Prof. R. Muhlbock
November 23rd, 2012
The Benefits of Video Games
It is without a doubt that video games have exponentially grown in popularity throughout the last decade. They have truly become one of the most popular forms of entertainment (when compared to Television, movies, music, etc). Consumers spent $24.75 billion on video games, hardware and accessories in 2011. Although the majority of game players are adults, video games have become exceptionally popular among kids. According to the NDP, 91% of U.S. children ages 2-17 play video games (64 million)2. Seeing as though the amount of violence in video games has also increased throughout the last decade, many parents are skeptical when coming to a decision of allowing or disallowing their children to play games. Most parents come to the conclusion that video games are a negative influence on their child’s life. This is mainly because some studies show that a steady diet of violent games can lead to antisocial behavior3. These studies combined with common sense are the reason as to why so many parents do not let their children play violent video games (or in some cases, video games in general)3. The problem is, most parents fail to realize that there are actually a great amount of positive affects that gaming have towards children. Almost all parents assume that most or all video games are bad for the user, which is certainly not the case. In fact, playing video games positively influences the lives of adolescents. Children can educate themselves and become better people by playing video games. In addition, there is an extremely small correlation of violent video games affecting the behavior of a child.
It would most definitely not be crazy to think that a child gains nothing (educationally) by playing video games. Obviously educational games on websites such as “Fun Brain” and “Game Classroom” will be beneficial. But what almost all parents do not realize is that some of the most popular (and violent) games that children play such as “Call of Duty: Black Ops” and “Halo 4” have educational value as well. James Jee (a member of the National Academy of Education) states that “good video games are designed to enhance learning through effective learning principals”4. Throughout his seminar he went on to explain that great video games will develop a child’s problem solving skills, which are exceedingly important skills to learn at a young age. More importantly, by playing video games, “kids learn that it is OK to fail and that often failing a few times is necessary to achieve success”4. Of course, some video games teach kids the wrong values, but it is a parent’s choice as to whether or not he/she should buy the next “Grand Theft Auto” for his/her 10-year-old child. In contrast, playing “serious games” will also help increase a child’s hand-eye coordination, Multi tasking, quick thinking, strategy, mapping, memory, teamwork, and cooperation skills5. For example the “Portal” series (created by Valve) is an amazing educational and fun experience both by “playing the game and in communities that are developed around the game”5. To reach the end of a level, the player must solve increasingly difficult physics based problems. Playing video games online brings forth another source of educational values. Although kids may be exposed to inappropriate language by other (most likely older) players, the use of teamwork and communicative skills that are necessary to win in a match of “Halo” most certainly overcome this downside. In addition, the gaming community that surrounds a game allows a child to “delve deeper into the game and increase their social interaction with peers around something they are passionate about”5.
Despite the fact that it sounds absurd, but video games can actually help make a child become a better adult. Most parents “often criticize video games as a waste of time that distracts kids from healthier activities such...