Is playing video games great or terrible? It might be both.
Video games are scowled upon by parents as time-wasters, and more regrettable, some training specialists imagine that these diversions degenerate the cerebrum. Violent video games are effectively faulted by the media and a few specialists as the motivation behind why some youngsters get vicious or submit compelling against social conduct. But numerous researchers and therapists find that video games can really have numerous profits – the principle one is making children keen. Video games might really show kids large amount of thinking aptitudes that they will require later in their lives.
“Video games change your brain,” according to University of Wisconsin psychologist C. Shawn Green. Playing video games change the brain’s physical structure the same way as do learning to read, playing the piano, or navigating using a map. Much like activity can fabricate muscle, the effective synthesis of fixation and compensating surges of neurotransmitters like dopamine reinforce neural circuits that can build the brain.
Below are the good and bad effects of video games, according to researchers and child experts:
Positive Effects of Video Games
When a person plays video games, it gives the person’s brain a real workout. In many video games, the skills required to win involve abstract and high level thinking. These skills are not even taught at school. Some of the mental skills enhanced by video games include:
-Following instructions -Problem solving and logic
When kids play games such as The Incredible Machine, Angry Birds or Cut The Rope, they train their brain to come up with creative ways to solve puzzles and other problems in short bursts
–Hand-eye coordination, fine motor and spatial skills
In shooting games, the character may be running and shooting at the same time. This requires the real-world player to keep track of the position of the character, where he/she is heading, their speed, where the gun is aiming, if the gunfire is hitting the enemy, and so on. All these factors need to be taken into account, and then the player must then coordinate the brain’s interpretation and reaction with the movement in their hands and fingertips. This process requires a great deal of eye-hand coordination and visual-spatial ability to be successful. Research also suggests that people can learn iconic, spatial, and visual attention skills from video games. There have been even studies with adults showing that experience with video games is related to better surgical skills. Also, a reason given by experts as to why fighter pilots of today are more skillful is that this generation’s pilots are being weaned on video games.
–Planning, resource management and logistics
The player learns to manage resources that are limited, and decide the best use of resources, the same way as in real life. This skill is honed in strategy games such as SimCity, Age of Empires, and Railroad Tycoon. Notably, The American Planning Association, the trade association of urban planners and Maxis, the game creator, have claimed that SimCity has inspired a lot of its players to take a career in urban planning and architecture.
–Multitasking, simultaneous tracking of many shifting variables and managing multiple objectives
In strategy games, for instance, while developing a city, an unexpected surprise like an enemy might emerge. This forces the player to be flexible and quickly change tactics.
–Quick thinking, making fast analysis and decisions. S
ometimes the player does this almost every second of the game giving the brain a real workout. According to researchers at the University of Rochester, led by Daphne Bavelier, a cognitive scientist, games simulating stressful events such as those found in battle or action games could be a training tool for real-world situations. The study suggests that playing action video games primes the brain to make quick decisions. Video games can be used to train soldiers and surgeons, according to the study. Importantly, decisions made by action-packed video game players are no less accurate. According to Bavelier, “Action game players make more correct decisions per unit time. If you are a surgeon or you are in the middle of a battlefield, that can make all the difference.”
Action games, according to a study by the University of Rochester, train the brains of players to make faster decisions without losing accuracy. In today’s world, it is important to move quickly without sacrificing accuracy.
–Strategy and anticipation
Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good For You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter, calls this “telescoping.” Gamers must deal with immediate problems while keeping their long-term goals on their horizon.
Defense News reported that the Army include video games to train soldiers improve their situational awareness in combat. Many strategy games also require players to become mindful of sudden situational changes in the game and adapt accordingly.
–Developing reading and math skills
Young gamers force themselves to read to get instructions, follow storylines of games, and get information from the game texts. Also, using math skills is important to win in many games that involves quantitative analysis like managing resources.
In higher levels of a game, players usually fail the first time around, but they keep on trying until they succeed and move on to the next level.
Games have internal logic in them, and players figure it out by recognizing patterns.
–Inductive reasoning and hypothesis testing
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. Like students in a laboratory, gamers must come up with a hypothesis. For example, players in some games constantly try out combinations of weapons and powers to use to defeat an enemy. If one does not work, they change hypothesis and try the next one. Video games are goal-driven experiences, says Gee, which are fundamental to learning.
