by: Timothy Rudon
Video games are enjoyed by young and old. However the internet, magazines, and more are replete with untruths about gaming. The world is replete with things like “ gaming leads to violence; gaming ruins the eyesight; kids who get involved with video games become school drop outs or fall into bad company ,” and more.
As parents, teachers, and adults we need to separate truths from untruths and take decisions about video gaming based on research and proven facts. Here are a few points to consider:
1. Many are convinced that video and computer games spur violence in kids. The truth is that today 90 percent of the male population and 40 percent of the female population play video or computer games and according to federal crime statistics juvenile crime is quite low and not on the rise. Criminals are rarely created by gaming, more often than not it is a number of factors like broken homes, poverty, drug habits, and more.
2. A popular belief is that video gaming increases aggression among kids. Many studies are based on narrow field samples and does not represent a fair sampling. Media hype promotes the conclusion reached by studies that have poor methodology or analysis. Violence exists all around us in the news, in the movies, and more. The worst aggression is that exhibited by road rage. While violence in games exists it is not a primary factor that leads to aggressive behavior. Kids must be exposed to a holistic lifestyle and have good values ingrained in them at home and in school. Research has in no way established a direct link between gaming and violence although many involved in the school shootings were gamers.
3. Video and computer games are made for kids. While this may have been a fact a few years ago today gamers age from around 6-80+ years. Gaming is a passion with the young and old and advances in technology have created a following among adults too. Games are rated so that parents can make wise choices when purchasing games.
4. Games waste time and have no positive effects. This is an untruth and studies by child development and other experts have found that games heal, enhance eye-hand co-ordination, sharpen thinking power, teach kids to make quick decisions, and enhance creativity. Gaming according to several experts benefits children in many ways and even inculcates motivation and self confidence.
5. Video and computer games are exclusively for boys and men. While there is some truth in this, today the female sex is “shoulder to shoulder” with men in every field of endeavor. Statistics show that today more women play web based games than men and there are many women involved in designing and producing games.
6. Games teach kids to kill. While the military does use games to train soldiers there is no logical conclusion that every kid who plays video or computer games will become a soldier. Soldiers have a different profile and it is the military training that makes them soldiers not just gaming. In fact James Gee in his book “ What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy” establishes the “learning potential” of games; games inculcate problem solving abilities in gamers and teaches gamers to be team players.
7. Games are a waste of time is a wide belief. In fact experts prove that games can be positive if handled properly. Kids or adults must limit their gaming activities and indulge in other hobbies too. Games according to research allow gamers to role play and take important nation building decisions. Gamers can experience first hand what the decisions result in, this according to researches makes them consider the consequence of their actions before they make one not just I games but in real life too.
8. Video games make loners. Video and computer games are not isolating. In fact most gamers play in teams with people living all over the world. The internet has opened up many doors and gamers today learn from others, interact with many who are not even from their own culture or age. Gaming has no barriers and has created an open world.
Gaming is healthy if done right.