Health-Related Advantages Of Video Games Argumentative Essay Sample
Video Games: Effectiveness in Mental/Physical Health and Education/Training
A video game can be simply described as “any game played on a digital device and encompasses a wide range of games played at arcades, over the Internet on personal computers, or on dedicated game consoles (e.g., Nintendo GameCube, Sony PlayStation, or Microsoft Xbox) or handheld units (e.g., Nintendo Game Boy, Sony PSP)” (Baranowski, Buday, Thompson, & Baranowski 2008). In the contemporary times, video games have turned out to be expansively incorporated into popular culture. Having fun and entertainment is usually thought to be the primary purpose of playing video games. However, entertainment is not the only factor that seems to make video games an important part of peoples’ daily lives. It needs to be realized that besides entertainment, videogames are an indispensable tool for exercising, education, and training for numerous jobs.
In fact, people who consider video games to be the cause of violence and lack of social contact are cleanly the members an older generation who have no understanding about the usage and significance of video games for peoples’ health and education. Video games involve the provision of widespread player involvement for a large audience of kids and adults. If the truth is told, they are great channels to deliver messages and experiences concerning health behavior through an appealing and amusing format. In addition to the entertainment factor, videogames possess tremendous positive potential and prove considerably successful when designed for tackling a specific dilemma or teaching a particular skill (Griffiths 2002).
Video games are mostly acknowledged as disadvantageous for both adults and children. The negative consequences reported to be associated with them include addiction, amplified aggressiveness, as well as numerous psychological, physical, and psychosocial problems. On the other hand, video games have several positive benefits. Regardless of their genres, playing video games is found to be helpful in the reaction times’ reduction, improvement of hand-eye coordination, and development of augmented self-esteem (Griffiths 2002).
The empirical research and literature proves that the harmful consequences of playing video games almost always include people who play videogames excessively. In contrast, modest players are benefitted as videogames help in the development and reinforcement of important psychological and physical skills. For instance, the rotation and manipulation of objects with two or three dimensions in videogames improve an individual’s spatial visualization ability (Griffiths 2002).
According to numerous studies, children who play video games after going through chemotherapy processes need smaller quantities of painkillers (Griffiths 2014). This finding was further validated in 2010 at the yearly scientific meeting of American Pain Society. Substantial evidence was provided by the researchers concerning the effects of playing video games in the reduction of anxiety, lessening of pain followed by chronic illness or medical procedures. The study revealed that when people who underwent serious medical treatments or chemotherapy were plunged in an environment of virtual gaming, they showed considerably less anxiety and panic. Moreover, when people with burn wounds treatment were introduced to gaming, there was a 30-50% drop in their pain levels (Guarini 2013). In this connection, Re-Mission is a great video game for patients with cancer, especially children. This video game allows the child cancer patients to direct a small robot to eliminate cancer cells by shooting them, defeat bacterial infections, and deal with queasiness and other obstructions to stick on with their ongoing treatments (Granic, Lobel & Engels 2014).
Moreover, a study conducted at the University of Iowa suggested that even older people who play video games can get certain benefits. It was found out that “playing brain-teasing game for just two hours a week may help slow the degree of mental decay associated with the natural aging process” (Guarini 2013). Therefore, people who consider playing video games as unhealthy and addictive must comprehend the health benefits associated with this entertaining activity. Pain Relief Centers’ Charles Friedman made reference to the Wii’s motion sensor technology confirming that gaming permits the brain to keep on making use of other senses rather than focusing on body ache or hurting. A chemical known as endorphin is also released in the brain while playing games. This chemical is usually considered to have a close association with happiness and is also helpful in anesthetizing uneasiness and distress (Guarini 2013).
It is worth-mentioning that even the simplest video games have certain psychological benefits for individuals. A game as simple as Angry Birds has the ability to bring improvements in the mood of a player. Besides, simple games encourage people to relax and ward off any depression. In addition, it is also acknowledged that video games can contribute as effective tools for learning resilience against failure. Failure in games helps people to deal with real-life difficulties in a strong manner. In particular, a child who learns resilience at an early age is expected to be a much emotionally-stronger adult in the later life.
Educational Benefits of Playing Video Games
Video games also carry fundamental importance in learning potential as well as educational experiences. The fun, curiosity, and the challenge’s nature also enhance the players’ learning experiences. In view of the fact that videogames have the capability of engaging children and teenagers, there has been an increase in edu-tainment media. Observing children makes it crystal clear that the young souls prefer learning approaches that involve entertainment. Those who oppose video games must understand the significance of these educational means as research tools (Griffiths 2002).
In addition, videogames appeal to an expansive participation by people across a number of demographic boundaries thus thriving cultural amalgamation. Similarly, videogames are capable of assisting children to set goals, guarantee goal practice, provide feedback, corroborate well, and maintain behavioral change records. On the other hand, their importance for researchers cannot be ignored as video games allow performance measurement in various tasks. These measurements are changeable, understandable, and standardized accordingly. In addition, researchers also make use of videogames to examine individual characteristics like confidence, self-worth, individual differences, and goal-setting (Griffiths 2002).
It is interesting to note that video games are also being used for the enhancement of physical or cognitive skills of healthcare professionals. For instance, training-surgeons associated with endoscopic field make use of video games to improve their endoscopic skills.
