The Effects Of Video Games On Children’s Education Literature Review Example
Video games are still a fairly new technology, and there are plenty of negative remarks about the impact that these games have on children’s minds. Some people also say that it can help in improving coordination and imagination along with several other benefits. However, video games are found to have significant effects on the behavior of children. They can result in the development of aggression and addiction to gaming that can negatively affect the educational life of children. Children may also start finding ways of living a life with video games or other games available through computers and mobile devices. In this regard, parents can play an important role by giving their children a healthy and educational life as they can develop the habit of moderately using everything in their children. In this paper, different aspects of video games have been described. Moreover, their effects on children’s education and some recommendations have also been noted in detail.
Video games are still a fairly new technology, and there are plenty of negative remarks about the impact that these games have on children’s minds. Some people also say that it can help in improving coordination and imagination along with several other benefits. This is a highly controversial issue because of profits that video game companies are making. Although, interests of students are continuously declining, still different kinds of video games are available in the market and many of them are easily accessible without parents’ monitoring. This is one of the reasons that video games became such a dominating force in society. Video games can damage the educational life of children, and parental control is required to have a good impact of video games on our society, especially our children.
History of Videogames
The first successful video game was made in 1966 by a defense engineer by the name of Ralph Baer. Initially, Baer thought of the home videogame console in the year 1966, while he was serving as an engineer at defense contractor Sanders Associates. In the start, it was a skunk works project as creation of toys was not the mission of the military contractor (Kohler, 2015). In 1972, Ralph Baer created a hit game called Pong. The game was bouncing a ball back and forth on a screen against 2 bars like ping pong.
The success of pong got the attention of Atari founder, Nolan Bushnell, and this was the beginning of the video game era. In 1977, Atari wanted to emulate the success that pong had. Pong was not designed as a home video game as it was an arcade console that was to be played at business. Atari had the idea to release home systems that were small and comfortable to transport into houses and use the television set as the screen. Their answer to that need was the Atari Video Computer System (VCS), an 8-bit console that was successful because it opened the video game market for individual people in their homes (Diskin, 2004). From there, other competitors like Sega and Nintendo also started making videogames.
During the years from 1994-1995, three-dimensional gaming consoles were the new technology that gained much popularity (Wolf, 2008). In 1995 alone, three new home gaming systems were unveiled in America, the Sony PlayStation, the Nintendo 64, and the Sega Saturn, bringing a brand new phase of technological video gaming to home video games. Home computer games were also changing format, showcasing the new 3-D graphics in the form of CD-ROMs (Wolf, 2008). The mid-nineties was also the boom for home computers. Before that, computers were mainly in businesses but with the home computer movement, games were also designed for easy and convenient home use (Wolf, 2008).
In 1996, full internet connectivity was available in many continents. This availability increased the internet connection in many homes. Over 20 years have passed in the availability of internet in its present commercialized form (Muehlenhaus, 2013). This was in the midst of the video game boom that internet was gaining popularity. Most households had not acquired anything more than dial up service, which was extremely slow compared to today’s standards, and it had no capability to allow users to play games online. As the new millennium began, society saw a lot of changes due to rapid advances that happened between 1996 and 2010. The internet became a common commodity in American homes. Hotmail was among the first email systems introduced to the public in 1996, Google was introduced to the world in 1998, and then Facebook was launched in 2004 that got rapid popularity among college students (Watkins, 2013).
Along with the internet, the advancement of videogames came. Video games had now started to take the form of social games allowing the user to play against other users via the internet (Dennen, 2012). This allowed for more variety of games as compared to a simple computer without an internet. It allowed the users to chat amongst each other and even form alliance with others. Children are not the only ones, who play video games but they made up a great deal of the market until online games became prevalent.
The development and advancements in the smartphone and tablets have also played an important role in the amount of uncontrolled video gaming and increased time in games by children. Hundreds of gaming apps are available in the online stores to download free of cost (Hu, 2013). These games are highly interactive and their graphics are excellent that can easily grab the attention of users. Children are rarely seen in watching and playing games on the big screens of televisions as they have access to small screens of smartphones and tablets. Parents have to consider this issue, and took away those smartphones and tablets from them, at least during studies. Most of the children can create problem in case of easy accessibility and lack of discipline.
The average age of today’s gamer is 34 years. 40% of game users are females. This is far from the reported gaming population 20 years ago that was made up of predominantly males, who were under the age of 25. With the help of the internet, video gaming has become over 10.5 billion dollar industry (Entertainment Software Rating Board, n.d.).
