way, children are caught in between. Violent games repeatedly show signs of aggression. . It’s not a surprise youths exhibit more aggressive behaviors and attitudes. Decrease in empathy for victims lead to a higher possibility of people to become more violent individuals. Aggressive delinquency is very common among students who play intense video games since authority is absent in video games, meaning a player is not punished for his action as in real life. Several incidents that were reported in the United States have been linked one way or another with the overuse of video games effecting teen’s minds.
Some might argue that there are positives to playing video games as well such as improved spatial skills and problem solving. A study by Shawn Green and Daphne Bavelier tested attentional control as it relates to video games. “Crowding thresholds, the minimum distance between a target and a distractor wherein the target can still be individuated and identified, are often thought to be indicative of the spatial resolution of visual attention” (Green, Bavelier). Videogames are capable of helping people to visualize and target through a field of stimulus. Players have increased spatial skills due to constant exposure. Video games have positive effects on players’ problem solving abilities. “The more adolescents reported playing strategic video games, such as role-playing games, the more they improved in problem solving and school grades the following year” The ability to solve problems is proven to be enhanced by playing video games. In most cases the player is following a story line and has to solve each problem to move on to the next challenge. However, while video games can have these positive effects, do these positives really out way the mental strain that they can impose.
Not only do video games negatively affect their players, but they can be addictive as well. In a study from Addiction and Health, the authors state, “The results of the present study showed that in general, there was a significant difference between social skills and addiction to computer games. In addition, they showed that the individuals who were addicted to these games had lower social skills than those who were normal.”(Zamani) addiction directly impacts the social abilities of those who play video games. Video game addiction has become a mental disorder in recent years. “video game “addiction” is a problem among adolescents, particularly among males, and that addiction is associated with adjustment problems such as school performance and aggressive attitudes and behaviors.” (Hauge, Gentile). If played too often, children become susceptible to addiction which has very negative influences on them. Not only is addiction harmful to a child’s mental state, it also take away time from their childhood that can be put to better use. Video games have the negative effects of desensitization to violence and antisocial behavior, but an addiction is a catalyst of the two, it accelerates the process.
To enhance the positive effects of video games while reducing the negative effects, we must limit the hours we play, and also take good care in choosing the right games for the right age groups. The content of the game is the major issue.
Everything in the modern era revolves around technology. It has gotten to the point where some people are reliant on it for basic social interactions like setting up a date or communicating with friends, but where did this all stem from? Well take a look into a person’s childhood and see how the evolution of technology has changed the way people do things and also how it has changed the definition of what is seen as ‘normal’. People argue that its good for children’s minds and that it gives them an outlet to communicate with other kids from around the world. However, video games have negative effects on children between the ages of eight and sixteen as they have had a reputation of negative effects such as obesity, lack of social skills, addiction, aggressive and violent behavior, sleep deprivation, increase in possibility of hurting others, confusion between reality and fantasy, decline in academic achievements, and insite bad language.