Valley City State University
Video games have become a large part of many peoples’ lives with ages ranging from toddlers to middle aged adults. Teachers are seeing this integration of gaming into the classroom with such things as Smartboards and Ipads to utilize the tech skills that students are developing. Unfortunately most teachers relate gaming to negative effects which are major concerns amongst most school faculties. As a future teacher, I want to know how gaming is affecting the students in a positive, negative, and social aspect. My experiences with gaming have been positive but how I view the amount of gaming done by our youth is very negative.
Concerns about the negative effects of video games and the future of our students have brought the attention of many studies. These studies are a wide range of physical, mental and social issues which examine the introduction of video games as a mainstream media. The purpose of this research is to find evidence of negative effects from video games and possibly bring some positive points to light.
Education has taken notice of the influx of video games in our youth which is leading to further study and possible implementation into the classroom. It is important for teachers to be better informed of the effects of video games both positive and negative to learn how to deal with issues that may arise. Many schools are implementing things such as laptops and Ipads without knowing how to use them, specifically how to make them effective in the classroom without creating distractions. The articles represented in this review paint a picture of video games which can be used as a resource for teachers to become knowledgeable on the controversial subject. This will allow teachers to make their own judgments as well as develop teaching methods to utilize technology as a teaching tool.
Review of Research
Video Games and Aggressive Behavior
Aggressive behavior is one of the most concerning areas for people who play video games particularly violent video games. Violent and nonviolent video games differentially affect physical aggression for individuals high vs. low dispositional anger is a study conducted at the University of Missouri to test this theory more extensively. Students were given half of a college credit to participate in the study which tested their level of anger traits and how they react to violent and nonviolent video games. The study found that students with high and low anger traits displayed increased aggression during violent video games. However there was a significant difference in the level of aggression between the two levels of anger. Students with increased anger traits showed heightened aggressive behavior which lasted longer and was much more significant effects than those with lower traits.
The study also displayed individuals with high anger traits showed increases in aggressive behavior due to frustration in non-violent video games. Although the study confirmed that violent video games had a negative affect on all individuals, it also showed that people with high anger traits displayed a much larger affect from the games than people with low anger traits. This finding is important because it shows that the effects of violent video games may be more individualistic than what was previously thought. The effects were negative on both types of individuals, high anger traits and low anger traits, but the effects were much more significant with the high anger trait individuals.
Causes of State Hostility and Enjoyment in Player Versus Player and Player Versus Environment Video Games was a study conducted at Baylor University which further studied the level of aggression or hostility in video games. This study was unique because it examined the level of enjoyment and hostility in player versus player and player versus environment games. The study examined 408 college students while playing both types of games and used a formula to test both hostility and enjoyment.
The findings showed that the level of enjoyment did not change significantly whether the player won or lost the game. However it did find that the amount of hostility towards winning or losing was drastically different between players versus player games than player versus environment games. Individuals showed a heightened level of hostility versus other players which led to higher levels of aggression. The students also displayed a higher level of enjoyment when defeating other players. This study is important because it shows that aggression level can also be affected by certain game types.
Effects of Prosaically, Neutral, and Violent Video Games on Children’s Helpful and Hurtful Behaviors is a study by Iowa State University to further the study of the effects of video games. The study examined children between the ages of 9 and 14 and their behavior changed between prosocial, neutral, and violent video games. They examined the level of helpful and hurtful behavior while playing games of all three varieties. The study also tested the level of helpful and hurtful behavior prior to playing the games to gauge preexisting behavioral tendencies.
The researchers found that children playing violent video games displayed more helpful behavior than when they played games that promoted helpful behaviors. However this behavior was increased with individuals who displayed preexisting hurtful behavior. Helpful behavior was also increased in games that promoted helpful behavior and preexisting behavior was less of a determining factor. Prosaically behavior was increased when the game required the use of other players to complete an objective; this was prevalent in all game types. The researchers noted that preexisting conditions in both helpful and hurtful behaviors was enough of a factor to need further testing. This study continued to provide support for aggressive behavior being dependant on individual behavior.
