Tuesday, 6 September 2011

You play video Game - Must read this

The Good and BadEffects of Video Games

Video and computer games, like many popular, entertainingand addicting kid activities, are looked down upon by many parents astime-wasters, and worse, parents think that these games rot the brain. Also, violent video games are readily blamed by the media and some experts asthe reason why some youth become violent or commit extreme anti-social behavior. But many scientists and psychologists find that video games actually have manybenefits – the main one being making kids smart.  Video games mayactually teach kids high-level thinking skills that they will need in thefuture.

Below are the benefits and harmful effects of video games,according to child experts:

Good Effects of Video Games

• Video games give your child’s brain a realworkout.  In many video games, the skills required to win involve abstractand high level thinking.  These skills are not even taught atschool. 

Some of the mental skills trained by video games include: 

               o   Following instructions
               o   Problem solving and logic
               o   Hand-eye coordination, fine motor and spatial skills. In shootinggames, the character may be running and shooting at the same time.
               o    Resource management and logistics.  The player learnsto manage resources that are limited, and decide the best use of resources, thesame way as in real life.  This skill is honed in strategy games such asSimCity, Age of Empires, and Railroad Tycoon
               o    Multitasking, simultaneous tracking of many shiftingvariables and managing multiple objectives. 
               o    Quick thinking, making fast analysis and decisions. 
               o    Strategy and anticipation - Steven Johnson, author ofEverything Bad is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually MakingUs Smarter, calls this "telescoping." Gamers must deal with immediateproblems while keeping their long-term goals on their horizon.
               o    Developing reading and math skills – Young gamersforce themselves to read to get instructions, follow storylines of games, andget information from the game texts.  Also, using math skills is importantto win in many games that involves quantitative analysis like managingresources.
               o    Perseverance – In higher levels of a game, playersusually fail the first time around, but they keep on trying until they succeedand move on to the next level.
               o    Pattern recognition – Games have internal logic inthem, and players figure it out by recognizing patterns.
               o    Estimating skills
               o    Inductive reasoning and hypothesis testing - James PaulGee, professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says thatplaying a video game is similar to working through a science problem. Likestudents in a laboratory, gamers must come up with a hypothesis. For example,players in some games constantly try out combinations of weapons and powers touse to defeat an enemy.  If one does not work, they change hypothesis andtry the next one.  Video games are goal-driven experiences, says Gee,which are fundamental to learning.
               o    Mapping – Gamers use in-game maps or build maps ontheir heads to navigate around virtual worlds.
               o    Memory
               o    Reasoned judgments
               o    Teamwork and cooperation when played with others –many games are played online and involve cooperation with other online playersin order to win.
               o    Simulation, real world skills.  The most well known simulationsare flight simulators, which attempt to mimic the reality of flying a plane.All of the controls, including airspeed, wing angles, altimeter, and so on, aredisplayed for the player, as well as a visual representation of the world, andare updated in real time. 

•Video games introduce your kid to computer technologyand the online world. 
•Video games allow you and your kid to play togetherand can be a good bonding activity. When your child knows more than you, he canteach you how to play and this allows you to understand your child’sskills and talents. 
•Video games make learning fun.   Your kidlikes games because of the colors, the animation, the eye candy, as well as theinteractivity and the challenge and the rewards of winning. 
•Video games increase your kid’s self-confidenceand self-esteem as he masters games.   In many games, the levels ofdifficulty are adjustable.  As a beginner, your kid begins at the easylevel and by constant practicing and slowly building skills; he becomesconfident in handling more difficult challenges.  Since the cost offailure is lower, he does not fear making mistakes. He takes more risks andexplores more.  Your kid can transfer this attitude to real life.
•Games that involve multiple players encourage yourchild to work cooperatively to achieve his goals. Your kid learns to listen tothe ideas of others, formulate plans with other kids, and distribute tasks based on skills. Some online games are even played internationally, and thiscan introduce your kid to players of different nationalities andcultures.  This fosters friendships among different people.
•Video games that require your kid to be active, suchas Dance Dance Revolution and Nintendo Wii Boxing give your kid a good workout.When playing these active games for 10 minutes, your kid spends energy equal toor exceeding that produced by spending the same amount of time on three milesan hour threadmill walk.
•Finally, and this is controversial, violent videogames may act as a release of pent-up aggression and frustration of yourkid.  When your kid vents his frustration and anger in his game, thisdiffuses his stress. Games can provide a positive aggression outlet the sameway as football and other violent sports.

