Turning Everyday Fun into Learning
I grew up in a household where video games were a privilege that I had to earn. When I had done all my homework and chores, I was allowed to play video games for an hour a day. As I grew older my parents thought I could make my own choices and did not limit the amount of time I spent playing video games. Many people today think that video games cause children to become couch potatoes, act dumb, and be rude. As a young child, my parents taught me that responsibilities come before the reward. That is why I have a different opinion of video games. I believe that video games can be beneficial to individuals; however, there are limitations. They help children deal with cancer, improve literacy skills, gain educational skills, and stay fit, but individuals should be cautious about the genre of the game and the amount of play time. When these precautions are taken, video games can be a helpful tool for many.
The first at home video game, Pong, was created by Allan Alcorn for the Atari. It consisted of two dimensional graphics and was the first game to attract people’s attention. To win, you had to be the first to defeat your opponent in this virtual game of table tennis. Soon after, the video gaming industry began expanding at an unimaginable rate. It took only 30 years to develop this multimillion dollar industry. New technology is opening doors for more advanced gaming systems and the industry is always increasing. We have come from a virtual two-dimensional game of table tennis, to realistic graphics with an abundant amount of detail.
One advantage of video games is that they help patients in hospitals with certain problems like cancer, stress management and even physical therapy. Imagine your son or daughter has cancer. Every time they go to the hospital to get chemotherapy, they dread it, and it saddens you knowing how much pain they will be in. You try to think of a distraction but come up with nothing. In the early 1990s, studies found that video games help pediatric cancer patients deal with the side effects from chemotherapy. According to Kato, two experiments have found that patients that played video games during part of their cancer treatment showed a decrease in the amount of side effects like nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and pain. A study in 1993 by Vasterling found that patients who were put in relaxation training, and patients who played video games, showed the same results. The patients from both groups experienced fewer side effects than those who were not exposed to either of the groups. However, relaxation training cannot be done by just anyone, the person has to be a trained professional (Kato). It becomes difficult for hospitals to use this method because relaxation personnel are not always available and tend to be expensive. Also, a study by Patel in 2009, showed that video games reduce anxiety before the patient is put under. Patients who did not play a hand held game showed high anxiety levels before being put under, compared to the video games group (Kato). According to “By the Numbers: Teens and Video Games”, 97% of adolescence play video games, so what child wouldn’t want to play them in the hospital? They are inexpensive, children would be happy, and no trained professionals are needed. Therefore, video games would make a great alternative in this hospital setting.
Video games are becoming a part of life in many individuals’ lives, especially children’s. Many parents and teachers worry that this new obsession is restricting their children's learning, however, studies and facts show otherwise. In 2006, numerous children ages eight to thirteen came together to play “Civilization” after school. These preteens were part of a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin (Glazer). The game civilization starts out in 4000 BC; the individual player has to construct an empire that is successful and better than the surrounding ones. An average game last approximately 20...
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