Positive and Negative Effects of Video Games
There are many debates whether or not video games are good for children, 8 out of 10 American children own video games or play them regularly on computers and other devices. This article will highlight some pros and cons of video games, from a scientific standpoint.
Because of the amount of time playing video games, video games can be a reflection or the cause of a weak relationship or lack of socialization skills with same-age peers, parents, and family members. Video games can be related to lack of socialization skills in preschoolers, because they don’t encourage significant relationships with other children. In teenagers the effect is the same. There is less attachment to parents and friends when a person plays video games for extended periods of time over several years.
There is a significant relationship between aggression and a preference for violent video games. Exposure to video game violence is a predictor of pro-violence attitudes, a desensitization to violent behaviors is seen in adolescents. Hostile feelings and anxiety can arise in those who play the most violent games. Other research has found that the more children played violent games, the lower their empathy scores. Several experimental studies show that short-term effects of violent video games tend tosuppresssocial behavior.
Independent studies from other sources have not found a correlation between violent games and aggressive behavior, the results are divided.
When a person wins at video games there is a rise in testosterone, and it drops when losing. Cortisol, a hormone related to stress with chronic negative effects, rises as well . Some studies have shown that people release more cortisol when the music of the game is on than when it’s muted.
Video games can be a positive tool to motivate kids to compete, which can be positive for school and life itself. Video games have been used as reinforcement for desirable behavior. There are several studies that show the benefit of video games in the rehabilitation of chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus, cerebral palsy, and spinal bifida. Specifically video games enhance psychological and physical skills and learning, with benefits that can be used at home.
Video games burn more calories than board games. There is an increased heart rate shown in almost all video games, up to 60% higher in some cases, it can be seen as light physical activity. Due to technological advances some games involve movements; dance steps, the use of special controls, and simulations of exercise and sports, which will further benefit the cardiovascular system.
If content is chosen wisely video games can enhance many skills, there are good educational games available, they may lack some of the excitement of games that involve exposure to violence.
Some tips for parents when buying video games for your children:
Know the rating according to the ESRB of the game.
Do not set up the video game console in your child’s bedroom.
Always be alert and monitor your children’s time on different media including video games, internet, and computer or mobile devices. Observe the content and reactions of your children.
When possible try to play with your children, video games can be a great way to spend time together.
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Granic, I., Lobel, A., & M. E. Engels, R. C. (2014). The Benefits of Playing Video Games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66-78. doi:10.1037/a0034857
Thilmany, J. (2012). Gaming Pros and Cons. Mechanical Engineering, 134(3), 20.