Videogames are also reported to offer interactive elements used for learning stimulation. Besides the provision of fun and enjoyment, videogames let the participants experience originality, inquisitiveness and challenge ultimately motivating them to learn. In the contemporary times, videogames are extremely helpful in equipping children with up to date modern technology. Adults belonging to the older generation may also be able to triumph over the fear of technology known as technophobia. In the similar fashion, playing video games may also prove helpful in the elimination of gender disparity in the use of information technology since males are considered more fervent IT users as compared to females. Thus, the helpfulness of videogames in developing convenient IT skills cannot be neglected (Griffiths 2002).
Several comprehensive programs use video games to assist the development of spatial ability skills and social skills in children and young people who have severe developmental problems or learning disabilities. These include autism, attention deficit orders, and limited speech acquisition. The idea that the brains of kids are negatively affected by video games was completely rejected by one of the studies conducted at University of Padua. The researchers provided substantial proof that dyslexic children demonstrated improved reading skills when immersed in an environment of fast-paced video games (Guarini 2013).
In this study, children aged 7-13 were divided into two groups. One group played "Rayman Raving Rabids" (an action game) whereas the other group played another game with a lower tempo. Afterwards, the children’s reading skills were tested. The results revealed that children who played Rayman Raving Rabids could read faster and more correctly. The hypothesis presented by the authors stated that action games are helpful to increase the attention span of kids and this skill is essential for accurate reading (Guarini 2013).
There are innumerable videos games that have been specifically designed as effective learning machines. Usually, a lot of games begin with an uncomplicated tutorial level allowing the player to know the game’s basic mechanics. The tactics and strategies needed for the completion of tasks become complicated as the game advances. During this time, there is a gradual switch in the teaching method from a clear tutorial to an experience-based method. In essence, video games offer valuable lessons for the players so that they can learn the essential skills required to assess any situation within the game with a critical approach. In this way, players learn to evaluate and resolve the best strategy for concluding the game (Ashinoff 2014).
One of the best examples of a real-time strategy game is Starcraft 2. This game requires the players to get hold of numerous resources then utilize them for buying buildings and combating units. Later, they are needed to fight and overwhelm their opponents. The successful completion of this game requires the players to use their time-management skills as well as make efficient use of the resources. They must do better than their enemies as every building and fighting unit has a different purpose, price, and build time. In addition, the fighting units have several strong and weak points. Therefore, a player has to keep on updating the strategies considering the interaction with remaining players. In short, Starcraft 2 is one of the most renowned games that allow players to polish their management and critical thinking skills. In reality, whereas beginners of the Starcraft game make about 100 decisions/actions every minute; players who reach the professional level acquire the ability of making over 400 actions per minute (Ashinoff 2014).
Video games are acknowledged as learning machines for other factors as well. The fact that video games induce high motivation in players allows stimulation of advanced student engagement and involvement when compared with conventional teaching methods. Hamlen verifies this fact as he states, “despite assumptions that children play video games to avoid mental stimulation, children are actually motivated by the challenge and thinking required by video games” (Hamlen 2013). Videogame playing also assists children in the development of problem-solving skills. In particular, strategic video games that involve role-playing approaches help adolescents to enhance the said skills. In 2013, the publication of a long-term study revealed that strategic videogames helped students to achieve higher school grades. Moreover, all kinds of video games enhance children’s creativity (Granic, Lobel & Engels 2014).
Ashinoff, B. K. (2014). The Potential of Video Games as a Pedagogical Tool. Frontiers in Psychology [online]. 5, p.1109. Available from: <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4179712/>. [Accessed 9 April 2015].
Baranowski, T., Buday, R., Thompson, D. I., & Baranowski, J. (2008). Playing for Real: Video Games and Stories for Health-Related Behavior Change. American Journal of Preventive Medicine [online]. 34 (1), p.74-82. Available from: <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2189579/>. [Accessed 8 April 2015].
Granic, I, Lobel, A., & Engels, R. (2014). The Benefits of Playing Video Games. American Psychologist [online]. 69 (1), p.66-78. Available from: <http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/amp-a0034857.pdf>. [Accessed 9 April 2015].
Griffiths, M. (2014). Playing Video Games is good for Your Brain. The Washington Post [online]. Available from: <http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/11/11/playing-video-games-is-good-for-your-brain/>. [Accessed 8 April 2015].
Griffiths, M. (2002). The Educational Benefits of Videogames. Education and Health [online]. 20 (3), p.47-51. Available from: <http://sheu.org.uk/sites/sheu.org.uk/files/imagepicker/1/eh203mg.pdf>. [Accessed 8 April 2015].
Griffiths, M. (2005). Video Games and Health. British Medical Journal [online]. 331 (7509), p.122-123. Available from: <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC558687/>. [Accessed 9 April 2015].
Guarini, D. (2013). 9 Ways Video Games Can Actually Be Good For You. The Huffington Post [online]. Available from: <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/07/video-games-good-for-us_n_4164723.html>. [Accessed 9 April 2015].
Hamlen K. R. (2013). Understanding Children's Choices and Cognition in Video Game Play: A Synthesis of Three Studies. Z. Psychol. 221, 107–114. Print.