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Thesis statement: Computer games do not solely have a bad influence on youth, they can be utilized for good purposes too.
Paragraph 1: Introduction
Paragraph 2: What is computer gaming and how popular is it?
Paragraph 3: The three negative aspects of computer games
Paragraph 4: Lack of sensation and repetitive Strain Injury or RSI due to computer games
Paragraph 5: Obesity, over eating and inactivity due to computer games
Paragraph 6: Negative impacts on communal and academic growth
Paragraph 7: Negative impact on academic performance
Paragraph 8: Negative impact on behavioural growth
Paragraph 9: Hostility and violence linked to computer games
Paragraph 10: Low self control, poor emotional intelligence linked to computer games
Paragraph 11: Broader impact of low self-control
Paragraph 12: Computer games as a medium of teaching
Paragraph 13: Encouraging communal participation and motivation through computer games
Paragraph 14: Conclusion
For a long time, the discussion on computer games and how they impact youth generally revolves around how computer game-related violence and acts of violence are carried out by youth every year. Research even highlighted that scholars have referenced that computer games utilized by youth can lead to bodily and psychological damages that would lead to youth harmed or shocked. Although there may be mediums that could hinder such impact from taking place and the accessibility of dedicated games to encourage positive growth, the fact remains that most people find aggressive games to be far more appealing than those that do not contain such aggressive content.
The degree of high propensity towards violence, hostility and other linked drawbacks in youth continues to grow, there is a dire requirement to comprehend how hazardous computer gaming could be for youth. With computer games now becoming more aggressive in nature, it is critical to closely monitor the youth as computer gaming is known to bring about negative bodily, psychological, and communal growth on youth, which may lead to added dangers in the future.
Towards this end, there have been studies that have shown that computer games may not necessarily have a bad impact on the youth or young children. The youngest of children, of course, have limited access to violent games as the titles they play are purchased by their parents. It those children who have some ability to buy titles on their own, maybe through monthly or weekly allowance money, that are exposed to playing violent computer or video games. Also, those children who have friends who have been given the freedom to buy whichever gaming title they want may end up playing such aggressive and violent games at their friends’ homes.
As such, amongst the youngest children, there is a possibility of encouraging preference of non-violent, education based games. For example, simulation games or strategic games that may have themes based on war, but do not require the player to actually commit virtual acts of violence. Since computer games may have some educational value to them, it is not fair to out right call them a bad influence on young minds.
According to Gee (2007), computer gaming can be defined as “proactive production of story elements, a visual-motoric-auditory-decision-making symphony, and a unique real-virtual story which lead tos a new form of performance art co-lead tod by utilizers and designers” . Gee posits that acquiring skills to play computer or computer games is another form of gaining literacy. This specifically applies to cases where the utilizer is eager and critical in his or her learning.
The global computer gaming industry had a revenue generation of US$ 67 billion in the year 2012. Traditionally, America has been known to be the world’s largest consumer of computer games. However, in recent times, countries in Asia, Europe and South America have also witnessed rapid and exponential growth in computer game sales. Specifically, the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – were the fastest increasing markets in 2013. By the year 2017, it is expected that computer games sales will touch a gargantuan US$ 82 billion globally .
Those against the utilize of computer games in youth have highlighted at least three main areas in which computer games would impact the most in youth: bodily, communal, and psychological growth. Firstly, computer games have a tendency to limit bodily growth as it does not enable youth to stay active as they would only require their eyes, hands and their mind to play. Those in favour of gaming into encouraging computer gaming utilize to youth say that computer games actually encourage users to dance with the music or the game. There are several additional features that can be utilized to entice users to physically interact with the game like Playstation Move and Kinect as highlighted by CNET. Nevertheless, these titles and added features can be extremely costly and limited .
In the research highlighted by Barrie Gunter (1998), they have voiced that computer gaming can lead to bodily incapacity and harm to youth, particularly when they play for a prolonged time every day. Some users have a tendency to acquire injuries to joints and muscles due to continuous playing as highlighted by medical experts. According to Barrie Gunter’s research, “Rheumatologists have described cases of ‘Ninhave a tendencyinitis’ and ‘Space Invaders’ Wrist’ in which utilizers have suffered skin, joint and muscle issues from repeated button hitting and joystick pushing on the user ”.
