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The Negative Effects of Video Games on Young Children

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The Negative Effects of Video Games on Young Children

The adoption of video games into modern culture has increased dramatically as technology has advanced over time. Early video games began as text based adventures often with few crude graphics but still had a cult like following of the few who had access to them. As technology improved video games began to be mass marketed to users of new video game console and personal computer systems. Thus began the integration of gaming into the everyday lives of people around the globe in what would become a multibillion dollar industry. Numerous companies, such as Nintendo and Sony, began creating video games that would capture the minds and imagination of millions with the hopes of becoming a major part in the everyday lives of their customers. Unfortunately for the end consumer the costs have not always outweighed the benefits. As industry titans compete for consumer attention the science of improving gaming and technology to support it has become so skilled that the end users can become victims of their own fixations of alternate realities and antisocial social gaming. This essay seeks to identify the problems associated with video game use and its impact on consumers - particularly children. The affects of video games on consumers has been studied from many different perspectives over the years as the industry has grown. Most have leaned towards the psychological impact of more violent games or the impact of video games on social and health concerns but few have tackled the issues with pure scientific methodology (Bavelier, Green, Han, Renshaw, Merzenich & Gentile, 2011). Popular media and politicians have tried to tie these studies to negative events and social problems but have not been able to exclusively link video games to them. This does not mean the use of video games has no negative repercussions but rather that the proper identification and association of problems is not utilized. Most problems related to video game use are associated with changes in behavior and increased antisocial and unhealthy tendencies by certain types of users (Bavelier, Green, Han, Renshaw, Merzenich & Gentile, 2011). Negative side effects of video game use have been documented to include increased aggression, lack of social interaction, poor diet and exercise, and psychological disorders ranging from depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among others (Bavelier, Green, Han, Renshaw, Merzenich & Gentile, 2011). The average adult may succumb to any one of these negative side effects of video game use given enough time and lack of structure to prevent them. In older generations video games are popular but do not have the same social implications simply because much of their life was spent with minimal interactions with video games during formative years and what little role they did play were overridden by the necessity of survival, family, and career demands. Younger generations have been the conduit through which video games have thrived because they were immersed with them at a young age when responsibilities were limited. Such overwhelming exposure left unchecked has lead to the newer generations becoming almost dependant on video games to pass time and fulfill unmet needs caused by limited social interactions (Bavelier, Green, Han, Renshaw, Merzenich & Gentile, 2011). At the heart of the matter of problems associated with video game usage among children is the proportion of time spent on an electronic device as opposed to more interactive social settings with family and peers. Children whom are not given restrictions on their video game use are more prone to problems than those who given limitations (Bavelier, Green, Han, Renshaw, Merzenich & Gentile, 2011). Even giving no consideration to video game content - the negative implications of unchecked video game use have drastic consequences over time. Children form habits based on lack of social interactions and later base their lifestyles on those habits. Broken relationships, poor social skills, and psychological problems top the list of many problems documented in studies based on video game usage (Bavelier, Green, Han, Renshaw, Merzenich & Gentile, 2011). Although studies of the affects of video game usage also offer some positive affects they most certainly also draw some concern about their affect on society as to their effects on various aspects of personal development (Bavelier, Green, Han, Renshaw, Merzenich & Gentile, 2011). Drawing conclusions prematurely has given video games a negative stigma that has some merit but offers no real insight into how or why problems occur and what can be done to fix them. By continuing to scientifically assess how video games affect children hopefully better techniques will be developed to identify potential problems before they arise and support is given by the video game industry to help implement changes in the way games are presented to younger consumers.

Reference Listing:

Bavelier, D., Green, C. S., Han, D. H., Renshaw, P. F., Merzenich, M. M., & Gentile, D. A. (2011). Brains on video games. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 12(12), 763-768.…...

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