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Impact of Video Games on Children
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Impact of Video Games on Children

Video games foster the mindset that allows creativity to grow.

-Nolan Bushnell

There are plenty of skills, I learned from playing video games. It’s more interactive than watching TV because there are problems to solve as you are using your brain. 

-Shaun White

But then there are the reports of the World Health Organization (WHO), which officially included gaming disorder as a disease in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD 11), placing next to gambling disorder. 

Further many terrifying incidents involving video gamers have left us in speculation as to what extent these video games have influenced our lifestyle. Recent news such as people killing themselves after playing the Blue Whale Game or a Groom’s playing PUBG at his own wedding, undistracted by the bride sitting by his side or gift-bearing guests. These incidents are enough to send shivers down one’s spine. 

With online gaming in India is expected to cross $1 billion by 2021, as per a KPMG and Google report. It is very essential that one knows the impact; video games have in a child’s life.  According to a March report by KPMG, the number of Indian gamers has grown to 250 million in 2018, from 20 million in 2010.

What is a video game?

Technology has its influence in almost every sphere of our life, whether it is entertainment, work or leisure. A video game is an example of such technological advancement in the field of entertainment. A video game is a game played by electronically manipulating images produced by a computer program on a monitor or other display. Video games have erupted as a major entertainer in today’s world. From the Mario the world has moved to PUBG and other hi-fi games in no time. From the large screen games, the universe has shifted to high definition mobile games and then to the virtual reality games. It is not wrong to say that you are no more controlling the game; instead the game is now controlling you. 

Video games are a unique form of entertainment as these provide encouragement to become a part of the game’s script and effective as well as the interactive interface. Video games are much more demanding than other sources of entertainment. It requires constant attention from the player towards the game, rather than just sitting and watching a movie or just relaxing in bed with music systems on. Extreme devotion to video games may lead to Gaming disorders. Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent and recurring gaming behaviour, where a player begins to give priority to gaming over his daily activities and interest to a point where it begins to affect their relationships, work and education. But then video games have helped children enlighten them emotionally, improving their quality of life and gave them a ‘fighting spirit’. 

Video games are given the tags of “time-wasters” by the parents, and some education experts think that these corrupt the brain too. Particularly violent games are easily blamed, as they think that these games encourage people to commit extremes and promote anti-social behaviour. However, scientists and psychologists found multiple benefits associated with the games- main one being is making the kids smarter. According to them, Video games teach kids high-level thinking skills which they need in their future endeavours.

Without wasting your time, let’s dive into the merits and demerits of the video game to have a clear picture of the situation.

Merits of video games:

  • Enhanced problem-solving skills- Playing video games gives the brain a real workout. Many games such as-Angry Birds, Cut the Rope etc., require high-level thinking. Creative approach to mastering such games enhances the capacity of the brain.

  • Planning and resource management- Players learn to manage resources efficiently, and decide the best way they can use the limited resources available to them. Which if applied in real, will only fetch good results for them.

  • Thinking, analyzing and further implementing decisions in no time- Action games can be a real training tool for real-world situations. They enhance the player’s capacity to make quick and correct decisions. In such games, almost every second, the brain is engaged in doing something or the other; players need to carefully think of ways in which they can win the game and then implement those ideas successfully in order to come victorious.

  • Improved accuracy- Video games train the player to make faster decision making without compromising on accuracy. Today’s world recons those who have pace with accuracy.

  • Develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills- Shooting games involve players to run and shoot at the same time. This in real-world, is highly beneficial as the player learn to coordinate the brain’s interpretation and the reaction with the movement in his hands and fingertips. Even researchers have suggested the people can learn fine motor skills and enhance their visual-spatial ability from video games.

  • Learns perseverance- Higher levels of any game are generally tough, and players fail to clear them very often, but they keep on trying until they succeed. Thus help develop perseverance in the player and enhance their endurance. 

  • Sharpens the memory- Playing video games teaches the key skill as to what information one needs to store in his brain. Different type of controls and which control is to be used at which situation demands lot of work from the brain. Players learn different ways to come victorious in the game, which ultimately sharpens one's intellect.     

  • Greater concentration- In many video games, things happen within a count of seconds, and one needs to be alert all the time. Lack of concentration would result in failing, thus players try to give full attention to the video game. This in real life, is highly beneficial, if students can give such concentration to their studies or adults to their work.

  • Real-life skills- Playing video games teaches one how to respond to challenges or how to respond to frustrations or how to explore and rethink goals. Players learn key skills to deal their life situations more efficiently.

  • Inculcates team-work and cooperation- Many multiplayer games such as PUBG involve cooperation with other online players in order to win. These games teach that you are not above your team, you have to work in cohesion, listen to other players ideas and sometimes even lead your team to victory on your own.     

Demerits of Video Games-     

  • Violent Behaviors of the video game players- Most of the bad effects of video games are blamed on the violence they contain. Kids who play these games are more likely to have aggressive thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Many say that these violent video games are the reason for the increasing criminal activities among teenagers. Many video games develop such psychosis in individuals that they think that replicating the gameplay in real life would fetch no trouble for them. They think that shooting, stabbing, killing, breaking traffic rules or tormenting property is fun, which of course is a misconception and needs to be dealt with high hands.

  • Degrade social life of children- Social life of kids can be imbalanced if the video games take over one’s life. Children tend to isolate themselves from their family and friends. Such people fail to engage themselves in real-life conversations and the failure to develop healthy relationships result in social awkwardness which enfeebles their chance to make friends, enjoy other’s company and even having a conversation with others. This further breeds anxiety, stress and leads to depression.

  • Physical impact of video games- Video game addiction has some great health concerns on children’s life. Various health issues such as obesity, migraines, sleep disturbances, backaches, weakening of eyesight, poor personal hygiene are byproducts of video games; if their use is kept unchecked. 

The conclusion from the accumulated research is that Video games are not bad if they are played in limits. Everything comes with their merits and demerits, but using them judiciously remains in our hands. Playing video games for hours every day could decrease school performance, increase aggressive behaviour but on the other hand it improves other skills also. So, it is up to Parents and Children themselves, that they recognize the powerful effect of video games have and set limit on the amount and content they want to engage with. In this way only, one can realize the potential benefits while minimizing potential harms.

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