Surveys, also referenced in Gunter’s research, had also stressed the increasing number of children acquiring conditions such as callutilizes, Ninhave a tendencyinitis, and even lack of sensation or numbness. Lack of sensation is often highlighted to be high amongst young users who keep playing long hours with no breaks in between. Research conducted between 1990 and 1998 that was referenced by Gunter revealed that young computer gamers also can also acquire severe pain the wrist, elbow and neck, resulting from their posture when playing and handling the console .
In worst cases, young users also acquire injuries such as epileptic seizures which can be caused by drastic nerve injury that experts say is hard to treat with existing medical techniques. RSI or Repetitive Strain Injury is also highlighted in several cases in youth who utilize computer games. These cases are most found in users less than 10 years of age .
In addition to bodily injury, users also become overweight as they choose computer games instead of sports and games that require more vigorous physical activity. In the research conducted by Patricia Anderson and Kristin Butcher (2006), those in favour of gaming may posit that obesity may not result when youth play computer games as they do not play for that long a time and it also depends on the values on fitness they were given by their parents.
While parenting may impact the incidence of becoming over weight, it cannot be denied that enabling youth to stay awake for prolonged hours to play computer games and enabling them to consumer high calorie fast foods could add to their bulging weight. Youth have a tendency to eat fast foods, fizzy drinks, or even unhealthy snacks while playing computer games as it is ready to consume and they do not have to dedicate time to eat healthy food. In a 1999 research, youth were shown to have a tendency to dedicated nearly 2.3 hours on computer games, which reveals that some youth have a tendency to choose these sources of entertainment over conventional mediums such as watching television.
This research also shows that the youth have a tendency to spend prolonged hours on computer games, giving them little opportunity to undertake exercise or physical sports. Not only do they have a tendency to be lethargic, as highlighted by Anderson and Butcher, they also have a tendency to grow in weight, becoming over weight as they play computer games and acquire bodily incapacities.
In addition to the bodily impacts of computer games in youth, Anderson and Butcher also noted that computer games provide drawbacks in their academic and communal growth. They referenced that the great argument provided by computer game followers is that not all titles are aggressive and violent in nature as some games can be academic and child-friendly. Some even debate that regardless of the type of computer game played, it will still be academic as it encourages tolerance and analytical abilities, as well as communal values. However, the issue in this debate is that as most of the time, youth that have a tendency to play computer games also have a tendency to eat continuously; this discourages them from meeting with their academic and communal growth owing to the time they spend on computer gaming.
Firstly, youth have a tendency to acquire withdrawal symptoms if they stop playing and this leads to negative communal attachments. If they continue to play games with their peers, they may become enemies due to computer games. As they would spend prolonged hours in front of the computer playing games, they have a tendency to give up communalizing as they think it is more entertaining to stay online and play. Although networking enables users to communalize while playing computer games, they still compete in an aggressive field in computer gaming.
Several cases were brought to light where youth get terribly embroiled in small to major fights after losing a computer game competition, converting peers into rivals or even enemies. In some cases, highlighted by Anderson and Butcher, youth who have a tendency to submerge themselves in computer games can see illusions or hallucinate and can even develop the notion that their computer games are their real world friends even though they are mere machines and not even alive.
As computer gaming would eat up a large part of the time of the youth, Anderson and Butcher noted that academic grades would fall and computer games would be a reason for the youth’s expulsion resulting from misbehaving or sluggishness at school. While there are academic games, several youth do not find them entertaining due to the model and the design of how the computer game is played. In addition the bodily and psychological incapacities driven by computer games, youth spend a large part of their time on gaming and would hence attain lower grades in school.
As computer games also influence psychological and behavioral capacity of the youth, Anderson and Butcher highlighted that, parents often come to know that their child has been fighting at school over gaming. When bodily activity is required, young users have a tendency to perform low owing to their weight and their inability to carry out taxing activity as they are not used to physical activity anymore. In addition to this, young users also have a tendency to acquire short attention spans that may result in issues in comprehending lessons and activities .
Lastly, one of the main reasons as to why computer games are a negative influence on the youth is the ability of computer games to manipulate psychological and behavioral growth, which may result in incurable conditions in the long run. Steven Kirsh (2006) highlights that although there may be difference in choices and types of games preferred by the youth as highlighted by those in favor of gaming, the notion that several youth would have a tendency to prefer aggressive computer gaming titles due to their popularity amongst friends may promote such issues.
