Could Video Games Actually Benefit People?

1738 words - 7 pages

Forty-eight million men women and children play games on their smart phones and tablets (Galarneau). Technology has become so advanced that people can carry their favorite games along with them. A current debate about whether or not video games are harmful or helpful, especially to children and older people, is a heated one. Some say that video games could spike aggressive feelings in children. Others say video games could be a new educational tool. Knowing the research behind some of these areas will be helpful to current and future parents and mentors. This paper will show that as a result of playing video games, gamers may experience behavior changes, elderly may experience brain stimulation, and students may experience learning benefits.
Initially, lots of research has been done involving violent video games, and the thought that they may cause people, especially children and young adults, to have aggressive feelings. There are all types of video games, but the violent ones seem to make some parents worry. For example a study was led at Iowa State University, with forty-seven students who were asked to play violent video games for fifteen minutes. Afterwards, the students were asked to serve out hot sauce to other students. “Compared with a group who had played a nonviolent video game, those who had been engaged in “Mortal Kombat” were more aggressive across the board. They gave their fellow students significantly bigger portions of the hot sauce” (Carey 1). The results of this study make clear there was something about the games that made the students dish out more hot sauce. If fifteen minutes caused some sort of arousal, then what would a longer amount of time do? According to Carey, psychologists at Brock University in Ontario found that, “ longer periods of violent video game playing among high school students predicted a slightly higher number of such incidents over time.” Those incidents are things like fighting with peers. Some psychologists say that real life violence does not occur because of this one factor, Craig A. Anderson notes, “there are many factors” (qtd. in Carey 1). He goes on to say that violent media is also a relevant factor. So there seems to be a correlation between aggressive behavior and increasingly violent video games.
Not only do video games have negative effects on behavior, there are upsides as well. Psychologist Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University studied 161 American college students, who played one game: either a violent, neutral, or prosocial ( helpful and positive) game. For twenty minutes the students played their assigned game. Afterwards, the students were assigned a partner and given the task of assigning their partner eleven puzzles of ranging difficulty. They were told if their partners completed 10 puzzles within 10 minutes, the partner would win a $10 gift certificate (Jacobs). If in fact the students helped or did not help their partner, it could be concluded that the...

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