Reviews | Are Video Games Good or Bad for Kids? Global debate strikes home for the holidays


So we just went through Black Friday and we are on the eve of Cyber ​​Monday. It’s about shopping for those who can afford it, and at the top of the list here in the East End, as well as America and the world, are all kinds of video games. Now is a good time to consider the good, the bad, and the ugly of the decades-old video game craze.

For the uninitiated, a quick reminder: there are plenty of free video games out there – just download them to a PC or smartphone, and they’re yours. The purchase of video games since the early 2000s has been done mainly through online distributors over the broadband Internet.

More and more common, as a method of selling games, is digital distribution by the ever-powerful internet commerce giants such as Game, Amazon.com, PlayStation Store, GamesStop and a few others. The optical discs, magnetic storage, flash memory cards, and ROM cartridges that brought video games back to us in the 1980s are long gone.

Interestingly, advancements in video game technology have a lot to do with most advancements in technology in general. In other words, video game R&D is constantly taking global internet technology to higher levels.

Now we have platforms dedicated entirely to video games, like Origin and Steam, to name just two. These offer centralized services, where one can buy and download digital content for his own PC, or even specific video game consoles.

Yet, with all the truly incredible improvements in what is now a huge global industry, we’re only beginning to understand the effect of this growth that still doesn’t get attention: the impact of video games on the brain, the intelligence and mental health of children.

The Early intervention research group reviews surveys and other data on this issue. They find that children aged 2 to 4 spend an average of 20 minutes per day playing video games; children aged 5 to 8 play an average of 40 minutes per day; and 8-12 year olds play video games for an average of 80 minutes per day.

The Early Intervention Research Group finds that there is little research on the effect of popular video games on children’s brain development. The research that has been done shows a fairly positive and beneficial effect of video games and apps on brain development if the games are interactive and educational. In contrast, exclusively entertaining or violent video games have a clearly negative effect on children’s brain development.

A highly regarded study finds that educational video games that involve movement and exercise, called “exercise games,” can improve major overall brain functions and even improve decision-making in children.

Another study on “characters” in educational games concluded that creating a strong bond with the characters in the game can improve a child’s learning.

Another study on educational games found that they help children develop coding, literacy and math skills.

The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to watch educational video games and other programs with their children, citing the above studies and others. The academy encourages “interactions” with children during their play time, with parents or other adults asking questions and praising correct answers, which greatly helps their children or students learn better from the program.

The respected non-profit organization Healthy player maintains a platform designed to help the Internet generation succeed. They define their mission as helping internet users take control of their mental health.

On their website, Healthy Gamer defends the proposition that video games aren’t inherently bad. Excessive use of video games, however, can lead to addiction, and their disturbing and intimidating list of negative effects from video games can be summed up as: dopamine addiction, reduced motivation, escape and “getting stuck in.” life ”, poor school or work performance, poor mental health, relationship problems, social disconnection, emotional suppression, repetitive stress injuries and exposure to toxic play environments.

With all of these results taken into account, a lot is still unknown. Most of the research has focused on young children and adolescents. Very little is known about the impact of video games on middle childhood (6-12 years). Pediatricians, educators and mental health professionals in the United States are urging more studies for this fragile age group.

But there is a Big Brother world power that does not wait for more research. At the beginning of October, the Chinese Communist regime, through one of its “newspapers”, described video games as “spiritual opium”. Is this a case of the proverbial broken clock showing the correct time twice a day?

This statement is the latest in China’s crackdown on tech companies, according to Associated Press. The ubiquitous messaging, payment and gaming services of tech companies, the growing realities of life in the United States and Western society in general, have too much influence on the Chinese people, their government has ruled.

The AP goes on to report that gaming giant Tencent, whose online multiplayer game Honor of Kings enjoys enormous popularity around the world, as well as games company NetEase, have imposed restrictions on playing time for miners in China a few hours after the declaration of the Chinese Communist regime.

Talk about spreading the message.

Then, according to a “notice” from the Beijing National Press and Publications Administration, minors in China can only play video games from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, weekends and holidays. Children under the age of 12 are prohibited from making in-game purchases.

With millions of children in China now banned from playing online games for more than three hours a week, the video game industry is facing its toughest restrictions, and many predict that there is more to come. Beijing.

But when it comes to Western society, the tech industry is well aware of ‘how the West is won’. Another advanced new video game technology that uses “virtual reality” is gaining more and more popularity. Tech companies continue to think outside the box, and surprisingly huge fortunes are made every day by entrepreneurs, tech geeks, students, and ordinary people with extraordinary ideas. But will the cost to our society and in particular to our children at the altar of technology prove to be far greater than it is all worth?

Our dear high-tech gaming adventure, or mishap, may well take us to a place that TS Elliot imagined not too long ago: “And the end of our exploration will be to get to where we started and go. knowing the place for the first time. time.”

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