Effect of Video Games on Kids

Tessa Johnson Professor Harrison Composition II 2 October 2012 Effect of Video Games on Kids Growing up, playing outside was what I did for fun. Whether it was riding my bike, playing with friends, or swimming, I was outside for hours at a time every day. Today, kids have access to things like Xboxes, Playstations, and Nintendo DS. In a study conducted by Gentile, Lynch, Linder & Walsh (2004) “adolescent girls played video games for an average of 5 hours a week, whereas boys averaged 13 hours a week. A survey done by Harris Interactive shows that 23 percent of youth have felt “addicted to video games. ” Studies have shown that teenagers who play violent video games for extended periods of time tend to be more aggressive, are more prone to engage in fights and confrontations, and see a decline in academic success. (Gentile et al) In 2010, Robert Weis and Brittany Cerankosky conducted a study to see how video games affect academic success.
They selected a group of boys who didn’t own video games and assigned them to one of two conditions: the “video games now” group got a game system immediately, and the “video games later” group didn’t receive their systems until months later. The researchers tracked the boys’ academic success at school. They found that the boys who got their game systems immediately spent less time on schoolwork and, 4 months later, they got lower reading and writing scores. This makes sense, since more time spent playing video games means less time studying.
Also, the distraction of video games can cause kids to lose interest in their studies and cause them to fall behind. These results line up with another survey done by Cummings and Vandewater in 2007, which concluded that kids aged 10-19 who played video games spent 30% less time reading and 34% less time doing homework. (Cummings & Vandewater) A 2009 Brigham Young University study found that as video game usage increased, the quality of relationships with others, including family, friends, and other peers, decreased. The BYU Study found that daily video game users were twice as likely to use drugs.

They were three times as likely to use drugs over those who never played games. This doesn’t mean that all kids who play video games are going to go out and do drugs, but it certainly doesn’t help anything. If a child spends hours at a time playing video games, they will have no time to form relationships and socialize, not giving them the social skills they may need to succeed in the future. This can set them up for failure in job interviews, school, and in building solid relationships that are crucial to every teenager’s life. However, there are also many positive elements of video games.
According to Chacha Tumbokon, a psychologist at De La Salle University, video games can give kids betters skills in areas such as following directions, problem solving and logic, and hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Often times the player is asked to follow commands or prompts in a video game in order to gain rewards or status, which aids with following directions. Also, when there is a challenge in a game, it doesn’t get solved easily; the player is often forced to work through many riddles or obstacles in order to succeed—another important life lesson for a child to learn.
And lastly, video games require a great deal of hand-eye coordination. Often times games require the player to change viewpoints with one control, move with another control, and do actions (shooting, jumping, etc. ) with another control. This builds up hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, which is a good workout for the brain. Another common aspect of games is resource management. There are often a limited number of resources (such as lives, power-ups, money, etc. ) that has to be managed in order to succeed in a game. This is another valuable lesson that many kids should learn in their lifetime.
James Paul Gee, professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says that playing a video game is similar to working through a science problem. There is a lot of trial and error involved, which teaches a child inductive reasoning and hypothesis testing, something that can be used in many areas of life. In conclusion, there are many positive and negative effects of video games. Psychologists suggest that parents monitor the games that are being played by their children and make sure the games aren’t affecting the child’s

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