Many believe that too much time spent watching television or playing computer or video games can be detrimental to children. However, video games may also be beneficial. Gaming, in moderation, helps improve cognitive skills, such as attention, vision, and multitasking.
When playing video games, the player is virtually embodied in the game world. The experience of gaming can manifest itself with many physical attributes, such as sweaty palms, chills that run up and down the spine, or an adrenaline rush of excitement. Besides being an excellent source of entertainment, gaming provides an environment for social growth and allows exploration of expression and heightens sensitivity.
Rather than creating social isolation, as some would argue, I believe gaming provides an environment in which friendships develop. As players interact, discussing game strategies and considering rules and rule breaking, two separate scenarios are occurring at the same time. Although the players are fighting on screen, a friendship may be forming off screen.
The video game market includes has shifted from being a predominantly male market to include the female population with games, such as The Sims, in which players build virtual worlds, often resulting in online communities where players build avatars and interact with others across the globe.
While providing hour upon hour of entertainment, many games also provide ample social interaction. In RPG’s, or role playing games, teams of two to forty gaming characters, must work together to complete a quest. Players must balance their teams so as to use all their skills effectively. In MMORPG’s (massively-multiplayer online RPG’s), teams consist of people worldwide. Racing games involve up to four people who race one another on different tracks. In fighting games, multiple players can combat one another. Strategy games, in which we navigate characters around a map to defeat an enemy or accomplish a mission, are another favorite of mine. Finally, in sports games we control a favorite team or a single character, as with golf or skiing. As motion-sensing games, such as the Wii, have come on the market, family and friends often get together for a night of fun and games.
In the world of gaming, we can often express ourselves in ways we otherwise could not. While exploring an open-ended world, we choose our plan of action, and then witness the consequences of our action. I feel that our personal values can often be examined by the way we behave in virtual space.
It appears that, due to the liberties often given and taken within the free realm, video games have acquired a bad reputation as the cause of violent, aggressive behavior. However, juvenile crimes are at a 30-year low, and although it’s true that young offenders of school shootings have also been game players, young people, in general are more likely to be gamers, the majority of which do NOT commit antisocial acts.
I believe that a child...