Children and Video Games

Over the past decade, the effect that video games have on children have been a subject of scientific research and heated public debates. For instance, professional bodies such as the American Psychological Association (APA) have evaluated this topic after which they have confirmed that there is a connection between the video games that are played by children and aggression as well as violence and other negative impacts.

In analyzing this topic, I portray the experience that I have gained in this particular field after working with APA for almost whole decade in the analysis of the impact that video games have on children. This is particularly a significant topic in the current setup in America where studies have revealed that many children spend several hours playing the latest video games (Anderson & Dill, 2000).

Children are affected negatively by video games due to the addiction that make them physically inactive, violent through fighting and shooting and sexual decadence. Children are also denied the important opportunity for establishing long lasting and strong social relationships.

Addiction is one of the harmful effects that video games have on children. This causes physical inactiveness among children which results in the increasing obesity cases among children (Carnagey & Anderson, 2006). Usually, video games are addictive to young people and therefore they give first priority to them. Engaging in little physical activities is detrimental to children’s health because it can leads to obesity as well as other health related difficulties or problems.

Obesity is among the leading health conditions in the United States. This acts as evidence why parents ought to control or limit the level of exposure of their children to video games so that they can ensure a healthy balance with outdoor activities. They should also balance video games with interaction activities with other children.

As such, it is the obligation of educators and parents to ensure that children do not spend a lot of time as they play video games without considering physical health (Robinson & Wilde, 2001). The current market has many video games that depict different types of violence. These types of violence include fighting and shooting.

Young boys play majority of these games and as a result, they focus their attention on the violent acts and scenes that entail using weapons, verbal abuse and fighting (Dietz, 1998). Children have young minds that are easy to mold especially when they are exposed to this violence. As such, the children assume that using violence and engaging in other violent scenes is the standard in the current society.

To inculcate positive values in children, parents should provide guidance so as to control the nature and the amount of the video games that young children play or watch. As such, guardians or parents have a responsibility of assisting young children to differentiate the reality from the video games clearly.

Usually, video games affect the development of children. This makes the children allergic to social behaviors and while becoming aggressive. This is usually because children are denied the opportunity for learning how long lasting and strong relationships are established by video games. Consequently, many children lack proper communication skills because they spend a lot of time playing video games.

Most video games that are played by children do not inculcate constructive values in them. They also do not train them on the way to build strong relationships and develop communication skills. Consequently, it is the responsibility of their parents to control and limit the exposure of their children to video games. This way, they will ensure that children develop appropriate social relationships and behaviors (Robinson & Wilde, 2001).

Despite being associated with several negative effects on children, video games are also important learning tools for children. Gentile, Lynch, Linder and Walsh (2004) notes that, video games are important because they increase the dexterity of children while enhancing their hand-eye coordination. As such, this enables the children to reason quickly. It also improves the reflexes of children (Dietz, 1998).

Additionally, majority of the newly produced video games are precision-based. Consequently, controlling the characters in the video games takes accurate and miniature movements. As a result, this makes young children skillful in operating and handling actual or real life machinery and objects (Walsh & Gentile, 2001).

Using parental controls is a technical solution that parents can use to monitor children as they play so that they can prevent them from playing violent video games or those with sexual activities. Parental controls come with age ratings that include PEGI age which is for PlayStations. Using such controls enable parents to control the games that their children can play.

Age rating also gives parents accurate information that they need when downloading or purchasing video games for their children. Solution for purchasing video games online that have sexual contents includes restricting children access to sites that have explicit content using the right control setting (Carnagey & Anderson, 2006).

It is the responsibility of the government to ensure protection of the children against video games exposure if they have explicit content. This can be achieved by requiring the internet service providers to restrict access to the sites that have video games with explicit content that can be bought online.

In a nutshell, children are affected by video games negatively via addiction that causes physical inactiveness as well as increase in obesity cases among children. They also cause violence in children due to the violence that they depict which include fighting and shooting. This hinders children from building long lasting and strong social relationships.

Nevertheless, video games are important learning tools because they increase dexterity in children. They improve their hand-eye coordination. They also enable children to think and act quickly because they play a vital role in enhancing their reflexes.

References

Anderson, C. & Dill, K. (2000). Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the lab and in life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(4): 772-790.

Carnagey, N., & Anderson, C. (2006). The effect of video game violence on physiological            desensitization to real-life violence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 12(2):            331-342.

Dietz, T. (1998). An examination of violence and gender role portrayal in video games:     Implication for gender socialization and aggressive behaviors. Sex Roles, 38: 425-442.

Gentile, D., Lynch, P., Linder, J. & Walsh, D. (2004). The effects of violent video game habits     on adolescent aggressive attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Adolescence, 27: 5-22.

Robinson, T. & Wilde, M. (2001). Effects of reducing children’s television and video game use    on aggressive behavior. Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, 155: 17-23.

Walsh, D. & Gentile, D. (2001). A validity test of movie, television, and video game ratings.        Pediatrics, 107: 1302-1308.

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