Gamers use in-game maps or build maps on their heads to navigate around virtual worlds.
Playing first person shooter games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield series enables players to effectively judge what information should be stored in their working memory and what can be discarded considering the task at hand, according to a study published in the Psychological Research.
A study conducted by the Appalachia Educational Laboratory reveal that children with attention-deficit disorder who played Dance Dance Revolution improve their reading scores by helping them concentrate.
–Improved ability to rapidly and accurately recognize visual information
A study from Beth Israel Medical Center NY, found a direct link between skill at video gaming and skill at keyhole, or laparoscopic, surgery. –Taking risks– Winning in any game involves a player’s courage to take risks. Most games do not reward players who play safely.
–Teamwork and cooperation when played with others
Many multiplayer games such as Team Fortress 2 involve cooperation with other online players in order to win. These games encourage players to make the most of their individual skills to contribute to the team. According to a survey by Joan Ganz Cooney Center, teachers report that their students become better collaborators after using digital games in the classroom.
Management simulation games such as Rollercoaster Tycoon and Zoo tycoon teach players to make management decisions and manage the effective use of finite resources. Other games such as Age of Empires and Civilization even simulate managing the course of a civilization.
-Simulation, real world skills
The most well known simulations are flight simulators, which attempt to mimic the reality of flying a plane. All of the controls, including airspeed, wing angles, altimeter, and so on, are displayed for the player, as well as a visual representation of the world, and are updated in real time.
-Video games help children with dyslexia read faster and with better accuracy, according to a study by the journalCurrent Biology. In addition, Spatial and temporal attention also improved during action video game training. Attentional improvement can directly translate into better reading abilities.
–Release of Aggression and Frustration. Violent video games may act as a release of pent-up aggression and frustration. When a person vents his frustration and anger in his game, this diffuses his stress. Games can provide a positive aggression outlet the same way as football and other violent sports.
-A 2013 study by the Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for Human Development and St. Hedwig-Hospital found a significant gray matter increase in the right hippocampus, the right prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum of those who played Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day over two months. These regions of the brain are crucial for spatial navigation, strategic planning, working memory and motor performance. Indeed, the increased gray matter in these parts of the brain is positively correlated with better memory. Decreased gray matter is correlated with bipolar disorder and dementia. What’s also striking is that those who enjoyed playing the game has a more pronounced gain in gray matter volume. Thestudysuggests that video game training could be used to counteract known risk factors for smaller hippocampus and prefrontal cortex volume in, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative disease.
Negative Effects of Video Games
Most of the bad effects of video games are blamed on the violence they contain. Children who play more violent video games are more likely to have increased aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and decreased prosocial helping, according to a scientific study (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). The effect of video game violence in kids is worsened by the games’ interactive nature. In many games, kids are rewarded for being more violent. The act of violence is done repeatedly. The child is in control of the violence and experiences the violence in his own eyes (killings, kicking, stabbing and shooting). This active participation, repetition and reward are effective tools for learning behavior. Indeed, many studies seem to indicate that violent video games may be related to aggressive behavior (such as Anderson & Dill, 2000; Gentile, Lynch & Walsh, 2004). However, the evidence is not consistent and this issue is far from settled. Many experts including Henry Jenkins of Massachusetts Institute of Technology have noted that there is a decreased rate of juvenile crime whch coincides with the popularity of games such as Death Race, Mortal Kombat, Doom and Grand Theft auto. He concludes that teenage players are able to leave the emotional effects of the game behind when the game is over. Indeed there are cases of teenagers who commit violent crimes who also spend great amount of time playing video games such as those involved in the Columbine and Newport cases. It appears that there will always be violent people, and it just so happen that many of them also enjoy playing violent video games.
Too much video game playing makes your kid socially isolated. Also, he may spend less time in other activities such as doing homework, reading, sports, and interacting with the family and friends.
Some video games teach kids the wrong values. Violent behavior, vengeance and aggression are rewarded. Negotiating and other nonviolent solutions are often not options. Women are often portrayed as weaker characters that are helpless or sexually provocative.
Games can confuse reality and fantasy.
