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Some people exclaim playing video games causes many negative side effects on children, but gaming can also be good for developing cognitive, physical, and many more hidden skills. Plus they can also be cheaper than television. There are many pros and cons that show up in life and research in the video gaming world. Playing video games is a worldwide activity, “97% of adolescents play video games” for entertainment (Letter, 2009). Many studies have pointed out the negative side effects of video games but brushing through research I have found evidence of many positive effects games have on children.
Many pronounce that video games introduce violence into a childs life but if the ratings on the games are closely monitored by a parent/guardan violence would not be an issue. ERSB Entertainment Software Rating Board rates every game to see which of the six different catorgies the game falls in. The six catorgies consists of early childhood, everyone, everyone 10+, teens, mature, and adult only. The games are closely examened and reviewed by at least three specially trained game raters and then the game is placed into one of the six catorgories. Specially trained game raters use over 30 different content descriptors to find the approate rating for every game. Some games are even produced for the purpose of educational development.
If closely watched, games can be more educational than TV. According to some gamers, they prefer playing games than watching TV, due to the interactivity. The cost of cable is also on the rise which goes to show that gaming, in the long run, is cheaper than TV. An average X-BOX 360 game console cost around $199.99 (Gamestop, 1999-2009) and if you were to buy 2-3 games it would cost apromixly $150.00 (Gamestop, 1999-2009) depending on which games are purchased. Then take a look at the monthly cable bill, a basic package, with Mediacom costs around $125.00 a month (Mediacom, 2009). In a years time a family can save money by just having basic television and a game console in their house. Having a gaming console can also give a child more opportinuties than a TV.
Researchers state that video games show a decline in school preformance and they take time away from their families. Actually if played as a family, video games can become a fun bonding activity. For example, it gives a chance for the child to “lead the way”(Shatzkin, 2005) and show their parent/gaurding how to play. Games can be used for learing as well, at home or in the classroom. One of the many hidden skills in video games is problem solving skills. The child will want to solve the problem in the game because it intrests them more then a boring story problem at school. Games also enable the development of different learning styles, since speed and level difficulty can be adjusted according to the players (Jenkins, 2002). They can also help reading skills because without reading the screen for the mission objective the child would not know what to accomplish or what the goal of the game is. A study conducted on children who have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder showed that if students played an hour of video games, 36% of them paid more attenion during class (Shatzkin, 2005). Games can help improve motivation for children with learning disabilities by not only giving them a postive way to vent stress but lets the child see a problem visualy which can help them be more prosistent to solve a problem. Video games can also be used as a reward for good behavior or good grades in school, which motovates the child.
There are many cognitive skills you can learn from gaming such as quick thinking or processing information quickly and the skill to think about a number of things, at the same time. In shooting games, the character may be running and shooting at the same time. This requires the player to keep track of the location of the character, where he/she is heading, the surroundings around the character like the enemies, and where the gun is aiming. This information is a lot to process in ones' mind. The more a gamer does this type of cognitive skill the better he/she will be at processing the information quicker. With all the things a gamer must do to play a shooting game, it requires a great deal of hand-eye coordination and visual-spatial ability to be successful. There have been studies that adults with gaming experience show better surgical skills (Waxberg, 2005). Also, in the air force they use video simulations as another way to help train fighter pilots. Games are used in many different ways in life but will they ever become the alternative to the gym?
Many years of research says that video games play a part in the roll of childhood obesity, however with a recent game called “Dance Dance Revolution” and the new gaming console the “Wii” has changed the observation of many viewers. “Dance Dance Revolution” is a game that requires the player to stand on a pad, which has 4 arrows, and they must step on the matching arrow as displayed on the television screen. The “Wii” is a wireless interaction game console that requires the players to physically move either with a swinging motion of their arm or a complete movement of their entire body when playing the games required for the system. Another explanation to video games compared to TV is people are less likely to snack when playing video games because their hands are full (Letter, 2009). Also research shows that when playing the “Wii” children burn “2-2½ more calories” than sitting on the couch watching TV (Shubik, 2009). Another researcher also said that children used about “three times more energy” playing Wii bowling and doing the beginner level of DDR as they did when watching television (Graf, 2009).
Throughout the devolvement of video games they have had more studies that lean towards the negative effects of gaming, but if you look deeper into the research you will find there is a better side to the subject. In this paper I touched base on a few of the positive things in the video game world, such as, developing cognitive, physical, and many more hidden skills, as well as the explanation of gaming being cheaper than television. With technology advancing and people trying to make the world “Go Green” and become a healthier place to live, many more active games and consoles are to release in due time. In the end, many think video games are bad for children's health mentally and physically, but if games are used correctly with supervision and restraints there are no problems to gaming. They have many positive qualities and learning opportunities incorporated within them.
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