Cognitive Effects of Video Games
South Korea recently published an article stating that “Digital Dementia” is being found among children due to increased gadget time such as computers, smart phones, and video games. “Some teens in South Korea are exhibiting what is being described as "digital dementia," or deterioration of thinking and memory, a psychiatrist says.” (Byun Gi-won, 2013) The article by UPI NewsTrack reported that Seoul is finding an increase of memory loss and ability to multitask due to the reliance of technology and use of video games. "His brain's ability to transfer information to long-term memory has been impaired because of his heavy exposure to digital gadgets," (Byun Gi-won, 2013) Byun Gi-won has begun to study the effects of intense exposure to technology among children after his recent findings.
The article differs from the previous studies mentioned because it did not focus on the aggressive behavior of children playing video games. Instead he mentions the loss of certain brain functions due to the increased exposure to technology. The article points to certain brain functions that are being underutilized in daily functions because people are replacing brain functions with technology.
Television and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems is a study conducted to determine the attention problems developed from increased television and video game exposure. Pediatrics journal published the study of 1332 early and late adolescents and how they were affected by television/video game exposure.
The study found that there was a direct correlation between attention problems and the amount of exposure to television/video games. The ages of the individuals did not affect the attention problems of the children. The article also stated that most of the children had a high exposure to video games versus television. The researchers pointed to the brain being conditioned to see high amounts of activity and visual effects which causes the students to require more activity to remain at attention. This study is important because it confirms the cognitive issues that are arising in our youth due to the popularity of video games.
Contrary to the prior articles, Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester New York provides a lecture on the positive cognitive effects of first person shooter video games. Bavelier stated that she found increased multitasking ability and vision in individuals who play first person shooters. Your brain on video games exams the studies she has done that provide evidence to support her findings.
Bavelier examined individuals with moderate first person shooter exposure and how they reacted to visual and multitasking tests. Compared to people who do not play first person shooters, she found significant differences in their test results. Individuals who played video games scored higher in multitasking and visual tests results. Bavelier made it clear that her tests were based off people that play moderate amounts of games . She stated that people that play excessive amounts may lead to opposite results in similar tests. This study provides a positive light on video games when played in moderation and asks the question. Is it the amount of games people are playing?
More Research Necessary
Video Games: A Route to Large-Scale STEM Education? by Merrilea J. Mayo is an article about the possibility of video games being used to teach areas such as Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics. Mayo talks about the affect of proper video games in certain STEM fields that are showing improvements in the abilities for students to learn. “At first, the idea of using video games to teach science and engineering seems laughable. However, sophisticated video game content already exists in topics ranging from immunology (9) (Fig. 3) to numerical methods (10, 11).” (Mayo, 2009) The article provides a look into the future technology that could become available to assist in the teaching of such subjects. Mayo states that video games are such a huge part of our society and the transition into certain fields can be bridged through the use of educational games. The article compared the use of traditional lectures to active learning such as video games. Mayo points out more testing needs to be done to prove that such education can be successful but professionals are seeing a difference in the fields of study where technology is widely used. The study continues to push towards more testing on the cognitive effects of video games and does not focus on typical negative views of video games.
Assessing My Brain on Video Games by Matt Richtel of the New York Times is an example of testing that is being to find the effects of video games on brain functions. The article gives a first person look into the types of testing being done on individuals while playing video games. Richtel volunteered to be in a study that involved researchers examining his brain in an MRI scan while he played video games. Unlike other articles in this review, Richtel displays the emphasis on further study and how they are doing it. Richtel did not give any results from the test because he was not given any. He did state that the individuals doing the research said it was highly complex and hard to investigate. This article continues to strengthen to push towards further study of video games and their effects both positive and negative.
Impact of an Active Video Game on Healthy Children’s Physical Activity by the University of Hong Kong is a study of physically active video games and if they change the activity of children playing them. This article provides another look into the study of video games and possible utilization of the recent trend to play video games. The purpose of this study was to determine if children playing active video games became more physically active outside of active video games. The results proved that active video games do not affect the physical activity of those who play them.
The findings may have been disheartening for proponents of video games but it will increase research on how to get children more active with the use of video games. The researchers found that current active video games are not making kids more active but they do state that it promotes some activity. Unfortunately this activity is not enough to make a difference in most individuals. Further research needs to be done to see what type of active games may lead to further physical activity.
