Video Game Influences

Topics: Video game, Video game genres, Video game culture Pages: 7 (2457 words) Published: May 14, 2008
Video Gamers have the Advantage
Since the early 1970’s, the demand and popularity of video games has been growing rapidly. Nowadays, video games are an integral part of many people’s lives world-wide. In order to satisfy the public’s growing demand for these innovative games, software companies are producing large quantities of attractive and stimulating video games. With each new generation, these games become more visually dazzling and increase in realism. Because the vast majority of children play video games, questions have been raised as to the effects of partaking in this form of recreational activity and whether parents should allow their children to participate. Although some negative aspects of video game playing have been theorized, parents should not only allow, but rather encourage their children to play video games because these games increase a person’s ability to concentrate and create an environment that fosters successful learning.

Playing video games increases a person’s visual attention and awareness. The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester conducted a series of tests to examine, as Green and Bavelier put it, “[potential] consequences on perceptual and motor skills” caused by playing action video games. In these tests, two groups of people participated. The first group of participants consisted of people that did not play video games. The second group was made up of avid video game players that played at least one hour four days a week. Green and Bavelier explained that they implemented four complex experiments designed “to determine whether video-game playing produces an overall increase in attentional capacity” (1). In other words, they wanted to see if playing action video games could increase a person’s ability to process and comprehend visual material. In the data gathered from these experiments, the group of video gamers outperformed the non-video gamers by a large margin. This evidence brought Green and Bavelier to the conclusion that “video-game playing enhances the capacity of visual attention and its spatial distribution” as well as “task-switching abilities” (2). To confirm this statement, Green and Bavelier had the non-video gamers play action video games for one hour per day over a period of ten days. When they were re-tested at the end of this period, their results increased dramatically (2). This proves that, by playing action video games, a person will become more observant and more aware of his/her environment. These are very important skills that can greatly increase a person’s functionality in many aspects of life, such as driving. While driving a car, one must be extremely observant and able to process visual information rapidly. Being that video games sharpen these attributes, a driver who plays video games would be able to decipher a potentially dangerous situation quicker and more efficiently than a non-video gamer. Roach of The National Geographic emphasizes that “action video gamers tend to be more attuned to their surroundings while performing tasks like driving down a residential street, where they may be more likely to pick out a child running after a ball than a non-video gamer” (1). The visual processing skills attained by playing video games could possibly help a child with sports because it would enable him/her to detect a fast moving object, like a baseball/softball, quickly. Thus, playing video games can help people be more attentive to their situation.

Children learn functional skills from video games that are used in many aspects of life. Psychologist Matt Kiefaber explains that “video games permit the practice of skills that are often not incorporated into the school curriculum” (1). What he is trying to say is that most schools teach students the basic steps on how to solve a problem without showing them how to utilize this information in their lives. For example, throughout grammar and middle...
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