Academic achievement may be negatively related to over-all time spent playing video games. Studies have shown that the more time a kid spends playing video games, the poorer is his performance in school. (Anderson & Dill, 2000; Gentile, Lynch & Walsh, 2004). A study by Argosy University’s Minnesota School on Professional Psychology found that video game addicts argue a lot with their teachers, fight a lot with their friends, and score lower grades than others who play video games less often. Other studies show that many game players routinely skip their homework to play games, and many students admitted that their video game habits are often responsible for poor school grades.
Although some studies suggest that playing video games enhances a child’s concentration, other studies, such as a 2012 paper published inPsychology of Popular Media Culture, have found that games can hurt and help children’s attention issues — improving the ability to concentrate in short bursts but damaging long-term concentration.
Video games may also have bad effects on some children’s health, including obesity, video-induced seizures. and postural, muscular and skeletal disorders, such as tendonitis, nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome.
When playing online, your kid can pick up bad language and behavior from other people, and may make your kid vulnerable to online dangers.
A study by the Minneapolis-based National Institute for Media and the Family suggests that video games can be addictive for kids, and that the kids’ addiction to video games increases their depression and anxiety levels. Addicted kids also exhibit social phobias. Not surprisingly, kids addicted to video games see their school performance suffer.
Kids spending too much time playing video games may exhibit impulsive behavior and have attention problems. This is according to a new study published in the February 2012 issue of the Journal of Psychology and Popular Media Culture. For the study, attention problems were defined as difficulty engaging in or sustaining behavior to reach a goal.
When I’m talking to people about why video games matter, I like to quote one of Woody Allen’s finest pieces of advice: “Eighty percent of life is showing up.” More than almost anything else, showing up matters. You can’t find your talent for football if you never touch a ball. You can’t make friends if you avoid other people. You can’t get the job if you don’t apply. You’ll never write that screenplay if you don’t start typing.
Games are about everyone showing up. In classrooms full of students who range from brilliant to sullen disaffection, it’s games — and often games alone — that I’ve seen engage every single person in the room. For some, the right kind of play can spell the difference between becoming part of something, and the lifelong feeling that they’re not meant to take part.
Why is this? Video games are a special kind of play, but at root they’re about the same things as other games: embracing particular rules and restrictions in order to develop skills and experience rewards. When a game is well-designed, it’s the balance between these factors that engages people on a fundamental level. Play precedes civilization. It spans continents and generations. It’s how we naturally learn the most basic mechanical and social skills — and how, at its best, we can build a safe space for discovering more about ourselves.
During her talk, Jane McGonigal discusses the top five regrets that people express at the end of their lives. People don’t long for money, status or marble monuments. They wish they’d worked less hard, been better at staying in touch with friends, and more fully expressed their hopes and true selves. They wish they had shown up for more of the stuff that truly matters — and one of the things that games like Jane’s do is create structures and incentives to help people focus on these things while they still have time.
Some people are suspicious of any attempt to manufacture this kind of experience — and I can understand why. Ispokeat TED Global 2010 about the ways that video games engage the brain, and in particular the idea of reward structures: how a challenge or task can be broken down and presented to make it as engaging as possible. This can seem a slightly sinister idea: a manipulation that replaces genuine experience with boxes to tick and hoops to jump through. At worst, you end up with a jumble of “badges” and “achievements” dumped on top of a task in a misguided effort to make it fun.
From exam grading to health education to professional training to democratic participation, paths towards self-realization and success in the world are often daunting and obscure: journeys only the privileged feel confident setting off along.— Tom Chatfield
Yet the best games — and the lessons to be learned from them — are far more than this. The world is already full of systems aimed at measuring, motivating and engaging us. And most of them are, by the standards of great games, simply not good enough. From exam grading to health education to professional training to democratic participation, paths towards self-realization and success in the world are often daunting and obscure: journeys only the privileged feel confident setting off along.
If there’s one lesson we should take from games, it’s that we can make this first step vastly easier and more accessible — and can, given sufficient care, prompt people of all backgrounds and abilities towards richer living. This isn’t to say that it’s easy, obvious, or that games embody any royal road towards contentment. What modernity’s potent mix of play and technology does offer, though, is an unprecedented opportunity to know ourselves better — and, in doing so, to master our regrets before they become our destinies.