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Video Games Are Bad… Whatever…

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Another study touting the negative effects of video games. I really didn’t want to post this up since my girlfriend has almost a psychological aversion towards video games. She doesn’t understand why someone like me plays video games. She believes it’s a waste of time. I responded as a typical guy from the video game generation, “What’s the difference between video games and watching TV or a DVD? It’s just another form of entertainment that people ‘waste’ their time on… I grew up in the video game generation as a grade schooler I had the first Atari 2600 and continued on from there ’til college with the first Sega Genesis… And did you know the the video game industry passed the movie industry in terms of revenues last year? So many well-rounded, young professionals that are my friends and in their late twenties and mid-thirties play… I’m not some guy that stays in all day and plays…”

Of course, most of this falls on deaf ears. My video game playing goes in spurts. I played a lot with my college friends about half my time during college. Meaning Tecmo Bowl tournaments each year that lasted a month, or John Madden Football during my latter years. I also was Mortal Kombat champ on my campus… something to brag about, huh (crap, i’m such a geek)? I stopped playing video games after college and played once every few months during graduate school. I started up again while trying to connect with our engineers during my time at HeyAnita, so I would occasionally play Starcraft (amazing how Blizzard games dominate in Korea).

Anyway, regardless of what this study says, I do believe excessive violence in video games for children that play very frequently can cause more aggressive behavior. But the question is to what degree? To the point that he will go around shooting other kids at school? I do tend to agree with young Gustav Niel-Berggren below that majority of youth can distinguish between the video game world and reality. It’s more of the outliers that are effected, but the difficulty is identifying if your child is an outlier. How do you know, especially since most parents would never identify their child as potentially unstable and ready to snap while playing a violent video game? As a future parent, I wouldn’t ban all video games, but screen graphic and violent games during the early stages of child development… maybe because I just played Pong, Pitfall, Missle Command, and other light games as a child that I turned out to be a calm, stable person?

The study below is similar to the studies publicized when I was in grade school and junior high about the negative effects of Dungeons & Dragons. In the end, only those with already unstable histories got sucked in and couldn’t distinguish between reality and the game… a rare few.

As for the weight issue, I bet the cold weather and diet in Sweden are stronger factors for making kids fat. I question the statistical significance of video game playing related to making kids fat. I’m fat now compared to my college days and I stopped playing video games after college. My weight gain is primarily due to a slower metabolism and sitting in front of a computer all day… aging not video games made me fat.

Video Games Make Kids Fat, Violent, Swedish Experts Say

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Video games can make children fat and, in the case of violent games popular among teenage and younger boys, aggressive and even criminal, Swedish experts said on Monday…..

“It’s concerning because they (video game players) are rehearsing scripts of behavior that will possibly play themselves out in real life,” Michael Rich, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics who has studied the effects of entertainment media on the physical and mental health of children, was quoted as saying in the 45-minute “Deadly Game” documentary…..

Gustav Niel-Berggren, a 16-year-old student who said he tended to spend many hours a day several days a week playing an interactive online action game called Counter-Strike, which focuses on killing opponent soldiers, disagreed.

“Shooting somebody in a game is just like scoring a goal in a football match,” he said, dismissing the documentary’s suggestion and Lindblad’s fear that youths could not distinguish between the game world and real life… (full article)

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About Bernard Moon

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    “What’s the difference between video games and watching TV or a DVD? It’s just another form of entertainment that people ‘waste’ their time on

    the answer to your question is probably: there isn’t one. in fact, video games lack the passivity problem that tv has.

    i think the larger issue is one of attention span. like tv/movies, most action-based games have that constantly flickering set of images just like ‘modern’ tv…and it has a negative effect on the attention span.

  • duane

    On the other hand, speaking with reference to my 9-year-old son, some computer games actually require an intact attention span. As opposed to “shooters,” there are real-time strategy games, such as Starcraft, that reward relatively long-range planning, and a coordinated “campaign” involving exploration, resource management, tech advancement, defense, and offense, including an appreciation of trade-offs. Turn-based strategy games are even better in this respect. Games like the Civilization series, or builder games actually instruct while they entertain. They are fantasy worlds, sure. But so are the cartoon worlds of Samurai Jack, Dexter, Powerpuff Girls, etc. Should my son be out playing baseball instead of conquering aliens? Well, the issue comes down to whether he should he be watching TV, reading, doing a puzzle, or playing a computer game. Reading is the best, but an hour of Starcraft ain’t bad, either. Outdoor time stops at sundown. He’s not playing during daylight hours.

  • L Cubed

    video games aren’t bad! the people who say they are are bad! dumbasses. video games are teh best thing to happen since Jesus!

