Video games were first introduced in the 1970’s and quickly became an exciting fun source of entertainment for children, however it has come to its fair share of negative press over recent years.
With the popularity of video games growing each year, parents and those concerned are becoming increasingly alarmed about the consequences these games maybe carrying not only physiologically but socially.
There have been a number of reports about video games causing violent behaviour in young people such as the Columbine shootings in the U.S whereby it was argued that the Doom game the killers were playing had a part to play in them killing a number of people at the school they attended.
Negative side of Videogames
A study of the brain activity of 39 game players took place at the university of Missouri- Columbia which found that people who played video games when shown real images of real life violence where found to have a diminished response.
Meaning that when viewing these images gamers weren't as effected as would be expected, which could be linked to the video games that they play that has therefore made them less receptive to real life violent behaviour.
It could be argued that all this study shows is that when it comes to images gamers could be effected in the sense of their reaction to it but this does not have direct impact on behaviour.
Professor David Buckingham expresses that a number of reasons can have direct link to violence for example becoming withdrawn and isolated so it is therefore difficult to pin point where the problem lies.
Negative Side of Video games continued...
Not only can it be argued that video games can cause both physiological and social problems but also physical health issues can occur during excessive play such as obesity and high blood pressure.
To overcome this issues parents would not only have to keep a close eye on the amount of time their children spend on games but more importantly the games in which they are playing.
Another concern could be that by playing videogames children's social skills could be at risk as gaming is seen as a more independent interaction although you can play with people online it is quite different to face to face interaction.
Here is a video on YouTube by a news channel in the U.S whereby a study took place on the effects on the emotional side of the brain whilst playing video games although no hard evidence was found it gave an interesting insight into how videogames could subconsciously have a negative outcome.
Violent Video Games may affect the Brain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFMk17nDUVM&feature=related
Positive effects of Videogames It has been argued that videogames help the development of perceptual, cognitive and motor skills and ability. Players have to practice in order to progress through the game effectively therefore providing them with a sense of achievement once certain tasks and or levels have been completed. According to a BBC report videogames could improve peoples quality of vision a study found that they had better contrast sensitivity. This could be true as players need to be constantly aware of their surroundings and pay attention to even the smallest amount of detail. An interesting fact is that the average video game player is 35 years old according to the BBC although most of the media attention is how these games are effecting the younger generation. There is no real concern about how the older generation maybe effected as children seem to be more impressionable. Thomas and Macredie (1995) suggest that in a world more and more dominated by computers and requiring individuals with a high degree of computer literacy video games through cognitive skills play an important part in the social development of both children and adults.
Future of Video games According to Shaffer video games could in actual fact change the way in which we learn through virtual worlds social practices and skills could be taught. In other words video games create new social and cultural worlds that help people learn by joining together different ways of thinking , the interaction of different people using technology. Shuker (1995) argued that video games have now transformed themselves into cultural forms and might shortly substitute cinema and cable. Although it could be said this change is a long way off video games could eventually take over traditional media, meaning that in order for the big media outlets to keep up they may need to some how get involved in the video game industry or risk falling behind.
Future of Video Games In a number of ways the video game industry is fuelled by innovation with constant pressure by competitors and fans to top their last game on the market. As videogame become more difficult and refined so does the storyline with different narrative make-up and the ways in which characters are somewhat changing by their developers. Although there is a fair amount of dispute about whether video games should really be seen as a form of narrative it is difficult to ignore the similarity between this discussion and how cinema was received at the start of the 20th century. Conclusion In conclusion it is difficult to truly analyse the effects of videogames and whether in fact we should be concerned about what negative effect it could be having on the younger generation. If videogames are simply pushed to one side could we as a society be depriving the younger generation the opportunity to better themselves through the use of different literacy techniques, that could prove highly useful later on in life. A possible option could them be to try and regulate how easy it is to get hold of games so that there is a less risk if any by causing violent behaviour.