Psychological Effect of Video Games

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The American educational system has been hindered by video games. If you look around you, you will realize that video games are everywhere. From Ipods, to smart phones, televisions, to even some of our printers now have games. Our generation is called the “Joystick Generation”, and for good reason too. Everyone is plugged in and no one more so than America’s youth. To put the impact of the “Joystick Generation” into perspective, take into account that software sales spiked twenty-eight percent last year to 9.5 billion. An average of nine games were sold every second according to the Entertainment Software Association. By the time the average adolescent turns 21, he or she will have spent 10,000 hours playing video games (Prensky page). This is about the same amount of time necessary to fully master a sport, musical instrument, or area of professional expertise (Ericsson pg.1). Given these statements, it is evident that videogames are a large aspect of today’s life. The majority of our youth today play video games. Only making the effects of video games all that worse. Video games cause psychological problems in students such as aggression, apathy, and impulsive behavior as well as many physical problems such as obesity and high blood pressure. Video games have become such a large problem that all around the world there have been control systems put in place trying to keep violent video games out of the hands of adolescents.

Society has a general understanding that videogames are linked to numerous negative issues, however, there are a few good studies about video games. Some scientists believe that video games do a few good things for people since they serve as a forum for interpersonal

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interactions, meaning that they provide an activity for friends to participate together in. Online video games can promote interactions with others across the game network and establish new friendships. Other research concludes that the positive benefits from playing video games include enhanced problem solving skills, better communication skills and team-building skills. Another benefit from video game play was later success in high-tech professional fields (wood et al pg. 3 ). Even though these possibilities are recognized by the scientific community, the Cons by far outweigh the Pros. Aggression, failure to communicate, and apathetic tendencies will impact human life in a much greater manner than the team building effect of violent video games that one can get from something positive such as engaging in organized sports.

Video games have many psychological effects that stand in the way of the United States educational system. One of which being aggression. There are a number of negative behavioral, cognitive, and affective consequences of exposure to violent media such as video games, both immediately and developmentally (Gentile pg. 2). “The magnitude of these effects is alarming. This is larger than the effect of condom use on decreased HIV risk, the effect of exposure to passive smoke at work and lung cancer, and the effect of calcium intake on bone mass” (Bushman pg. 120). Massive and expensive steps have been taken to educate the public about other societal effects such as non-smoking campaigns but there is almost nothing to deal with the effects of violent video games. Social skills are a crucial aspect of a child’s positive development. Video games which are not always played in group atmospheres tend to alienate the player. The time dedicated to

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gaming and its addictive nature takes away from the child involving themselves in more positive play with peers such as being outdoors and on sports teams or other clubs and organizations. Research has indicated that aggression and other related behaviors have a negative effect on social skills. Lack of appropriate social skills can cause emotional, cognitive, and behavioral...
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