The Good and Bad Effects of Video Games

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The Good and Bad Effects of Video Games
Video and computer games, like many popular, entertaining and addicting kid activities, are looked down upon by many parents as time-wasters, and worse, parents think that these games rot the brain.  Also, violent video games are readily blamed by the media and some experts as the reason why some youth become violent or commit extreme anti-social behavior.  But many scientists and psychologists find that video games actually have many benefits – the main one being making kids smart.  Video games may actually teach kids high-level thinking skills that they will need in the future. Below are the benefits and harmful effects of video games, according to child experts: Good Effects of Video Games

* Video games give your child’s brain a real workout.  In many video games, the skills required to win involve abstract and high level thinking.  These skills are not even taught at school.  Some of the mental skills trained by video games include:                   o    Following instructions

                o    Problem solving and logic                  o    Hand-eye coordination, fine motor and spatial skills. In shooting games, the character may be running and shooting at the same time. This requires the real-world player to keep track of the position of the character, where he/she is heading, their speed, where the gun is aiming, if the gunfire is hitting the enemy, and so on. All these factors need to be taken into account, and then the player must then coordinate the brain's interpretation and reaction with the movement in their hands and fingertips. This process requires a great deal of eye-hand coordination and visual-spatial ability to be successful.  Research also suggests that people can learn iconic, spatial, and visual attention skills from video games.  There have been even studies with adults showing that experience with video games is related to better surgical skills. Also, a reason given by experts as to why fighter pilots of today are more skillful is that this generation’s pilots are being weaned on video games.                 o    Resource management and logistics.  The player learn to manage resources that are limited, and decide the best use of resources, the same way as in real life.  This skill is honed in strategy games such as SimCity, Age of Empires, and Railroad Tycoon                 o    Multitasking, simultaneous tracking of many shifting variables and managing multiple objectives.  In strategy games, for instance, while developing a city, an unexpected surprise like an enemy might emerge.  This forces the player to be flexible and quickly change tactics.                   o    Quick thinking, making fast analysis and decisions.  Sometimes the player does this almost every second of the game giving the brain a real workout. According to researchers at the University of Rochester, led by Daphne Bavelier, a cognitive scientist, games simulating stressful events such as those found in battle or action games could be a training tool for real-world situations. The study suggests that playing action video games primes the brain to make quick decisions. Video games can be used to train soldiers and surgeons, according to the study.                  o    Strategy and anticipation - Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter, calls this "telescoping." Gamers must deal with immediate problems while keeping their long-term goals on their horizon.                 o    Developing reading and math skills – Young gamers force themselves to read to get instructions, follow storylines of games, and get information from the game texts.  Also, using math skills is important to win in many games that involves quantitative analysis like managing resources.                 o    Perseverance – In higher levels of a game, players usually fail the first time around, but they keep on trying until they succeed...
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