Our life is multifaceted and rich, and a certain cell in it deals with computer games. They became more than a fad for our generation; they became part of our lives. “Video games first emerged in the 1970s, but it was during the 1990s that violent games truly came of age” (Anderson, Gentile & Buckley 5). The first generation of players is now adults and independent people. However, their passion for computer games is still with them, and sometimes, a painful sense of longing forces them to sit at the computer for hours and play their favorite games. Parents and teachers worry that games have a negative effect on children, and lead to no exponential behavior and propensity for aggression.
“Even the youngest children have experience with video games and nearly 49% of children of ages 0-6 have a video game player in their home” (Vorderer & Bryant 1). In the era of rapid development of information technology, computer is perceived as an integral part of our lives. Nowadays, most children do not realize any study or leisure without it, and spend hours alone with the glowing screen. Some parents teach children to a computer from an early age. Children are at home, they are not missing on streets, so parents do not have to worry about them. Parents usually do not pay much attention on overreliance on computer as long as pronounced deviations do not appear in child's behavior, such as pilfering of money, and skipping school classes. However, even these symptoms are not always perceived as a serious violation of the child's development. In fact, gaming or computer addiction is considered by psychologists and psychiatrists as a form of addictive behavior. It was found that gambling can be addictive, somewhat reminiscent of alcohol or drug addiction. In childhood, game dependence usually develops in case of computer games.
Computer games are a great example that everything should be within reasonable limits. If a child gets carried away by them intelligently, computer games bring many benefits. They help to relax. They help to exert brains to solve a puzzle or prick attention. However, when passion for video games crosses a limit, damage of this passion is undeniable. This is a reason, why some people have diametrically opposed view on computer games. Someone blames this amusement, and some, on the contrary, considers it to be a good thing.
There is a wide range of negative effects of video games on health of a child. Adverse effects usually occur because of overuse with video games. Computer games can cause psychological dependence. They are particularly dangerous for school children and young people with more fragile psyche. It is believed that some games can provoke manifestation of aggression in reality, when a line between a game and a real life is cleared somehow and a child ceases to understand what can be done only in a game and what in reality (Gunter 50). Some games were banned in some countries because they were considered potentially harmful to psyche. Parents worried that their children spent a lot of time on video games should encourage them to balance their time for other things. If a child lost himself in a video game, it means that it is a high time for parents to step in and help a child change his/her habits. Children playing games with violent content for many hours during a day, often become nervous and violent. Parents should help their children understand real consequences of violence. Children need to understand a difference between a virtual world and a real one. However, sometimes, it becomes difficult as video games are getting more and more realistic. Before parents buy a video game for a child, they should try it out and then decide whether it is appropriate for a child or not. Parents can play with their children. It is another way to spend time with them and it helps to learn more about a child’s world. Children do not have to spend a lot of time playing. Parents should make a schedule and make sure that a child follows it.
Video games have always been known for their anti-social aspect and violence that is shown in them. They were noted to have a negative impact on players in the absence of social skills. They increase disability, lead to obesity and laziness. Children, who like more violent video games and not something harmless as dress up games for girls and arcades for boys, are filled with a variety of aggressive feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Influence of game violence on children is aggravated by the fact that modern applications become more interactive. After all, it is not a secret that in many applications, children are rewarded when they do something violent. When an act of violence is committed repeatedly, a child is actually in the management of violence. He gains experience of violence himself/herself. Response of a well-established adult to such things is very different from reactions of a child, who through this participation, repetition and rewards explores certain behavior model. If a child plays computer games too much time, then he/she risks becoming completely socially isolated. In addition, he/she can devote less time to different activities such as reading, homework, interacting with family and friends and sports.
Various video games do not use child's creative thinking. Use of imagination may be important for the development of creative skills. However, only a few games will help a child develop creative thinking. Some entertaining computer applications teach children totally wrong social functions and models. Aggressive behavior, revenge and hostility are rewarded. Negotiations and different nonviolent solutions are usually not effective. Women are often depicted as defenseless and weak characters that are often sexually provoking. Thus, children, who spend a lot of time playing, may gradually begin to confuse fantasy with reality, which can lead to disastrous consequences (Miller 200). In addition, academic achievement may be negatively associated with predisposition to excessive playing video games. Studies have shown that the more time a child spends on computer game, the worse his/her progress is at school.
Here are some other negative effects of gaming: reduced mobility, impaired visual acuity, narrowing of the range of interests. Earlier, vision was a key issue, when it comes to working with a computer. Nowadays, many people argue that modern liquid-crystal displays are not more dangerous than books and magazines. However, many health experts are trying to contest this view. If to delve deeply into this question, it may be noted that immobility of the pupil, when the eyeball is not properly hydrated, is very dangerous for vision. Thus, it turns out that those games are more dangerous, where the eye is the least runs across the screen and look ties to a single point. Therefore, those games are better for the health of the brain and eyes, in which a child can watch a lot of things and do some mental calculations and conclusions. Such games can improve attentiveness and develop the ability to pick out of the world interesting or necessary details quickly and clearly. However, the difference between perception of reality and what is happening on the screen is huge. The ability to navigate in a setting of a game may not extend to the ability to react exactly the same in reality.
Another thing is a game that trains memory, logic and critical thinking. To play them is the same thing as to collect some tangible puzzle. These games have a lot of benefits. They are very useful. Various educational games designed specifically for kids are very useful too. These games help children with a great interest learn our world in general, and some things and phenomena in particular. However, parents should strictly adhere to a schedule of a child. They should not let him/her be at the computer longer than the set time. In any case, parents do not have to transfer the trust of training of a child to computer. This is just a helper method, but not the main one. The most valuable and meaningful things a child should receive at an early age from his parents to go through the process of socialization and to learn to communicate with people and recognize the authority of adults.
Online games can especially drag children, where they are most detached from the reality. This is because on-line games mean their own world, which is not connected with a real one in any way. All characters are real people in these games and there is so much more interest in such games. Moreover, almost in all the online games, children have the ability to communicate with other players, which increases the excitement and helps the emergence of some personal pleasant relations. Attachment to virtual friends and comrades in a mythical world is often much stronger than attachment to real comrades. This can be really dangerous.
Despite of all these negative effects, computer games also have some positive aspects. Certain games that are used as part of a comprehensive development programs, can help autistic children and other children with disabilities related to mental development. In video games, a child gets a sense of involvement, a sense of achievement, so he/she develops a confidence. Children, after playing video games, start to feel excitement. They begin to feel positive and enthusiastic emotions. This allows them to overcome their mental illness to a certain extent. Studies have also shown that video games can improve mental abilities, such as motor coordination and vision. More intellectual games, such as strategy and puzzles, also improve the ability to solve problems and contribute to the promotion of mental faculties.