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Harmful effects of video games on students

We’ll dive into the heated discussion in where we outline some of the harmful effects of video games on students.

Kids Playing Video Games

Since the days of Pong and Super Mario Bros the world of videogames has been improving at an exponential rate. But, so too has its reach and prevalence. The effects that video games have had on our society are not confined to its technological advances. Its arrival in the world has had a rippling effect that has touched the social, physical and psychological parts of our culture. Of particular interest is its effects on today’s students who not only has to cope with the pressures of school and their own development, but must now face a slew of forces brought upon by their exposure to video games.

Before the backlash begins, it is worth mentioning that video game does have some positive effects. Studies have shown that hand-eye coordination improves over successive hours of game play. Today’s videogames are no longer linear and require the gamer to use creativity and problem solving. The worlds created by video game developers are massive and immersive and practically forces users to use their imagination to deal and interact with the environment. But, one does have to take these positives with a grain of salt, especially when held up against the negative effects of video games.

The dark side of video games can be split into two categories; psychological effects and physical effects. While some games focus on exploration, cooperation and puzzle solving, others focus on violence. Shooting, killing, harming, stealing and committing other criminal acts is a rare occasion in normal society, but can quickly become the norm in some video games. A category exists called first-person shooters, in which the player becomes (as the title suggests) a character that shoots other people. While some acts of shooting are in self defense, most are aggressive and offensive shots. These types of games turn the player into a killer within a confined world. Unsurprisingly, this idea tends to persist in the minds of the player. It lingers well beyond the point where the game is turned off.

Shooting and committing other violent acts in video games also tends to desensitize students to the acts. After a while, it becomes okay to commit this act, and in some instances they may even look to be rewarded for doing it. Now while this desensitization to trauma and violence may not necessarily mean that they will commit crimes in real life, it does blur the line somewhat in the minds of students. The malleability that allows them to take in knowledge and internalize lessons also allows them to absorb the heinous acts that they are forced to commit or are exposed to within some video games.

While video games that forces the user to get up and move (Nintendo WII, some dancing and sports games), the majority of gamers spend their time rooted to their couch, floor or bed. Besides their fingertips and eyes, there is very little movement. Little action means that they are lacking daily physical exercise. If made into a habit and routine, health-related problems are sure to crop up. The image of a fat teen, their fingers-covered in Cheetoh’s crumbs is often circulated within the gaming community to mock gamers that clearly spend too much time playing video games. The scary thing is that it is not just a photo shopped image, but is a reality for many gamers out there. Obesity is an issue in the gaming community and it is easy to why.

On top of this, playing video games releases the same kind of pleasure chemicals in the brain as sex, eating certain kinds of food and participating in extreme sports. As dopamine and adrenaline flood their minds and bodies students are being stimulated, engaged and rewarded. Students may start craving and can become addicted to this specific cocktail of chemicals. This means that they will be playing more and more video games, spending less and less time moving and exercising, getting unhealthier by the minute, letting more violence seep into their system, and of course decreasing the amount of time dedicated to their studies. The addictive properties of video games almost make it an illness, disease or disorder, since the gamer must (by this point) fight off the urge to play video games to save their health.

Video games were made to be entertainment and they should be treated as such. Nothing exists to entertain you for endless hours and so video games should not be played for endless hours. Like everything in life, it should be done in moderation. Students, in particular, should place it further down the list of their priorities. Schooling, development, health, socializing, these items should be at the top. Finally, it is best to employ some sort of filter so that the video game content one is exposed to is tempered. Is violence in videogames acceptable? Yes, but in small doses.

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