Topic: Video games and youths

Topic: Video games and youths

Pages: 2, Double spaced
Sources: 2

Order type: Essay
Subject: English

Style: APA
Language: English (U.S.)

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Topic: Video games and youths video Games and Youths
Television is considered as the most popular form of media among the youth. Whereas the use of interactive media in the classroom has been practiced for decades, scholars believe that they have a greater impact on students as compared to teachers. It is also argued that video games reflect the perfect learning model where there is positive reinforcement based on a schedule. Adachi and Willoughby (2012) assert that video games are the best teachers since they involve active learning with an immediate practice that helps players develop problem-solving skills applicable to different contexts. Like any other communication medium, video games have varied effects on its users depending on the nature of its content. This paper discusses the positive and negative implications of video games citing findings from various studies.
Nature of Video Games
Findings from experimental, longitudinal and meta-analytic studies of video games indicate that violent content in games tends to increase hostility and aggressive behavior among the players (Adachi & Willoughby, 2012). Conversely, games that contain non-violent content have positive effects on the users (Adachi & Willoughby, 2017). For instance, a dancing video game would have a positive impact on the players as they would be required to dance and as a result lose weight. Therefore, the interactive nature of video games makes it a powerful tool for learning and reinforcing habit strength.
Research on the impact of video games on the youth began in the 1980s when there were speculations about the addictive nature of video games. In their study on the association between compulsive behavior and playing video games, Adachi and Willoughby (2017) found that 13 percent of the youthful participants in their study sacrificed all things including their time and money to play video games. Consequently, video games were viewed as part of an inductive process to developing an addiction. In some cases, some of the participants went to the extent of stealing money or using their lunch allowance to play video games. Bluemke, Friedrich, and Zumbach (2010) note that whereas it is acceptable for one to devote their time and resources to their hobbies, it becomes unhealthy when it reaches some level.
Negative Effects of Video Games
Due to the increased concerns of the popularity of video games, and their potential harm to the youth and society in general, much of the research has focused on the violent video games (Adachi & Willoughby, 2017). The extensive literature available on violent video games was modeled in after studies on the effect of violent television content on their audiences. Although the studies on violent video games adopt different methodologies, there is consistency in the findings indicating that there is a link between playing such games and aggressive behavior. For instance, Boxer, Groves, and Docherty (2015) in their study observed that when two players are rewarded for exhibiting aggressive behavior against their opponents in a racing game, they became more inclined to repeat the same unless they are punished. Bluemke et al., (2010) asserts that adolescents who identify with the characters in a game tend to be more aggressive towards their opponents to the extent that they blast them with noise.
Similarly, the stereotypical portrayal of women and minorities in video games has adverse effects on adolescent’s perception of them in real life (Carruthers, 2012). DeLisi, Vaughn, Gentile, Anderson, and Shook (2012) suggest that there is a positive correlation between violent video games and anti-women attitude by the youth that later contributes to violence against women. In addition, he established that young people who are exposed to sexist content in video games are more likely to fall victims to the myth that women enjoy sexual violence, and when they say “no” they mean “yes.” However, those who have been exposed to images of men and women who relate professionally tend to treat women with the respect that they deserve. DeLisi et al., (2012) note that in some video games, women are objectified or underrepresented hence leading to the formation of stereotypes. For instance, Linebarger (2015) found that Middle Easterners were featured as targets in violent video games. In the same fashion, African American males were often depicted as gangsters or athletes in comparison to characters who are of other races. Furthermore, Asian men were shown to be using martial arts in self-defense during their encounters with other violent characters in the video game.
Cognition Impact
The brain releases a hormone known as dopamine which is responsible for causing the feeling of happiness or pleasure among the players during gaming. New studies on the brain reveal a decline in health among players of violent games in terms of their response to real life extreme scenarios such as a gun attack. When the players participate in effects experiments, they tend to be less empathetic and even act aggressively. The exposure to violent content in video games may have a long-term effect on the youth due to the nature of a teenager’s brain. For instance, an adolescent’s brain is usually at a stage where they are actively trying to learn ways to manage their sexual and violent urges. Subsequently, there are more susceptible to acting out of impulse when exposed to sexual imagery and violent content.
Positive Effects
Video games have become ubiquitous in the lives of children as well as adolescents with about 90 percent of them spending at least an hour a day in the U.S (Linebarger, 2015). Although there is limited research on the benefits of video games, studies on psychology note that video games help the youth develop adaptive functional abilities that are important for their development. Contrary to the popular belief that video games make the youth intellectually lazy, it promotes a wide variety of skills especially in shooter games which are commonly violent. Participants in shooter games exhibit a higher level of attention and visual processing capabilities in comparison to those who do not play these games. In addition, gamers show a significant improvement in their spatial skills in comparison to using university courses that seek to enhance the same skills. Furthermore, meta-analytical studies assert that it takes a shorter period to train spatial skills using video games and the benefits last for an extended period.
Bjorklund and Pellegrini (2010) suggest that the make believe play by children helps them to formulate real life scenarios of conflict and explore ways of dealing with them. For instance, the game of Chess not only provides idle amusement among the players, but it also instills certain values in the mind that are useful in their pursuit of life. From the game of Chess, one can learn healthy habits such as being patient and not being easily discouraged by the present circumstances but rather remain hopeful.
Besides social cognition, mentalists note that play comprises of an important context that is key in the development of themes of pain, joy, aggression, and power. The findings from qualitative studies by Carruthers, (2012) on children indicated that play is important in helping them master their emotions in real life. Whereas adolescents usually rely on self-disclosure and direct engagement with their friends to resolve their emotional issues, children choose to play where they develop narratives which they use to act alone or with others.
While research on violent video games has focused on their negative effects on the youth, there is emerging consensus among scholars on its benefits especially in terms of cognitive development. The youth have been able to improve their cognitive abilities and develop problem-solving skills that are applicable in real life scenarios. Contrary to popular belief, the youth have been able to improve on their attention and approach to social problems. However, there is the threat of addiction that hangs around the neck of those who enjoy playing video games. There are those who find themselves spending their last cent to play cyber games which at that level translates to addiction. Therefore, the youth ought to exercise caution while playing video games to avert its adverse effects that include increased aggressiveness and violent behavior. To prevent increased negative implication on the lives and practices of the youth, it is essential that both parents and teachers work in collaboration and ensure that children spend limited amounts of time on video games. They should also control the various types of games they are exposed to. Lastly, video game developers need to avoid perpetuating stereotypes by having an inappropriate characterization of women and minority groups in the games.