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    I’m familiar with most of the arguments against the “passive entertainment” provided by TV, video games and the like. This passivity involves more than physical inactivity — it has more to do with short-circuiting the developing brain’s ability to visualize by supplying a constant flow of “spoon-fed” images and (especially with video games), limiting mental and physical reactions to the few that lead to success.

    There is also the illusion of improvement that substitutes scores in the game for actual growth in the ability to reason and react.

    Both of these restrictive developmental factors argue against providing an unlimited diet of passive entertainment to children.

    I can also cite my own anecdotal evidence: my daughters were struggling in 5th and 3rd grade when we made the decision to cut off the TV and bar video games. Within a year, both had improved immensely. Today, they are adult readers, who consider TV a secondary source of entertainment – it’s something to watch when you have no good books to read.

  • Professor Luticor

    Video games can be very time consuming and playing time definitely needs to be kept low, but as far as actual learning goes there is a lot that takes place . You learn to play by a set of rules…then learn to get maximum results given your situation.

    The only negative effect I’ve found is that video games become the “real world” if too much time is spent…eat, sleep, and breathe Warcraft, Age of Empires, or Runescape. With limited gameplay video games can be a relaxing, thought-intensive, discovery-based, learning experience.

  • DRAZER

    MAN DIS IS BULLSHIT!!
    IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE PLAYER..
    IDIOTZ..I BET WHITE GUYS MADE DIS SHIT..

  • http://Oieid MIkeeee

    Video Games are awsome people who usually go on a violent rampage after playing video games are unstable to play video games in the first place so it is mostly the parents fault for not keeping a close eye on their childern, So lick my butt and suck on my balls.

  • Gamer whether you like it or not

    I would just like to comment that some video games are fun but do not make kids fat. Not ten minutes ago nintendo speaking at E3 just announced the release of their new game WiiFit which involves the movement of the entire body on a balance board that looks much like a small bathroom scale. this new game promotes movement along with most of the Wii console’s games.
    second topic i would like to touh on is that they say video games are violent yet people can go watch tv and see just as horrible violence and on most occasions more violence than you would want to see. Look at the recent horror series’ Hostel and the Saw movies. If people are going to complain about games than its only fair everybody gets the same treatment in tv and movies as well

  • bryan j

    hi im coo

  • gamer

    facts if video games/real life simulators are so usless why does the military,aviation industry, and general schools use them. Every one is saying they have never meet anyone obsessed with games not video games just games Poker, baseball, football so on so on. Well aren’t those a waste of time when you break it down. People say read well what do you read. i’m a gamer when i don’t game i study physics, math, and 2nd languages. Just cause someone pics up a book doesn’t mean it will help them it could be a story that they are reading how does that help you in real world experiance or on furthering the mind’s education. Kids shooting other peopl hmmm well lets see blame it on the games easy blame. Instead of taking responsibility for are actions we like to pass the blame. If parents and every one likes reading maybe you should read the game when it says 18+ on the package as you hand it to your 12 yr old kid.

  • StarCraft

    Video games such as StarCraft are very good for brain development. I am sometimes surprised how “brain trainer” type software is often just stupid, less fun games.

  • Space Gorilla

    Well considering all the fair comments on either side of the scale. I understand that sitting on a pc for 8 hrs plus can be detrimental. However I would like to state that I too am an intese Gamer! I play mainly Stratagy games, such as Starcraft 1 and 2, Warcraft, Warhammer 40k and Aion online.

    My arguement is with the good use of computer gaming, the games that have very little to offer are those dumb console games such Tekken, you just press buttons that hit the other oppenent. That gaming is limited, and hence the brain development is limited.
    Not to mention TV screens run on 60hertz(bad) while pc can optimise to 72-75(better) for your eyes.

    I play extensive hrs of Starcraft, the game is actually very similar to the principles of chess, if not even more thought intensive. hence the use of RTS(real time strategy) I have played thousands of starcraft games, and probably 700hrs+ total of the game and im never bored, beacuse every game is different, unique, complex and beautiful. This game has tought me how to think quickly and effectively.

    I also enjoy Aion online, safe to say World of Warcraft just with incredible graphics, ths game is RPG(Role playing game) its epic and stress relieving.

    I’m a gamer at heart and I’m unashamed of my intense involvement to gaming for increasing my thought processes, while at the same time being wonderfully time consuming and fun.

    Just to add as a side note without egotistical baosting, I’m a body Builder(active), I’m a qualified Pilot (PPL) 6:3 vision, and I read extensively (Reading speed with full comprehension at 2000+- WPM (words per minute)

    I base my arguement for the constructive use of games to further one’s potential.

    Never game mindlessly