Effects of Video Games on Education
Boom of the gaming industry is a kind of good news for that industry, but bad news for the educational industry, which now sees parents spending time in playing video games and their kids are also spending more time in playing games. Academic achievement of children has been negatively affected by the over-all time spent by them in playing video games. The more time a child spend in front of screens while playing video games, the poorer his or her performance in studies and schools. The question arises, “Who would help this child in his or her study and doing homework?”, “Who would be held accountable for what he or she is doing?” For 20 years, time is same, i.e. no further time has been added to the 24 hours day and night, then how do people find time for playing so much games?
According to a study by Weis & Cerankosky (2010), children who get their gaming systems spend less time in doing their homework. This situation gets worse with time, and after some months of getting the gaming system, their reading as well as writing scores go down. Chances are also increased that their teachers report more academic problems related to them. These results were consistent with previous reports in which adolescents in the U.S., who used to play video games, were surveyed. In one report, it was found that those adolescents in the age range of 10 to 19 years spent 30% less time on reading books or other such materials, and 34% less time in doing their homework (Cummings & Vandewater, 2007).
The easy measure to find a link between school performance and video games would be to look at the dropout rate from 80’s till the present day. Dropout can be represented by the youngsters, who are not attending the school and have not attained a high school level degree or certificate. The data is showing that there is a decrease in youth not finishing their education but an increase in gaming sales. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the dropout rate has declined from 12% in the year 1990 to 7% in the year 2011. These rates have been determined in youngsters in the age range of 16 to 24 years (National Center for Education Statistics, n.d.).
In this case, dropout rates decreased significantly after the No Child Left Behind Act passed by the former President George W. Bush (Potter, 2014). The No Child Left Behind Act increased the accountability of the school that they have to do everything to help their students in reaching the educational standards set for their particular state. Schools receive funding and donations, and are rate according to this provision. Some other incentives also helped schools in helping their students to work harder and staying in school until completion of education (New America Foundation, 2014).
Development of aggression through video games
Research has shown that profanity in video games can increase the aggression level of children that can also affect their education. A primary indication of verbal aggression often comes in the form of profanity. Children are extremely vulnerable to their surroundings. Although there is research that backs up the claims of profanity in video games does increase verbal aggression, the extent to which it can be affected and attributed to the video games is highly debatable (Ivory & Kaestle, 2013).
Studies have been done proving that aggressive and violent music and movies can affect children negatively, this gives reason to believe that the same is true for video games. Though research has thoroughly addressed different effects of physical aggression in video game content on users, studies are rare on the effects of extreme verbal aggression in the form of profanity in video game content (Ivory & Kaestle, 2013).
Video games like Grand Theft Auto have been the main target for this claim. Although most mainstream games are not riddled with profanity, Grand Theft Auto and several others are. The game features crimes like auto theft, robberies, murders, and rapes. The study featured games that had the player using individual characters and the perception of the game gave a first person point of view (Ivory & Kaestle, 2013).
There are several questions that the research is attempting to answer. Previous research has confirmed that violence in video games does increase hostile expectations. Can the use of profanity in video games affect hostile expectations in the players of those games? (Ivory & Kaestle, 2013). Comprehending the effects of profanity in video games on the psychological being is imperative to comprehending media effects on aggression.
Aggressive behavior is another internal psychological state explained in previous studies as an indicator of future hostile outcomes, so we must turn our attention in finding out the effects of profanity in video games. The research shows that psychological arousal of subjects by profanity is not clear as the confirmation of this arousal is based on the reports by subjects, but it is important that the subjects have to have a conscious mind and feelings, and they must be able to report the findings properly (Ivory & Kaestle, 2013).
Another thing that must be taken into consideration is the differences between subjects. There will be differences in gaming experiences, age, gender, and natural aggression. These factors may play a role in how profanity in video games affects the subjects. So here is the next question, “Can the differences in the genders, prior video game experience, pre-existing aggression, current video game use, and prior violent video game experience are affected by the profanity found in the video games that respond to players?” (Ivory & Kaestle, 2013). However, in this regard, it has been reported that gender, prior general video game experience, pre-existing aggression, prior violent video game experience, and current video game use are not influenced by profanity in the video games (Ivory & Kaestle, 2013). This is clearly showing high impact of profanity on all age levels and genders having different kinds of experiences.
Video game addiction
For some children, the problem of online gaming has turned into an addiction. Studies are showing that numerous adults and children have developed the symptoms of addiction for games. Most people consider that addiction is always due to a substance, but it has to be considered that two characteristics are common to all kinds of addictions; one is that the person needs more of the substance or behavior to keep him or her going, and the other is that the person can become miserable and irritable, if that requirement has not been fulfilled (Rauh, n.d.).
The American Medical Association does not recognize video gaming addiction as a diagnosable disorder, but there is no doubt that all the symptoms for addiction exists. Studies have shown that 10% to 15% of gamers have the signs that are according to the World Health Organization’s criteria of addiction. It is same as gambling and other compulsive behaviors that teens may start living in the fantasy world of gaming and may start neglecting their family members, friends, work, as well as school activities (Video game addiction, n.d.).
