Positive Effects of Video Games

Next in Child Prodigies — the Gamer

Numerous researchers have proposed potential positive effects of video games on aspects of social and cognitive development and psychological well-being. It has been shown that action video game players have better hand-eye coordination and visuo-motor skills, such as their resistance to distraction, their sensitivity to information in the peripheral vision and their ability to count briefly presented objects, than non-players.

With the development of the PlayStation Move, Kinect and Wii, video games can also help develop motor skills through full body movement. Video games also develop the individual’s intelligence, and in social games develop the social capabilities of the individual. Another way in which the usage of video games might provide a benefit is in the relief of stress.

There is a study being conducted by Dr.Cheryl Olson and her team at Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Center for Mental Health and Media and Harvard to prove that violent games help students deal with stress and aggression. She has found that over 49% of boys and 25% of girls use violent games such as ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’ as an outlet for their anger. Dr. Olson has come to the conclusion that violent games affect students positively and not negatively because the violent crime rate is going down while the popularity of M-rated video games has increased. She suggests that instead of stopping children from playing M-rated games completely, parents should just monitor how much time their children spend playing games; parents should take responsibility.

Several studies have explored the possible benefits of multiplayer video games in a family setting. The most recent study found that girls 11-16 who played video games with their parents had better mental health and less aggressive behavior, with a stronger connection if they played age-appropriate games. Many studies have been done on gaming and its integration into the classroom in order to support the educator. ‘The use of gaming has the ability to actively involve students in learning.’ On-line gaming is especially important in helping students build collaborative skills while completing given tasks. Playing video games outside of the school is a way to develop useful skills for the classroom and the rest of the social world for that matter. Its quite common for games to use puzzles, mazes, and recalling past events in the game to progress. It will also show the child that sometimes choices may be hard to make when trying to get something done. It has a person evaluate consequences and benefits from a choice, and also decide to confront or avoid a problem based on their individual skill set.

To date, video game training appears to be one of the more interesting and promising means to improve perceptual, attentional, and cognitive abilities. One of its promises is that, compared to traditional training, it can be engaging and entertaining. This has led some companies to begin to market video games for the specific purpose of improving cognition. For example, Nintendo advertises ‘Big Brain Academy’ as a game that ‘trains your brain with a course load of mind-bending activities across five categories: think, memorize, analyze, compute, and identify.’

Journalist and author, David Sheff, believes that many skills can be learned from the gaming experience, it builds practical and intellectual skills, ‘by playing video games children gain problem solving abilities, perseverance, pattern recognition, hypothesis testing, estimating skills, inductive skills, resources management, logistics mapping, memory, quick thinking and reasonable judgements.’ Many authors disagree with the notion that suggests that the media can cause violence, they propose media cannot cause violence because humans have the ability to recognize what is wrong, and what is right. They suggest people are not going to mistake fiction for reality. J.C. Herz argued that many so-called negative effects of video games, such as aggression and lack of pro-social behavior, are both necessary and useful traits to have in a capitalistic society. Specifically, Herz argued that many academic researchers have an anti-capitalist bias, and thus failed to notice the benefits of such traits.

One Comment to “Positive Effects of Video Games”

  1. The thing is not to use video games as learning tools, but rather to apply some of their more useful qualities to truly inovative courseware. I certainly hope I life to see it!

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