Firstly, youth have a tendency to start believing in fantasy and could attempt re-enacting the roles they play through gaming titles, which could result in hostility, suicidal behaviour, and aggression. Kirsh also concluded that although only a few gamers would try to enact the characters in computer games, young users who are extremely immersed in games would have a tendency to develop with methods and alternatives to live these characters as part of their real life. As computer games today showcase real-life and highly believable situations, some users have a tendency to become confused so that they start believing that the scenes and situations in these games can happen in real life as well.
Further, Kirsh explains that hostility and aggressive behavior have a propensity to reveal themselves as youth continue enacting scenes they experienced through computer games and believe these can be real world situations. Across the history of computer gaming, it is highlighted by gaming scholars that computer games have a tendency to become aggressive as games attain greater popularity in the market. As such, they have greater scope to encourage young players to incline towards aggressive behaviour.
Although the impact could differ owing to the gamer’s age, gender, growth, and power; several often reveal that they incline towards aggressive behaviour as they play these games. As stated by Lt. Col. David Grossman, “aggressive computer games, and in particular, aggressive computer games involving light guns, teach youth how to kill, remove the natural hesitancy associated with killing and provide youth with a will to kill ”.
Significantly, during the course of time, several cases of youth related aggression linked to computer games have been noted as a few young users have a tendency to take up criminal activities as part of enacting their gaming characters. Gun related crimes are the most prominent forms of reenactment by young users who have become disillusioned by computer games. A very famous example of youth taking up arms as a result of computer games is the shootout Columbine High School Massacre in 1999 by two youngsters who were diehard followers of the massively famous shooting game called “Doom”. .
In addition to aggressive behaviour, research by Dang, Lee and Nguyen (2002) has also revealed that youth frequently exposed to computer games have a tendency to have low self-control, and cannot control their emotions. Although computer games could teach tolerance, teaching self-control is not an easy task. Research have illustrated that child players, particularly the segment that constantly purchases the latest gaming titles, can become aggressive if they are unable to finish a particular level in the game. Although some experts downplay the importance of this frustration arising when playing computer games, research has shown that it could impact the user’s control over their endurance and behavior.
As the gamer persists and tries to conquer different levels, their start exhibiting more aggressive behavior as the player continues to kill, shoot and defeat rivals to finish a level. As a result, young players have a tendency of not being able to identify the difference between violence in the virtual world and enacting the dsame in the real world – violence played in games becomes acceptable in the real world in the mind of the gamer .
The influence of computer games on the youth and youth has traditionally been painted in a negative light. However, as found by Gee, computer games can be utilized intelligently to improve literacy. Gee argues that, instead of being vociferous over the aggressive content of computer games, people should actually encourage the sales of the most popular gaming consoles and then encourage learning based games for these mediums. Computer games can become an effective means of teaching language, acquiring creativity and acquiring swifter responses.
Gee goes further by highlighting that different kinds of games enable players to indulge in complex decision making processes. Hence, they can be utilized to for targeted teaching purposes, reaching out to youth in a very novel manner – a method that the youth will accept with open arms! The games can be made available in classrooms or for home utilize. The utilize of multimedia learning technology has already become popular amongst schools, so why not incorporate education gaming as well?
Anderson et al. hold similar views as Gee and note that computer games can be a great way to encourage cultural comprehending. They note that, “Playing computer games will prepare students for communal participation” . Even the most introverted and shy youth can be encouraged to first interact with peers through networked games, giving them confidence to take up real world interactions. Gee posits that “video games are an ideal laboratory for researching learning principles because , as the games grow in complexity, game designers embed structures to help players learn them” .
Another positive aspect of computer games is that several titles provide users with motivation and self confidence. They can act as motivators to students who will then be more open to learning even in a classroom setting. Gardner simply explains that, if the method of teaching is interesting, the child will be more eager and motivated to learn .
In conclusion, it can be said that computer games can neither be said to be completely bad for youth, nor can they be said to be absolutely good for youth. It cannot be denied that video games do have an impact on the cognition and behavior of players, regardless of their age or gender. Research has proved that playing violent video games does induce aggressive behavior among participants. It has also been found that young children who play video games have blurred perceptions of social norms and can hence become desensitized to violence and crime if exposed to such games for a prolonged time. However, video games can also be used as an effective learning tool. They can be used to boost language skills, enhance reflexes and eye hand coordination as well as motivate students to learn.
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