Summary and Discussion
Headlines such as aggressive behavior caused by violent video games will continue to capture the headlines of the media. However my research has shown that this may be an issue that goes deeper than the overgeneralization stated above. Individual preexisting behaviors have a definite role into the effects of video games especially in the case of aggressive behavior. The negative effects of video games clearly overshadows the possible positive effects but it is too early to make anything concrete.
Many of the articles have shown a rise of positive influence of video games but are cautious to say that video games are good for you. Moderation may be the clear answer to the problem with video games as well as picking the right type of game for each individual. Some of the research stated that further development of educational video games may be the best way to captivate the large audience. Cognitive studies will continue to shine some light on the effects that are now being displayed in our youth but doing studies over the course of time is the key to such studies.
The teachers of these future students have the toughest task to bridge the gap between educational and recreational video games. More research needs to be done to assist in this process but we have a good start into understanding the effects of video games. A couple of key points can be seen in this review. Video games are a huge part of our society and research needs to be done to find out how this is affecting our youth both on the individual and large scale level. Video games need to be considered when developing our educational strategies with the use of technology and cognitive issues.
This study was mainly to concentrate on the current and future students. If would have been very helpful to the teachers if the writer had done research on the variations on the same topics but putting in the age factor into play. Different age groups perceive violent video games differently and they change as they progress. Future research should look into this. The literature review however is strong in that it has considered the major effects that video games are likely to have on students. These effects influence both their social and educational life. Teacher should therefore adopt such study to come up with appropriate educational and recreational games for their different classified groups. Classification should mainly be based on preexisting behaviors.
Examples of some recommendations to the readers on curbing each affect would have been helpful. The writer makes general recommendations at the conclusion. For example in games where players play against other players, I could recommend that teachers devise a reward system that acknowledges winners in a game and a lower motivation for losers to make them work harder to win a better price next time. An intervention like this would show that the teachers understand the effects of video games on the students and can effectively work toward curbing hem.
Spelling mistakes are evident in the paper. For example the word affect is used instead of effects. Some sentences lack clarity and could easily misguide the reader, for example “Headlines such as aggressive behavior caused by violent video games will continue to captivate the media”. There is use of misplaced and dangling modifiers.
The writer makes and effective analysis based on available data and conducted researches. The essay would surely be helpful to current and future teachers in helping current and future students to use video games to their advantage depending on their preexisting behaviors. It’s surely upon teachers to bridge the different gaps in the educational and social lives of their students because violent video games are here to stay and they seem to have taken our students by the neck.
Baranowski, T. (2012). Impact of an Active Video Game on Healthy Children's Physical Activity. Pediatrics, 129(3), 636-642.
Engelhardt, C. R., Bartholow, B. D. and Saults, J. S. (2011), Violent and nonviolent video games differentially affect physical aggression for individuals high vs. low in dispositional anger. Aggr. Behav., 37: 539–546. doi: 10.1002/ab.20411
Mayo, M J. (2009). Video games: A route to large-scale stem education?. Science, 323(5910), 79.
Saleem, M., Anderson, C. A. and Gentile, D. A. (2012), Effects of Prosocial, Neutral, and Violent Video Games on Children's Helpful and Hurtful Behaviors. Aggr. Behav., 38: 281–287. doi: 10.1002/ab.21428
Shafer, D. M. (2012), Causes of State Hostility and Enjoyment in Player Versus Player and Player Versus Environment Video Games. Journal of Communication, 62: 719–737. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2012.01654.x
"Some teens in South Korea exhibiting 'digital dementia'." UPI NewsTrack 26 June 2013. Student Resources in Context. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
Swing, E. L., Gentile, D. A., Anderson, C. A., & Walsh, D. A. (2010). Television and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems. Pediatrics. doi:10.1542/peds.2009-1508
Richtel, Matt. "Assessing My Brain on Video Games." New York Times 3 Jan. 2011: B4(L). Student Resources in Context. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.
TedTalks: Daphne Bavelier?your brain on video games. (2012). Retrieved March 24, 2014, from http://digital.films.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?aid=3199&xtid=53060