Postive Impact Of Playing Video Games

1492 words - 6 pages

In the past few decades there has been debate over the positive and negative affects of video games with a good deal of focus on more violent games. Prior to and concurrently with this debate, there have also been similar debates over radio, television, and movies but, as should be obvious from the current breadth of media, no studies have definitively proven any negative affects. The detractors of video games claim, based on media effects research, that people who play video games with any sort of violence in them have heightened antisocial and decreased prosocial tendencies afterwards; this is the assumed cause of certain acts of violence including the majority of school shootings. The supporters of video games claim that there is an increase in hand-eye coordination and spatial reasoning, a decrease in aggression, and far more they also state that the media effect studies often had numerous issues. It’s my goal to try to set the record straight and do my part to end the debate once and for all.
The media brought this debate to public attention after the Columbine school shooting ;when people were searching for some sort of reason behind the event they never latched onto the mistreatment of the two boys by their fellow students, but instead on the boys’ habits of playing games like Doom. This focus led to studies which were intended to discover how video games affected aggression; the problem was that the studies consistently had flaws. In 2000 Bartholow and Anderson did a study to test how violent games affect people and possible gender differences. In the study, subjects (22 men and 21 women) would play a video game (PGA Tournament Golf or Mortal Kombat) for ten minutes, then they would be given a test in which the subject would be exposed to loud noises of varying intensity from 60 decibels to 105 decibels. One group of subjects received higher intensity than the others, by the tester at certain points (under the belief that it was due to an incorrect answer), and afterwards they would switch with the tester and be in full control of the volume. The study found a mean difference between those who played the violent game and those who did not of 6.85 decibels and a mean gender difference of 4.05 decibels with the men giving more (adjusted from the test scale), the high-intensity group had respective mean differences of 26.5 and 16.5 decibels. In the analysis it is mentioned that, in complete opposition of all previous tests that had gender as a variable, men seemed to be more affected by the violent game than women (Anderson, Bartholow). The study had a rather blatant confounding variable of the punishments, removed the games from any sort context, and more importantly the difference was negligible; despite all this the study still claimed that violent games definitively made those who played them more violent. What is even more disconcerting is that the majority of the work that has connected video games with violence has been...

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