Flourishing In Video Games: The Improvements Of Child Development Through An Examination Of The Effects Of Particular Gaming Aspects

1759 words - 8 pages

This paper defines human flourishing as living a life of optimal functioning based upon positive productivity. What productivity is, in this sense, is undefined; leading myself to gleam from personal experience what society purports it to be. Common answers involve actions, such as working and social interaction. Self-centered hobbies, such as video games, are often left out, viewed as promoting little towards productivity and its assumed benefits. This produces tension through what is commonly considered to be positively productive towards flourishing, and a growing medium, with children especially, which proposes enjoyment through technological solitude. From this, I wonder if optimal functioning is only attainable through traditional methods of productivity as compared to the passivity gaming is perceived to promote. This paper aims to examine these claims closely in adolescents, for if a large majority turns towards video games as an extracurricular, I write it can be concluded that there is an aspect increasing their happiness. The truth of this shall be evaluated in this paper, lending to the larger topic of what promotes psychological happiness and optimal human functioning.
Knowledge around the effects of video games produces agreement that games do not always hinder, providing benefits in developmental child growth at some points. Shelley L. Gable and Jonathan Haidt state a need to focus on psychological aspects providing benefits to mental health rather than what detracts (105-107), which I relate to popular views of most games as an unhealthy medium. Cheryl K. Olson fulfills this need, drawing upon research to examine what influences children to play video games, and its positive effects, such as creating self-development and social relationships (180-184). Similarly, Tom Baranowski, Richard Buday, Debbe I. Thompson, and Janice Baranowski study games in behavioral improvement upon health, claiming more research is needed to capitalize on benefits provided by this “media-based intervention” (81). However, while gaming promotes positive development, it is true for negative development as well. Katherine E. Buckley and Craig A. Anderson study video game behavioral change through established cognitive and learning theories, while also reporting that gaming has a hand in developing aggression (366). Other scholars studying negative gaming development are Dongdong Li, Albert Liau, and Angeline Khoo who study actual ideal self-discrepancy on escapism and pathological gaming (535). Barbara L. Fredrickson and Marcial F. Losada study the dynamics of flourishing, noting that both appropriate positive and negative affect are influences (685), which generates questions of whether any of the negatives associated with gaming can aid flourishing along with the benefits. Until this is answered there may exist a gap to be filled on the knowledge of what benefits gaming provides and how they promote flourishing.
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