Bad Effects of Video Games

•Most of the bad effects of video games are blamed onthe violence they contain.  Children who play more violent video games aremore likely to have increased aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, anddecreased prosocial helping, according to a scientific study (Anderson &Bushman, 2001).  The effect of video game violence in kids is worsened bythe games’ interactive nature.  In many games, kids are rewarded forbeing more violent.  The act of violence is done repeatedly.  Thechild is in control of the violence and experiences the violence in his owneyes (killings, kicking, stabbing and shooting).  This activeparticipation, repetition and reward are effective tools for learning behavior.  Indeed, many studies seem to indicate that violent video gamesmay be related to aggressive behavior (such as Anderson & Dill, 2000;Gentile, Lynch & Walsh, 2004).  However, the evidence is notconsistent and this issue is far from settled.
•Too much video game playing makes your kid sociallyisolated.  Also, he may spend less time in other activities such as doinghomework, reading, sports, and interacting with the family and friends. 
•Video games do not exercise your kid’simaginative thinking.  Using imagination may be important in developingcreativity. 
•Some video games teach kids the wrong values. Violent behavior, vengeance and aggression are rewarded.  Negotiating andother nonviolent solutions are often not options.  Women are often portrayed as weaker characters that are helpless or sexually provocative.  
•Games can confuse reality and fantasy.
•Academic achievement may be negatively related toover-all time spent playing video games. Studies have shown that the more timea kid spends playing video games, the poorer is his performance in school.  (Anderson & Dill, 2000; Gentile, Lynch & Walsh, 2004)
•Video games may also have bad effects on somechildren’s health, including obesity, video-induced seizures. andpostural, muscular and skeletal disorders, such as tendonitis, nervecompression, carpal tunnel syndrome.
•When playing online, your kid can pick up badlanguage and behavior from other people, and may make your kid vulnerable to onlinedangers.
•A study by the Minneapolis-based National Institutefor Media and the Family suggests that video games can be addictive for kids,and that the kids' addiction to video games increases their depression andanxiety levels. Addicted kids also exhibit social phobias. Not surprisingly,kids addicted to video games see their school performance suffer.

Recommendation for Video Games

•Monitor video game play the same way you need tomonitor television and other media.
•Be a loving, attentive parent who disciplines yourchild well.  An aggressive child is more a product of dysfunctionalparenting than anything else, including violent games and TV.  Accordingto Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Robert Butterworth, PhD, dysfunctionalparenting, children with little guilt, and accessibility to firearms withlittle parental supervision can create violent children.   "Mostchildren who commit violent crime show an early combination of personality andfamily factors that include having trouble getting along with playmates inpreschool," Butterworth says. "By second or third grade they're doingpoorly in school, and have few friends. By the age of 10 they're picking fightsand getting labeled by their peers as social outcasts."  What's more "theytypically come from families where parents are poor at disciplining becausethey are indifferent, neglectful, too coercive or they use harsh physicalpunishment with little love." 
•Although playing video games can be a learningexperience, give your kid a variety of entertaining things to learn from, soyour kid will not be addicted to just one thing.   Be sure to makehim read books, play sports, interact with other kids, and watch good TV. Everything should be taken in moderation.  The American Academy ofPediatrics recommends that children not spend more than one to two hours perday in front of all electronic screens, including TV, DVDs, videos, video games(handheld, console, or computer), and computers (for non-academic use). Thismeans seven to fourteen hours per week total.
•Limit the amount of time they could play and alsoused the video game ratings to limit the content of the games have children whodo better in school and also get into fewer fights.
•Monitor the effect of video games on yourchild.  Observe his behavior. If it appears that he is becoming moreaggressive with his siblings or friends during the period that he is playingviolent games, stop him from playing the games.  If he becomes interestedin history after playing historical games, then the game is beneficial to him.

What to look for in choosing a video game

•Decide what is acceptable in your home and if youthink violent games are not acceptable, explain to your kid the reason why itmight be bad for him. 
•Check the Ratings of the game before you buy it orallow your kid to play it.  Check its rating which is indicated in thebox.  Note the title and cover picture.  If they have themes of sexand/or violence, then these themes are in the game.  If possible, befamiliar with the game or read its reviews in the internet.  Sometimes,the “bad” part of the game is hidden in the higher levels.  Donot neglect supervising your kid as a parent.
•Consider your child’s maturity level todetermine which games are suitable for him.  Chronological age is notnecessarily a measure of maturity.
•Pick games that require the player to come up withstrategies, and make decisions in a game environment that is more complex thanpunching, stealing, and killing.
•Look for games involving multiple players to encouragegroup play.
•According to Los Angeles-based psychotherapist RobertButterworth, PhD, you should "evaluate the shows and games not just interms of violence or obscenity, but in terms of the mental engagement that theyrequire.  Boys need to slay dragons and play games with action figures ofcowboys and Indians," he says. "They need to be in a fantasy wherethey are conquering heroes; suppressing this may have long-term effects thatmay not be good."


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