Video games are games in which people interact with electronic devices like computers and small handheld devices like mobile phones to create tactile and visual display. Tactile displays are important for blind people whereas visual display is understood by those who can see.
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With improvement in technology, video games are played in many countries over the world. The number of children playing video games increases from time to time. This is because the cost of electronic devices has been lowered making them affordable to many families. Many parents are also willing to buy these devices for their children (Rideout, Vandewater & Wartella, 2003).
Recent studies have concentrated on the effects that video games have on children. Video games have positive and negative impacts on individual children playing them and the society at large. The paper will discuss the negative impacts of playing video games on children and the society like poor performance in schools and diseases.
Performance in schools
Playing video games has negative impacts on a child’s education. Studies have shown that out of four children, playing video games interferes with academic performance of one child. Some children spend most of their time playing games to the extent of not sparing some time to do their homework. Others dedicate all their time to playing games so that they do not study.
Because of failure to take their studies seriously, most of them perform poorly in their academic work. This affects their lives because without education, there are no good jobs for them. Studies have shown that poor performance in school is directly proportional to time spend in playing games. The more the time, the poorer the child’s performance in school will be (Block, 2008).
Playing video games has negative effects on the health of young people. Some youths tend to spend most of their time sitting and playing games without engaging in physical activities like sports. In addition, youths tend to feed on junk foods like cakes that supply the body with much energy.
Consumption of excess energy-giving foods and lack of exercises results to overweight. Obesity is a common disease among youths who spend most of their time playing games.
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Other healthy related problems include knuckle pads, seizures, muscle, postural, and skeletal disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve compression, and tendonitis (UK, House of Commons, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, 2008).
According to Rushing, Sheehan and Davis (2006), knuckle pads are painful keratotic, circumscribed, and fibrous growths that develop on the joints of figures. Knuckle pads continue growing, become permanent, and they have no cure. Development of knuckle pads in children is associated with addiction to playing video games.
An input device called game controller, which varies from one platform to another, manipulates video games. Some controllers may contain one or more joysticks and many buttons whereas others may have a joystick and a button. Chronic use of joystick may lead to development of knuckle pads and other figure-related diseases.
Violent/ aggressive Behavior
Recent studies have concentrated on the effects that video games have on children. Studies have shown that the likelihood of children who play violent video games to be violent is high.
Most of the children cannot differentiate between the right and wrong, and they tend to copy what they see and put it into practice. With continued exposure to violent video games, many children become more aggressive (Rideout, Vandewater & Wartella, 2003).
In most of the games that children watch, violence is used as a method of solving problems. The result of this is many children accepting violence as an appropriate way of solving conflicts. For instance, some will be found to engage in fights when trying to solve minor differences with their friends instead of using a better conflict resolution approach.
In some games where people winning in conflicts are recognized as heroes, children tend to see this as an achievement such that whenever in conflict with other children, they will use all means however exploitive and dangerous they are to win. There are incidents in which characters are rewarded for violence (Block, 2008).
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Playing video games is confusing to young children since they cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality. Most of the young children tend to think that what they see in video games is a reality.
Some videos like adult videos are not good for youths because the content is not fit for them. Children learn vices from videos in which women are sexually abused and displayed as helpless and weaker characters (Bryant, 2006).
Bryant (2006) argues that playing video games affects children socialization. Children spend much of their time playing games such that they lack time to socialize with their peers and parents. The activity contributes to antisocial behaviors among the youths.
For instance, children borrow behavior, and abusive languages from characters. Abusive words are common among children who play video games compared to those who do not.
A study conducted by National Institute for Media and the Family based on Minneapolis showed that children become addicted with watching video such that they cannot do without them. Addiction to video games increases anxiety and depression in children. Moreover, social phobia characterizes addicted children.
Children should be discouraged from playing video games because of the negative effects they have been found to have on children. Instead, out-door games should be preferred because engagement in physical activities helps in proper physical development of children.
Block, J. (2008). Issues for DSM – V: Internet addiction. Journal of clinical psychiatry, 67(5), 821-826.
Bryant, J. (2006). Playing video games: motives, responses, and consequences. London: Routledge.
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Rideout, V., Vandewater, E. & Wartella, E. (2003). Zero to six: Electronic media in the lives of infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Menlo Park (CA): Kaiser Family Foundation.
Rushing, M., Sheehan, M. & Davis, L. (2006). Video Game induced knuckle pad. Pediatric Dermatology, 23(5), 455-457.
UK, House of Commons, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. (2008). HC paper 353-ii House of Commons culture, media and sport committee: harmful content on the internet and in video games, volume ii. London: The Stationery Office.
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