Are you worried for your children being addicted to video games? Do you feel a change in the behavior of your children ever since they started spending too many hours on video games? Is there a recent decline in their academic performance due to video games? Do you think your child is addicted to video games?
These are some of the common questions hop in our minds while thinking of video games. Video games are thought to be “time wasters” by most of the parents. Parents usually discourage video games yet are unable to stop their children from buying latest version of gaming consoles. But like most recent electronic invention, video games have some positive aspects and some negative. Let’s put a light on both the aspects together and how can we bring the positive side more in our lives as compared to the negative.
POSTIVE EFFECTS OF VIDEO GAMES
Improves Cognitive Function
Video games, when played in moderation surely help in building up skills and making brain function stronger. According to University of Wisconsin psychologist Sir C. Shawn Green, “Video games change your brain”. Playing video games bring certain changes to the structure of brain. Just like the changes brought while we read a book, play a piano, do brain exercises etc. It helps to strengthen the neural circuits by increasing the release of certain neurotransmitters like dopamine.
Hand and Eye Coordination
Most of the video games need excellent hand to eye coordination and visual-spatial ability for playing a game. The quick response made by the finger tips on the remote control after looking at the screen surely improves this coordination. Hence after a certain period you may observe a child not tilting his/her head down to look at the buttons rather presses the button quickly to bring about the action with the mildest of visual stimulus on the screen. And this is one of the reasons why fighter pilots and surgeons are more skillful in today’s world rather than a couple of decades back.
Planning And Decision Making Power
Video games involving planning up a strategy or making bold decisions surely improves these skills in the younger generation and prepares them to use these abilities in the practical life as well. According to a study by the University of Rochester, actions games tend to improve quick decision making ability without losing the accuracy. Moreover the player learns to manage in the resources available only and this may benefit them in future. Such skills are the key towards success for people like soldiers or surgeons.
Encourages Team work
Playing a video game with a partner or as “two players” helps improving the team building capability. Playing as a team requires patience and cooperation which may let a child learn these skills and help him in the routine life as well.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF VIDEO GAMES
Violent and action related games tend to increase aggression in the teenagers. According to Dmitri A. Christakis of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, “Those who watch a lot of simulated violence, such as those in video games, can become immune to it; more inclined to act violently themselves, and are less likely to behave emphatically.” Spending a long period of the day playing violent games surely affects the brain permanently and makes a child more prone to aggressive and rough behavior.
Spending too many hours on games deprive the younger generation socially and they tend to become isolated. This can lead to situations on long term basis where the teenager may start feeling uncomfortable in a crowd. This can lead to social phobias and the child may be less interested in constructive activities like sports, reading, writing etc.
Playing video games for long hours can surely affect your teen’s academic performance. If your child plays video games for long hours, the effect lies on brain causes lack of sleep and unable to concentrate on tasks. Moreover they tend to skip their projects and homework just to spend more hours on the gaming. A study by Argosy University’s Minnesota School on Professional Psychology found that video game addicts argue a lot with their teachers, fight a lot with their friends, and score lower grades than others who play video games less often.
Children addicted to video games spend most of day in playing, thus causing lack of physical activity. This may lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome. Physical activity in childhood helps strengthening muscles and bones and those addicted to gaming will lead to poor health. In conclusion, video games are not hazardous once played in moderation may help in enhancing skills in teens. But certain kind of games and that too played for longer hours may have a negative effect on children and adolescents.