How Video Games Effect Children?
Scientific and technical progress that has reached a huge success by the end of the 20th century became the reason of inventing such a wonderful thing as a computer. Today, the computer is in the center of nowadays society, industrial field, scientific research, medicine, business, art, etc. There is no any huge company or even middle class firm that can do without a computer. Computers headily become an essential part of people’s life, taking much place in their consciousness. One of the most spread kinds of activities that have a lot of fans among children and adults is video games. This kind of activity plays a major role in the children’s everyday life. The statistics relating to this issue is shocking. Tanner states that more than 90% of children are engaged in playing video games.
Nowadays, computer technologies achieved quite a high level of development providing the programmers with the possibility to elaborate the realistic and qualitative graphic designed games. Video games cover a wide range of equipment (cell phones, handheld devices, computers, etc). Unfortunately, most video games (approximately 80%) contain a lot of scenes with violence. This very fact made parents concern about the negative impact of video games on their children.
The game fans, in other words ‘gamers’, do nothing but play computer games. They differ from other people for having an awfully narrow circle of people to communicate with and behaving aggressively. The reason for such behavior is the fact that the sense of most video games is violence. Gamer is offered to kill beasts, unusual creatures, or people. Furthermore, violence has more powerful influence on girls than boys. That is because girls collide with violence not as often as boys and have less experience of cruel video games. That makes them react stronger than boys.
Children spend too much time playing video games. According to the article “Experimental Study of the Differential Effects of Playing Versus Watching Violent Video Games on Children’s Aggressive Behavior” by Polman, children spend ten times more time on playing different video games than on reading books for pleasure. Why do children start playing computer games? That happens partly because video games are extremely interesting, but the most important reason is that children have just nothing else to do. Let us look back on the 1960s. How did teenagers spend their leisure at that time? Did they know anything about video games? No, they even did not know what a computer was, but they were happy. They used to do things which are not interesting for today’s children; for instance, they used to read exciting books, spend a lot of time with their friends, go to the theater and cinema, go with their parents in the forest or to the mountains and dedicate much time for going in for various kinds of sport. As a result, they have far more unforgettable memories than children nowadays. Perhaps, those things can serve as an alternative to video games.
The experimental study on playing violent video games was conducted. Fifty-seven children (10-13 years old) took part in this examination. Some participants played a violent video game; some of them just watched a violent video game, and some – played a non-violent video game. The study showed that the boys who played the violent game behaved much more aggressively than those who were the passive gamers. Due to the video games, kids stopped to adequately feel the difference between virtual and real violence. Having passed through many computer battles (violent games) and overcame all monsters, a child keeps struggling in the real life. He/she puts himself/herself above all: parents, adults, friends and considers himself/herself to be the master of the Universe. Such children are in serious problem: they do not even realize that they cannot adapt to a real life.
Video games have also a huge impact on behavioral, emotional, and cognitive functioning. It is very important to know about video game’s effect on adolescent’s sleep as well. Unfortunately, there is no sufficient evidence as for the impact of video games on sleeping. According to the conducted studies in this area, playing video games for a long period of time can become the reason for the serious disruption of adolescent’s sleep. Almost half of the life people spend in sleep. Therefore, it is impossible to overstate the role of sleeping for the human body. This is an essential process in everybody’s life, and if adolescents neglect sleeping because of video games, they will suffer from serious health problems. For example, prolonged playing of video games destructs brain at the cellular level, complicates transmission of nerve impulses, and reduces brain activity in general.
Another area video games have impact on is children’s performance at school. Video games have both positive and negative impact on studies. The negative influence lies in the fact that video games become the reason of children’s bad success at school. Those children who play games lost sense of life and feeling of human values. They used to live in the real world, but now they are completely absorbed into the game environment. They have only two necessary things: food and a powerful computer. Those people, especially kids, go mad about games and are close to pathology. As a result, this leads to low grades at school.
The positive effect consists in the fact that there are a lot of useful games. That is why, before buying their children a video game, parents should check it. There is a wide range of video games for children in the market, and plenty of them can be even useful for broadening children’s outlook and encouraging academic success.
Another problem, except for playing computer games, is watching TV. Nowadays, watching TV and playing video games have become the public health concerns. A systematic review of studies referring to the links of emotional and behavioral difficulties in children with the abovementioned problems is represented in journal Child: Care, Health & Development. Unfortunately, this systematic study failed to find sufficient evidence on the connection of video games playing and TV watching to the emotional and behavioral difficulties in children. However, according to this review, video games do cause the changes in mood of children and, moreover, provoke them to behave aggressively.
Another relevant impact of playing video games and watching TV is the fact that such activities lead to the lack of free time for physical training and increase the “screen time”. It is known that adolescents spend quarter of their life playing video games or watching television. Children starting from the age of 5 lose approximately 7 hours a day sitting in front of the screen. Over 150.000.000 of American people play video games some times per week. While playing video games or watching TV, they do not pay attention to how much they eat; even those, who go on a diet always fail to follow it while being engaged in such kind of activity.
In order to reduce the negative impact of video games, software development companies created two systems for computer games. These systems divide games according to the level of violence present, the corruption of language, the degree of heroes’ nakedness, and drug use. It helps the parents to determine which games their children should play and which not.
Kids’ health is the most important thing in life, and if children have any problems, parents are the very people who have nothing but help them. That is why the best way for parents to help their children to overcome video games’ addiction is to go through it together. The only thing parents should remember is that they cannot forbid their children to play video games at all. They have to find the way to be aware of what their children do, what kind of video games they play, how much time they spend at the computer, and, most importantly, if they have not gotten addicted to the computer games yet.
Parents should help their children to understand the real consequences of violence, and children need to realize the difference between the virtual and real life.
The most important point is that before parents let their children play the game, they should try it themselves. It is a little bit weird, but parents should try playing the video games together with their children. It is a very effective way to get along with children and spend more time with them, as well as get rid of the generation gap. Another good idea to solve this problem is to set the limit on the time their kids can spend playing video games. Otherwise, kids will be engaged in playing video games during the whole day. Those parents whose children have not ever tried playing computer games have to do their best not to let them become a part of the virtual life.