For that matter, are video games good for adults. Has anyone ever seen the effects of prolonged exposure to video games and the effects it has on someones family or the community? As a father, I have dealt with negative effects of video games first hand. There have been numerous studies and debates on the subject of video games and the effects, whether positive or negative, they have on children. Video games are not good for children because of the negative effects to a child’s behavior and overall health.
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Children that play violent orientated video games have displayed violent tendencies toward others. There have been numerous studies and research conducted, on violent video games played by children, which suggest that children “may become more aggressive after playing” (Harvard Mental Health Letter, 2010) those types of games and the conclusion behind this reasoning, are three traits of the personality, which are “high neuroticism”, “disagreeableness”, and “low levels of conscientiousness” (Harvard Mental Health Letter, 2010). Playing violent orientated video games cause children to act and think aggressively (Harvard Mental Health Letter, 2010). These conditions may cause children to commit violent acts or behavior.
In addition to increased aggression, “children who play violent video games are associated with increased violent behavior” (Souccar, 2012). Because of this behavior, there have been multiple despicable acts such as the Virginia Tech shootings where a gunman killed over thirty people in 2007(Lee, Finley, 2011). In 1999, another devastating act in Columbine, Colorado, “two teenage gunmen” entered a school with weapons, killed twelve students and a teacher, before taking their own lives (Belanger, Wagner, 2011). “Eric Harris and Dylan Kiebold were frequent players” and program contributors to a violent video game called “Doom” (Lee, Finley, 2011). Children or teens, that do not commit violent acts, may still display pathologic behavior.
Children that play video games exhibit pathologic behavior. There are many warning signs of pathologic behavior, such as “lying about or hiding how much time is spent playing or disobeying parental limits; losing interest in sports and hobbies; choosing the game over time with friends; and continuing to play despite plummeting grades”(Wagner, 2008). This is a very touchy subject in my household. My thirteen year old step-son has exhibited pathologic behavior because of video games. When the neighbor’s kids come to ask him to play outside, he refuses and has continued playing his games. His grades at school have suffered because he does not concentrate on doing his homework and worries more about playing video games. He has told a few lies, thrown tantrums, kicked walls and our washing machine, and is constantly disrespectful to his siblings, my wife and myself. My step-son has also exhibits signs of video game addiction.
Video Game Addictions
Children with video game addictions, if left untreated, could have disastrous effects as adults. There are millions of people all over the world who love to play video games, either on game systems or online social media, but that love for the video games turns into tragedy for those with video game addictions. According to Lee and Finley (2011), a couple in Korea went to a local establishment to feed their video game addiction, only to return home over five hours later to find their four month old baby girl dead because she was left alone. Also according to Lee and Finley (2011), parents in Reno, Nevada were arrested “after their obsession with video games caused them to neglect to feed their two young children”.
Increase of Video Game Addictions
The increase of video games addictions has prompted the opening of clinics in countries such as the Netherlands, United States, China, and other countries around the world, to help combat the effects of video game addiction (Belanger, Wagner, 2011). Also stated, by Belanger and Wagner (2011), “the Council on Science and Public Health recently proposed adding video gaming addiction to a list of formal disorders, such as drug addiction”. Video game addictions and its symptoms mirror other addictions so closely, that it was almost classified as “an official psychiatric disorder” (Lee, Finley, 2011) by the American Medical Association (AMA) in 2007. With all of the negative effects of video games, such as addictions, there are good video games children can play.
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Good Video Games
There are many video games that are good for children. Over the past few years, there have been many advances in good video games and game systems, such as the Wii from Nintendo and the EyeToy Kinetic from Sony, which engage the players with the game (Barros, et al, 2012). I and my family have played games on both systems, The Wii system controller is held by the player which controls the actions of the avatar on the screen. The Kinetic system is similar, but the player controls the movement of the avatar with his/her body movements through the use of a camera. One game that is used to induce physical activity, with both gaming systems, is a game called Dance, Dance, Dance (Barros, et al, 2012). The players are actively involved in the games that they are playing and are increasing their heart rate and physical activity. These “Exergames” (Barros, et al, 2012) are promoting exercise and physical fitness. Even though there are good video games, there are still other negative effects, such as inactivity from playing non-active games, which may induce childhood obesity.
For children that do not have access to those types of games, can’t afford the games, or just don’t care to play them, often play the games that they have, for long periods of time, which leads to the lack of physical activity, and the onset of childhood obesity (Childhood Obesity, n.d.). A report, issued by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, mentions a few reasons children may play video games for long periods of time. It may be the lack of parental control, being left alone by their parents for hours at a time, or just having to stay inside because of safety concerns (Childhood Obesity, n.d.). There is a growing concern, from parents such as myself, that children are becoming lazy from the lack of exercise because of video games. This lack of exercise contributes to weight gain and obesity. I have a personal connection with this subject because a member of my family was constantly playing video games, not getting any physical exercise, became a social outcast, and over a short period of time became obese.
Video Games Are Not Good
Video games are not good for children because some children exhibit too many pathologic behaviors and display violent tendencies because of video games. Children become addicted to video games which may carry over into their adulthood; they may lose all sense of reality, and their addiction to video games may become so severe, that tragedies happen because of that addiction. For other children, they may become obese because of the lack of physical activity. There are an abundance of good video games for children to play, but as a parent, I have been a witness to most of these negative effects for over 10 years and I am not going to let my step-son or any of my children play video games excessively. I will control how much time is spent playing video games; make sure that they take extended periods away from video games to get their homework completed and to get daily exercise.
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