Parents have reported taking laptops and other form of electronics, where their kids play and have had their child get angry or depressed for a long period of time; even to the point of not eating or sleeping. These are classic symptoms of an addict of any other kind of substance or behavior. So the next question is what is the harm? (Video game addiction, n.d.). This is not a substance that will kill or cause immediate harm like alcohol, excessive eating, drugs, etc.
Why does it matter that the child is addicted? They are just keeping to themselves. The problem is that the amount of time that the child is playing video games is taking away their social life from them. It is critical that youth has to gain social skills, has to develop interests, has to develop hobbies, has to gain relationships, and do his or her school work. Without a healthy balance of these things, youngsters may grow up to be an adult with social skills of an 11 year old because they were not able to gain those skills as a child and then as an adult (Rauh, n.d.).
Overall, it can be said that video game addicts may start arguing and discussing a lot with their teachers during studies. They may start fighting with their friends and family members on minor issues. Many game players can also skip their school work and studies, so that they would be able to play more games. These things can result in lower grades by video game addicts as compared to those children, who play video games less often. Many students would also admit that their video game habits are responsible for their poor grades in schools.
Proponents of video games and Recent Research
Advocates for video games and children argue that video games keep the child engaged. This engagement helps them in using parts of their brain that they would not be using if they were just watching television (Ruah, n.d.). Before the easy accessibility of video games through smart phones and tablets, people were complaining about television being the issue. With television the child is basically just using their sense of hearing and seeing (Ruah, n.d.). Even though some studies are showing that playing video games can help in enhancing the concentration of a child, but some other studies as, for example, a research paper published in the Psychology of Popular Media Culture in 2012 have reported that games can disturb the attention-related issues of children. Though these games can improve the concentration for short time, but they are hurtful for long-term concentration (Gentile, Swing, Lim, & Khoo, 2012).
Proponents of video gaming are of opinion that video games keep the child busy and in some aspects such as the Wii gaming, the child is also active. However, this should not replace what exercise and outdoor will supply but it is a healthy replacement for television according to game advocates. They even go as far as to say that the school and teaching have to be adopted in the way the present day children are wired with technology. Instead of telling these kids to read books and learn in a traditional way, the school needs to catch up with the present times. Research was done on children with learning disabilities and researchers checked, if they preferred the traditional way of learning. They found that students with learning disabilities (LD) found it difficult to deal with middle school science courses. This difficulty is probably due to restricted instructional diversity. Moreover, teachers with insufficient knowledge and little practice of teaching are also responsible for this difficulty in learning (Marino et al., 2014).
Some other factors affecting the education of children
The children’s educational progress or decline cannot only be attributed to the games they play or the amount of time they give to the games. Some other factors also play an important role in the student’s success or failure. In the present times, divorce rates have been increased (Shaw, 2010), and divorce of parents is difficult for a child to live a normal life. Moreover, single parent homes are unable to function as efficiently as those homes having both parents. This lack of efficiency can be translated into the absence of sufficient parental monitoring. On the other hand, increased use of processed foods has also played an important role in increasing the cases of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) along with other physical issues related to the diet (Simopoulos, 2011). These are some of the factors that can play an important role in decreasing interest in education.
Concluding remarks and Some Recommendations
In a Joint Statement in the Congressional Public Health Summit, most of the American medical associations including American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Psychological Association, and American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry have cautioned parents and other senior family members about the violence and profanity in the media, and their negative effects on the lives of children. They have also reported that exposure to this violent media can increase the aggressive feelings as well as thoughts, particularly in children. It has also been noted that the aggressive behavior developed as a result of aggressiveness in games can be long-term. Although very few studies have been done on the use of interactive video games, reports are showing that violent video games can have a more dramatic affect on the behavior and attitude of children as well as adolescents (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2000), and this negative behavior can affect the education of children.
Parents know that playing can help their children in learning new things more rapidly, but they have to give their children different kinds of entertaining things, aside from video games that can help them in learning new things. They have to consider that those entertaining things must not result in any kind of addiction that could result in negative impact on their children. Parents have to spend time with their children in reading books, playing sports, interacting with other children of their age, and watching good TV shows. Most importantly, they have to check that everything must be done in moderation. According to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, children must not spend more than 1-2 hours in a day in front of electronic screens such as that of TV, computers, and handheld devices (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2013). This shows that children can spend from 7 to 14 hours in a week in front of screen.
Conclusively, it can be said that video games have negative impacts on the lives of children. Though it has some positive effects, its negative effects are more than positive effects. Moreover, profanity in games can increase the chances of hostility. However, further studies are required to understand the extent to which the video games can have negative effects on the life of an average gamer and the education of children.
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