Video Games and Its Effect on Children

Topics: Video game, Personal computer game, Video game industry Pages: 8 (2197 words) Published: March 2, 2011

Thesis Statement
Sociological Effects
* Social Development
* Interaction with peers
* Relationships and interpersonal skills

Psychological Effects
* Aggressive behavior
* Psychiatric Symptoms
* Addictive behavior

Health Effects
* Risk of obesity
* Insufficient physical exercise
* Risk of VGRS (epileptic seizures)

Effects on Academic Performance
* Educational software
* Positive effects on learning and academic skills
* Negative correlation on time spent on games and academic performance


Excessive playing of video games can cause decreased social interaction, psychological disturbances and increased aggressive behavior, deterioration in health and poor academic performance in children.

The playing of video games was investigated to observe and analyse the consequences on children. The effects on social interaction, psychological, in particular aggressive behaviour, health and academic performance were determined by the exploration of various research journals, and literature pertaining to such. Video games over the last 30 years have made an impact on the way children spend their leisure time. However, it was only during the last decade that any kind of research was done to study the effect of these games on children. Some results prove that are negative effects on young minds and behaviours, still others are inclusive as to the negative effects, while some favoured the games as a positive, especially in the hand-eye co-ordination and educational software. Some, however, lay the responsibility fully on the part of parents and guardians to control the amount of time that children spend on video games to negate whatever ill effects it may have on their behavior, health and academic performance.

The video games industry has grown at a tremendous rate over the past thirty years. Almost every home, especially those with children, has been affected in one way or the other, as computer technology improved by the “leaps and bounds”. According to Tish and Klasen (2006) in Gale Encyclopedia for Children’s Health, “video games are electronic, interactive games known for their vibrant colors, sound effects, and complex graphics” (p.1915). These games can be played via the internet, Nintendo GameCubes, Sony Playstations2, or Microsoft Xboxes to name a few. While there are reported positive effects, namely educational and improved cognitive skills, as the popularity of these games among children has grown, a growing number of parents, myself included, have expressed concerns about the possible negatives effects on the sociological, psychological, health risks and academic performance of children.

In a research update entitled the Joystick Generation, Barenthin and Van Puymbroeck (2006), stated that “video games have measurable social effects on adolescents”. (Spence, 2003) reported that, “social skills are an important part of child development and a deficiency in this area can cause emotional, cognitive and behavioral problems in children with elevated levels of anxiety or anger”. It was further indicated that research has shown that “aggressive and other related behaviors have a negative effect on social skills”. Furthermore, animosity was found to be “detrimental to social skills, which was also a significant outcome of video gaming” (Shao et al., 2004). The playing of video games does not always involve the participation of more than one child according to research done by Messely (2004). Ninety percent of college students surveyed knew of other students including themselves, who had their social life interrupted by video games. They were cooped up in their rooms for long periods, and would not respond to human interaction while playing (as cited in Barenthin and Van Puymbroeck, 2006).

Lucas and Sherry (2004) have shown from their research that...
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