The Effects of Video Games on Children

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THE EFFECTS OF VIDEO GAMES ON CHILDREN 7

Are there any proven positive effects of playing video games forchildren? Video games are electronically controlled images, which arecreated via computer programs on a display screen. They arecharacterized by sound effects, animated colors and graphics.

Video games act as the main form of entertainment due to theiraccessibility to masses. Currently 97% of teens in America play thegames (Norcia, 2014). The sales from video games are on a riseresulting in close to 12 billion dollars yearly (Norcia, 2014). Videogames are unique when compared to other games because they encourageplayers to join in the script of a game. They have been in existencefor years. However, today’s games are more complicated and theplayer must be constantly attentive to the game. The players connectto the video games, not just physically, but emotionally.

The proliferation of video games has raised concerns about theireffects on children, which makes the topic important. Proponentsargue that they can be used to improve learning and as a form ofentertainment. This is because the activities performed when playingvideo games enhance eye-hand coordination. Also, children who playvideo games might acquire generalized tactics that enhance learning.On the other hand, opponents are concerned about the addictive natureof video games and their association with violence. Addiction happenswhen children feel compelled to play. Violence is alleged to developin children after playing owing to the idea of violence apparent inthe games.

In the following discussion, the essay argues that video games havethe capability to improve children’s physical health. In specific,they improve the physical health of children that have developmentaldelays. The games have been linked with conduct disorder ordepression. However, research shows no relationship between playingvideo games and misconduct or depression in children. Also, there isa positive correlation between playing video games and reducedclinical anxiety in children. Such positive effects have beenobserved in children suffering from autism spectrum disorder. Hence,playing video games has proven positive effects on children.

Video games enhance the physical health of children that havedevelopmental delays. It is important for children with developmentaldelays to be exposed to interactive video games. “Short-terminteractive video game playing in conjunction with standardrehabilitation improves the physical health of children withdevelopmental delays (Hsieh, Lee &amp Lin, 2016).” This is apositive effect, since children with developmental delays, whenallowed to play interactive games depict improved physical health.Interactive games encourage children to identify with characters andimitate them (Norcia, 2014). Assuming that the character in the gameis kicking, the child imitates the same and develops the skills tokick. This is a positive effect of playing the game, especially for achild who could not throw a kick before. Some of the physical healthchanges noted in children after playing interactive video gamesinclude “improvements in single leg stance and grip strength (Hsiehet al., 2016).” For children with developmental delays, being ableto perform such activities requires learning, which can be achievedby playing video games. It is apparent that interactive video gamespositively impact children’s development contrary to arguments thatthe games cause misconduct and depression.

Research shows no relationship between playing video games andmisconduct or depression in children. Opponents of video games arguethat allowing children to play the games may result in conductdisorder or depression. “Playing video games that are more likelyto include violent content in childhood is weakly associated with anincreased risk of conduct disorder in later adolescence (Etchells,Gage, Rutherford &amp Munafo, 2016).” The statement supports thelack of a correlation between playing video games and misbehavior inchildren. Thus, ruling out any negativity associated with the games. According to Gunter (1998), violent games may encourage misconduct inchildren because they focus on the theme of violence. However,Etchells et al. (2016) indicate that there is weak support todemonstrate how playing games like, shoot-em-ups causes a differencein behavior when compared to children who engage in competitivegames. This means that the content of video games cannot be used as asatisfactory indicator of violence. As such, regardless of the gametype or content, video games are less likely to have a negativeeffect on the player’s conduct. In addition, exposing children togames does not result in depression. There is lack of dependablemethodologies from different researches to indicate that childrenplaying video games will experience depression. By ruling out thenegative effects linked to video games, this point thus supports thepositive effects of the games, for instance in reducing the level ofanxiety in children.

Encouraging children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to playvideo games is likely to reduce their clinical anxiety. Playing videogames has a positive effect on children with ASD. “Recently, it hasbeen shown that video games have the potential to enhance mentalhealth and well-being in children (Wijnhoven, Creemers, Engels &ampGranic, 2015).” Children with ASD experience a lot of anxiety. Inorder to deal with their condition, it is important that they areintroduced to approaches that work towards solving the anxiety. Suchapproaches include allowing the children to play video games.Mindlight is an illustration of a game, which has been created withthe objective of treating children’s anxiety disorders. Researchconducted by Wijnhoven et al. (2015) supports a reduction in anxietyfor children that played Mindlight. The game uses a number oftreatment mechanisms, which include “exposure techniques,neurofeedback mechanisms and attention bias modification (Wijnhovenet al. 2015).” The exposure method exposes children to cues thatcause anxiety. Hence, they become familiarized with the cues. In theprocess, the children become comfortable and experience less anxiety.The authors demonstrate that video games can be used to reduceanxiety in children, which is a positive effect. This point aligns tothe correlation between games and improving physical health and thatthe games do not cause misconduct or depression, which are all provenpositive impacts of allowing children to play video games.

Video games have proven positive effects on children. They improvethe physical wellbeing of children suffering from developmentalchallenges because interactive games engage children physically.There is inconclusive research to substantiate that video gamesencourages misconduct, or causes depression in children. When exposedto children with ASD, the games effectively reduce their level ofanxiety. They expose children to the anxiety causing cues and ensurethat they become familiar with the cues. In the end, children do notreact anxiously because they have already been familiarized with whatcauses their unease. In future, video games should be analyzed inregard to their content to differentiate those likely to havenegative efforts and those resulting in positive effects.

References

Etchells, P. J., Gage, S. H.,Rutherford, A. D., &amp Munafo, M. R. (2016). Prospectiveinvestigation of video game use in children and subsequent conductdisorder and depression using data from the Avon Longitudinal Studyof parents and children. PLoSONE, 11(1), 1-11.

The article provides importantresearch on the lack of correlation between video games andmisconduct or depression in children.

Gunter, B. (1998).&nbspTheeffects of video games on children: The myth unmasked.Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press.

The book is significant because itprovides both the opponent and proponents view on video games.

Hsieh, R-L., Lee, W-C., &amp Lin, J-H. (2016). The impact ofshort-term video games on performance among children withdevelopmental delays: A randomized controlled trial. PLoS ONE,11(3), 1-16.

The authors inform on the challenges children with developmentaldelays face and how they can be solved via playing video games, whichsupports the thesis of the essay.

Norcia, A. (2014). The impact of video games. Sutter Health PaloAlto Medical Foundation. Retrieved from:http://www.pamf.org/parenting-teens/general/media-web/videogames.html

The reason for choosing the article is because it providesstatistics on the use of video games, in addition to an analysis ofthe effects.

Wijnhoven, L. A., Creemers, D. H., Engels, R. C., &amp Granic, I.(2015). The effect of the video game Mindlight on anxiety symptoms inchildren with an autism spectrum disorder. BMC Psychiatry,1-9.

The authors inform on how specific games, like Mindlight aresignificant to children, which assists in drawing the conclusion thatthere are proven positive effects of games.