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Blog #8: How Are Video Games Affecting Our Children?

Video games are something that most children grow up with. Not too long ago, kids would have fun by riding their bikes or getting with their friends to play freeze tag with their neighbors or friends. But ever since video games have entered their lives, kids have been stuck at home and glued to their screens. Andrea Norcia, from Palo Alto Medical Foundation, wrote the article, The Impact of Video Games, touching on the topic of the effects of video games on adolescents. Though there are many positive effects of kids playing video games, Norcia mainly touches on the negative.

Though video games have a negative connotation that brings bad light towards it, it is only right to speak of the positive impact it has had. Video games have been known to improve the manual dexterity and computer literacy of children. Multi-player platforms and co-op servers are also seen to be “pro-social” where players would cooperate with each other to perform task and even complete accomplishments. This can result in the people showing more empathy and helpfulness towards others in real life, as told by a 2014 study by Douglas Gentile, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University(Norcia, 2014). Yes, video games have all sorts of benefits, but that does not mean that the negative effects do not exist.

When it comes to games such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and sometimes even Fortnite, objectives and achievements are mainly based around acts of violence. As Norcia even says, “players move up levels by winning fights or battles. Players directly benefit from engaging in acts of violence”(Norcia, 2014). When playing video games, violence is widely encouraged and rewarded. There are many cases in which kids who start playing video games in the beginning of the school year tend to show more aggression than those who start playing later in the year.  When adolescents are exposed to repeated acts of violence, they can learn from these acts and later develop a aggressive/violent behavior.

Speaking of repetition, repeated instances of playing video games can lead to another negative impact: addiction. From the Huffington Post, Dr. Richard Freed posts an article speaking about a fifteen year old boy that has fallen into the addiction of video games. Fifteen-year old Derek showed many symptoms that were similar of those from substance or gambling addictions. Derek as been showing signs of video game addiction, such as “demands to add to already exorbitant time gaming, sneaking and lying about gadget use, rages when parents tried to limit electronics, and profound damage to family relationships and school success from overuse of video games”(Freed, 2017). His addiction already led him to already-failing grades on his high school transcript and decreasing his chance at being accepted into a college. Derek also has a tendency to lash out at his parents whenever they limit his time for video games. Just like previously explained on aggressive behavior, kids with video game addictions “may become violent or suicidal when parents attempt to restrain their gaming”(Freed, 2017).

There are always two sides to every story. Video games can help people learn to work with others and empathize with them, even improve dexterity and computer literacy. On the other hand, the usage of video games has been known to lead to an increase in aggressive behavior and even addictions. There is no definitive answer as to whether video games are good or bad. That’s where the future takes place. As time goes on, there is no doubt that the technology behind video games will advance, and many video game companies/businesses are well aware of the problems that is arising. It is up to not only them, but also the people, to come up with a solution. Just as co-op video games bring people to work together, we must come together to find a way to end the negative impacts of video games.

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