Video games have become very popular for the last 30 years, especially among teenagers. Video games are an original part of entertainment as they involve direct participation of people, and they become players who influence the result of the game.
However, playing video games has both positive and negative outcomes, it depends on how often teenagers play video games and of what character. The first advantage of playing video games is pain management. This activity helps adolescents to relax and distract themselves from their everyday problems or stressful situations. It works especially well with painful medical treatment. Furthermore, video games help to develop good spatial cognition and coordination. For example, various types of specialist’s training, such as aviation and architecture training practice games that involve placement of objects in three dimensions and planning. Video games also have a positive influence if applied in the education sphere. It is much easier for students to acquire some complicated knowledge or memorize some formulas or rules while playing the games. It is an effective way to “encourage children to preserve in acquiring and mastering a number of skills, to navigate through complex problems and changing environments and to experiment with different identities until success is achieved”. (Anderson, Gentile, 2008, p. 127) One more advantage of video games is stimulation of physical activity and exercising. The games that encourage adolescents to engage their body and execute active movements can create more fun and improve health. There are also a number of disadvantages that may influence significant teenagers’ mental and physical health, social relationships, interaction with an external environment, academic performance, and psyche. The major drawback is video game addiction. Young people get involved into playing video games easily and their desire to play games may increase very quickly. The habit of constant playing may lead to inability to function normally in everyday life, problems with sleep, and eventually to suicide. The most harmful type of video games is one that involves violence, aggression and killing of an opponent.(This is my own assumption) Children very often transform a virtual world into the real one, give their friends and themselves the names from the beloved cartoons and games and may want to repeat what they did while playing a game in reality. Such desires may lead to fatal consequences.
Nowadays, children and teenagers live in a world that differs significantly from the one in which their parents grew up. These trends are evident in such traditional spheres as games and toys. The development of electronic and computer games industry poses a new psychological question about what impact these games will have on children's psyches. Everybody enjoys playing games. The game is the best environment for learning about any kind of activity. However, playing computer games is not just a pastime, it is an activity of designing the worlds. Psychological term "to design the worlds" was initiated by Russian psychologist Asmolov a few years ago. Construction of the worlds is the process of creating an image of the world in the human psyche. Any popular computer game has its own physical and spatial properties, fake history and a timeline, an original philosophy, ethics and morality, eventually comprising a constructed world. Games give the player an opportunity to be active in a constructed world. However, such an advantage can turn into a disadvantage as some people feel that they are changing even to a greater extent than needed in the course of the game. Physically these remain the same but internally they undergo a hidden process of changes and become very different. Entertaining games can carry information and developmental potential, for example, memory and logical games. At present stage of development of computer games, it has become more difficult to define if they have positive or negative impact. On the one hand, forms of educational games have become closer to entertainment, so that learning in the process of playing computer games is unobtrusive, and it fits the construction of the game's story. On the other hand, most entertaining games, which are not entailing initially educational purposes, require certain basic knowledge, provide some information and help to acquire various skills. (The point is that even the educational games designed under the image of bringing benefits for learning process of a child might not justify their primary objective and serve just to entertain kids). In any case, the issue about the impact of computer games on adolescents gained wide publicity. Moreover, the information about this problem comes mainly from two sources - the media and empirical studies. Since the 1980s, there are many messages in the media about the dangerous influence of computer games on the psychological condition of adolescents. The main arguments include a dependence followed by psychopathological symptoms, such as the inability to switch to another teen entertainment, imaginary sense of superiority above the others, poor emotional sphere, etc. Some computer games provoke the glorification of war and violence and right-wing extremism. The negative effects indicate narrowing of the range of interests, the desire to create the own world, and escape from reality. Spending most of free time in front of the computer is often the cause of poor communication with peers, social isolation and difficulties in interpersonal intercourse. The negative picture is complemented by somatic disturbances, such as blurred vision, fatigue, etc., which is believed to be - a direct consequence of “computerization” of teenagers’ free time.(this is my own assumption)
Personally, I enjoyed playing violent games when I was a child. I experienced relaxation, satisfaction, and that’s how I escaped from the reality of life and its problems. I used to play video games alone, as well as with my friend. We liked fighting, and we thought that this activity can solve our problems in real live, as well. After some time of continuous involvement in this activity, I have become addicted to video games, and I played day and night without noticing the time flow.
At first, the change that occurred in my mental perception of the world was not noticeable for my parents, teachers, classmates and all the people from my environment. However, sometime later I wanted to play more and more often, and I started avoiding doing my homework. Of course, this issue brought my parents’ concern and consequently a conflict with them. I didn’t want to listen to the lectures of my father about the importance of my education and all those benefits that were supposed to contribute to my future job in the far future. I thought that I could resolve everything by demonstrating my strength and fighting.
Obviously, my behavior negatively influenced my academic performance and relationships with my parents. In addition, I started to fight with my school friends during the breaks between the classes. We experienced satisfaction, power and courage while demonstrating our strength. We just played, and it seemed to be a joke until I accidentally injured my classmate. Immediately after the accident, I had a serious talk with my teacher and parents. Ultimately, I had to change the school, and I was banned from playing video games at home. This punishment made me fall into a long depression. I didn’t talk to my parents for a couple of weeks, and I spent most of the time in my room. It was a breaking point in my childhood that made me think about what happened and analyze my behavior. I realized that violent video games harmed my personality. Furthermore, spending too much time in front of the computer was the core reason of my violence, isolation and degradation. After thinking over of what I have done I underwire a painful procedure of regaining trust of my parents and reestablishing warm relationships with them. Moreover, I got adjusted to the new class and set a good reputation and friendly relations with my new classmates. Now I don’t play violent games, and I’m happy that the crucial moment in my life caused by playing video games changed my perception of the world.
In cliche, video games can have a positive impact if applied in educational purpose to ease the process of memorizing the information or practicing some skills, and exercised during a very limited time period. However, playing any video games for a long time, especially if they are of violent character, leads to a harmful effect of a child’s sight, psyche and overall health condition. So, it is highly desirable to restrict the number of hours spent in front of the computer in order to avoid stressful effects, mental disorders, and problems with sleep, isolation, violence, and aggressiveness.
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