The focus of my technology is gaming. What I will be reporting more in-depth about is the effects of gaming on children’s psychosocial well-being. To start off, video games have become vast in popularity in the past ten years. Games used to be what we played in our backyard after school with our friends. According to Lobel et al, nowadays “90 to 97%” of children play video games (885). That means video games are now the playgrounds where children play rather than actual playgrounds we are used too. This leaves the question if that is a good thing or not for children. I ask if gaming has psychosocial effects, such as, what are these effects, do these effects hurt or help, are these effects specific to game genre and gender, and what do these effects do to children on a day to day basis?
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What are the effects of children playing video games? During my research, I found in all of my sources similar effects gaming has on children. There are both negative effects and positive effects, for example, they help children play cooperatively in something they love and enjoy from the comfort of home. It helps children connect with others outside of their social circle and strengthen the relationships they have already. Now games have quickly risen up to become universal in the use of child development. More importantly, children use video games for entertainment to provide fulfillment in themselves through repetitive, positive reinforcement, which can train the brain in unhealthy habits of the mind (Lobel, et al. 884). This, in turn, causes struggle with children who are still developing their emotions and how to reflect on them. These negative effects are externalizing problems (aggressive behavior), internalizing problems (emotional and peer issues) and peer problems (Przybylski and Mishkin 148). To be more in-depth, internalizing problems are those such as anxiety and depression, in contrast, externalizing problems are those behaviors, such as, yelling at a friend or having a tantrum.
Do these effects hurt or help children’s psychosocial well-being? To start off, positively it gives children a way to release frustration and stress along with other unpleasant emotions. Gaming teaches children how to win at a game and not claim bragging rights, while also losing to learn how to overcome disappointment without showing bad sportsmanship (Lobel, et al. 3). These positive effects are strengthened through the rules of games, such as good sportsmanship or implemented rules like penalties. Lobel et al, also mentions that this helps promote children’s moral behavior and practice their perspective-taking skills to be kind to their partners in emotionally intensive situations (3). Andreassen and others claim that video games give children cognitive skill development, which is essential to the development process in the early years of children (252). Przybylski and Mishkin address in their closing remarks by saying, “low levels of play can be part of a young person’s healthy lifestyle and support sociability” (153). To explain, low levels of play help children with all of the benefits talked about above, such as cognitive development, sportsmanship, stress relief and more without all the negative effects like addiction. I’ll go more in-depth on this particular point later on in the report. These are just a few of many good effects gaming has on children.
Positive effects are a good thing as we know but more importantly, what effects does gaming have that are negative to a child’s well-being? As I have mentioned in the second paragraph, gaming has internalizing, externalizing and peer problems. To start off, internalizing problems, such as depression and anxiety, cause a lot of psychosocial problems. Depression, for example, is caused by children involving themselves in games for long periods of time every week. This deprives children from academics such as, studying and doing homework but more so, engaging with friends and family. According to Przybylski and Mishkin, this causes an “academic decline…, conduct problems, hyperactivity, and academic disengagement” (152-53). Khan and Muqtadir “has identified that a large number of players sacrifice sleep, school and job productivity, household chores…, and other major responsibilities in order to play video games offline and online and show fondness for virtual life” (121). To explain, Przybylski, Mishkin, and Khan, Muqtadir points out that gaming’s effects, such as, addiction to them cause children to pay more attention to playing games rather than to work and study which results in less family engagement and poor efficiency in academics and/or work. These such things cause internalizing effects, such as, deeper depression and anxiety from doing poorly academy and generally everything else as mentioned above.