Adachi, P., & Willoughby, T. (2012). Do video games promote positive youth development?. Journal of Adolescent Research, 28(2), 155-165.
Adachi, P., & Willoughby, T. (2017). The link between playing video games and positive youth outcomes. Child Development Perspectives, 11(3), 202-206.
Bluemke, M., Friedrich, M., & Zumbach, J. (2010). The influence of violent and nonviolent computer games on implicit measures of aggressiveness. Aggressive Behavior, 36(1), 1-13.
Bjorklund, D. F., & Pellegrini, A. D. (2010). Evolutionary perspectives on social development. The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of childhood social development, 64-81.
Boxer, P., Groves, C., & Docherty, M. (2015). Video games do indeed influence children and adolescents’ aggression, prosocial behavior, and academic performance. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(5), 671-673.
Carruthers, J. (2012). A balanced analysis of the evidence for the effects of violent video games on social behaviour. The Computer Games Journal, 1(2), 5-15.
DeLisi, M., Vaughn, M., Gentile, D., Anderson, C., & Shook, J. (2012). Violent Video Games, Delinquency, and Youth Violence. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 11(2), 132-142.
Linebarger, D. (2015). Contextualizing video game play: The moderating effects of cumulative risk and parenting styles on the relations among video game exposure and problem behaviors. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 4(4), 375-396.