As you now know some of the effects and how these effects affect children; now I will delve deeper into how this affects children by game genre along with gender. For starters, there are numerous game genres out there. To give some examples, there are “solitary, online, ofﬂine, cooperative…, puzzle, competitive games and cooperative games” (Przybylski and Mishkin 147). As I researched through my sources, I found that competitive games are more prone to be played by boys; while games, such as, puzzle games are favorited by girls (Lobel, et al. 9). I am more specifically going to converse about the differences in effects these two different game genres yield. As a side note, my research in this paragraph will only report about children with less than one hour of play time daily. I will explain more in the next paragraph about higher play time daily. Competitive and cooperative games yield lower levels of internalizing and externalizing problems, on the other hand, puzzle games give a higher academic engagement (Przybylski and Mishkin 150). What this explains is that a small amount of playtime daily is not going to hurt children, but more importantly provide beneficial in lower frustration and higher academics.
During my research I found out almost all children play video games at least a little bit in their life (Lobel, et al. 885). In that case, I will talk about how these video games effect children on a day to day basis. I will be describing these effects in two categories. First, gaming on a daily basis greater than three hours. Second, gaming on a daily basis less than three hours. Starting with first part, gaming on a greater than three-hour daily basis increases the effects of internalizing, externalizing, and peer problems. More in-depth, it increases isolation and escapism (choosing to escape into a virtual reality rather than deal with real life), which causes depression and peer issues (Lobel et al. 885). These issues would be disengaging from friends and family on a daily basis and other activities to rather indulge in games (Przybylski and Mishkin 152). Some externalizing issues would be conduct problems and academic decline, such as, procrastination to do academic work (Przybylski and Mishkin 153). Second, gaming on the daily for less than one hour is beneficial. This is because having a little bit of playtime on video games releases daily anger and helps give “cognitive beneﬁts, including improvements in executive functioning” (Lobel, et al. 885).
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Gaming is an immense platform in children’s lives these days (Lobel, et al. 885). This is because it gives many positive effects for children. These effects can range from cognitive to the release of frustration in a child’s mind. In addition, there comes along the negative effects of children playing video games. These negatives effects only come along when a child is exposed to long periods of daily gaming as I described in the previous paragraph. I asked if gaming has psychosocial effects, such as, what are these effects, do these effects hurt or help, are these effects specific to game genre and gender, and what do these effects do to children on a day to day basis? Through my research I found that, yes, there is numerous effects gaming has on child’s psychosocial well-being. These effects as I found can be beneficial or negative under the right conditions.
- Andreassen, Cecilie S., et al. “The Relationship between Addictive use of Social Media and Video Games and Symptoms of Psychiatric Disorders: A Large-Scale Cross-Sectional Study.” Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, vol. 30, no. 2, 2016, pp. 252-262, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pdh&AN=2016-13379-006&site=ehost-live, doi:10.1037/adb0000160.
- Khan, Anowra, and Rabia Muqtadir. “Motives of Problematic and Nonproblematic Online Gaming among Adolescents and Young Adults.” Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research, vol. 31, no. 1, 2016, pp. 119-138. Psychology Database, https://search.proquest.com/docview/1819652856?accountid=28833.
- Lobel, Adam, et al. “Gaining a Competitive Edge: Longitudinal Associations between Children’s Competitive Video Game Playing, Conduct Problems, Peer Relations, and Prosocial Behavior.” Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 2017, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pdh&AN=2017-36453-001&site=ehost-live, doi:10.1037/ppm0000159.
- Lobel, Adam, et al. “Video Gaming and Children’s Psychosocial Wellbeing: A Longitudinal Study.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence, vol. 46, no. 4, 2017, pp. 884-897. Psychology Database, https://search.proquest.com/docview/1876035404?accountid=28833, doi://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10964-017-0646-z.
- Przybylski, Andrew K., and Allison F. Mishkin. “How the Quantity and Quality of Electronic Gaming Relates to Adolescents’ Academic Engagement and Psychosocial Adjustment.” Psychology of Popular Media Culture, vol. 5, no. 2, 2016, pp. 145-156, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pdh&AN=2015-08821-001&site=ehost-live, doi:10.1037/ppm0000070.
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