Mamadi Jaiteh (s1096555)
Windesheim school of applied science, zwolle
VIDEO GAMES AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON KIDS
Video Games are one of the most popular media attractions in today’s world,
especially among youngsters. Today, electronic games are available on all new digital
platforms, particularly cell phones. An important step in technical development has been the
increasing use of online games. Gaming is highest between 10 and 13 years; boys play
considerably longer than girls (Tobin, J. (Ed.)(2004). Picachu’s Global Adventure: The Rise
and Fall of Pokemon. Durham: Duke University Press).
This media source is becoming more and more popular not only in highly developed
countries but also in those less. In the Gambia significant part of teenagers plays video
games in specific game-centers. These centers are like internet cafés or shops: people visit
them for business aims, study, internet and, of course, video games. Video games have
different sides in influence on people: playing involves the development of memory and
attention, makes people more creative, allows building relationships. However,
everybody has to be aware of problems this media can bring. In my article I would like to
discuss benefits and risks connected with this phenomenon.
Firstly, games encourage an individual to be focused on what he or she is doing. For
example, when a person is playing action game, the result will never be high without
focusing and quick reaction when to kick, to change score, pass etc. And in the case of high
result it gives him or her courage and steady self-esteem.
Secondly, it improves mathematical skills because when playing a game, a child needs
a lot of calculations what can also increase mathematical skills at school. I’ve heard about
the case when a man learned a physical specific of a car on racing video games that
became a world champion in races changing virtual car on a real one.
Thirdly, it improves cognitive skills - mental understanding of the game, logics that
later can be the reason for formation of good skills and even habits. Overcoming obstacles
in a video-game world can create technical skills what helps to understand computer
setting without problems.
Fourthly, they foster relationships among those who play. People not only play with
their friends or parents but also play games with those met for the first time in a game
center. Playing the game is a perfect socialization tool connected gamers all over the
world. Besides, video games are a unique form of entertainment because they encourage
players to become a part of the game's script (http://www.pamf.org/parenting-
Fifthly, it creates a stable mind and gets rid of stress. For instance, after tensed time at
school video games will help to relax since when playing a mind gets a dozen of adrenalin
and makes a kid happy.
Sixthly, it serves as a source of income for the owner and even the children who play
the game together in the station, for instance, when children bet and play a game and one
of them wins. They get money for this.
It also minimizes children loitering after school since, having play station at home or
ability to go to game-club, children do not have a desire to loiter across the streets or
dangerous places where they can get injuries.
Firstly, video games can distract children from their academic work in a sense that if a
child spends too much time playing video games, he or she will not focus at school. All
thoughts of such kid will always be in a game which can negatively influence school
results and results of doing homework.
New research suggests that it is not the content of the video games that influences child
behavior, but the time spent playing the game. U.K. researchers discovered that children who
play video games for more than three hours a day are more likely to be hyperactive, get
involved in fights, and not be interested in school
Secondly, playing video games can cost too much. These costs involve the money for
buying own play station or paying for the time in game club. Besides, modern games often
promote buying virtual things or bonuses in order to increase the score in a game.
Children do not always understand that parents cannot have money for satisfaction of
kids’ desires about the games what can also cause problems in poor families. There are
even cases when parents did not want to make their kid feel worse than others and
collected money for buying a play station at the cost of other needs.
Thirdly, it can be boring for those who are continuously defeated when they are
playing the game. Science they always defeat, they can adapt different attitude like
bullying and verbal abuse which is not a part of the norm and values. It can also create
violence among children who always lose and they can be mocked by friends all the time.
So, video games can develop and create violence among friends.
Fourthly, it encourages children to use money at an early age, for instance, when
children meet in a play station, they bet who will win and play the game. In such situation
for children who always win can come a time when they do not have money. Then in
order to have money he or she can be involved in crimes or illegal work.
Fifthly, it may be a reason for not doing other work at home like domestic works.
When children help their parents at home they learn to be responsible. A bad habit of
doing nothing only play encourages children to be lazy when doing other tasks. And what
such kids learn in their childhood will also affect how they will teach their own kids in
future. So, video games can also threat being a good parent in adolescence.
Sixthly, video games are a large source of violence. Gentile and Anderson state that
playing video games may increase aggressive behavior because violent acts are continually
repeated throughout the video game. This method of repetition has long been considered an
effective teaching method in reinforcing learning patterns (Gentile, D. A. and Anderson, C.
A. (2014). Long-Term Relations Among Prosocial-Media Use, Empathy, and Prosocial
Behavior, Psychology Science, vol. 2, 358-368).
Research has also found that, controlling for prior aggression, children who played
more violent video games during the beginning of the school year showed more aggression
than other children later in the school year (Anderson, C.A. & Sakamoto, A.
(2008). Longitudinal Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggression in Japan and the United
Children’s media repetoires are increasingly independent from their parents’ influence.
The availability of media in children’s bedrooms, individualized media services such as
digital games or social networking platforms as well as parents’ lack of knowledge about
modern digital media allow children to decide rather independently what media they use
(Bovill, M. and Livingstone, S. (2001). Bedroom Culture and the Privatisation of Media Use,
Children and Their Changing Media Environment. A European Comparative Study. Mahwah,
NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 179-200).
A lot of young people in the Gambia are addicted to playing video games. It means
there are influenced by social media. Most owners the play station centers and the
internet cafés do not mind about the age of the children using their centers. Adults and
kids do not have any knowledge about media literacy. They have money and want to use
every modern technological gadget.
My younger brother is 15 years old. He goes to the play station always. When we do
not see him at home, we have to look for him in a play station center, it is just near to our
compound (house). He likes playing but he is not addicted to it. It does not distract him
from education because of my sister and parents who always motivate him. In a situation
when children have a proper control at home video gaming becomes a good
entertainment, not addiction.
I would like to recommend one web-page where each parent can find useful
information about the majority of video games and other media their children use-
www.commonsensemedia.org It includes the description of a particular media, an
appropriate age and other helpful information in order to prevent risks of bad
media usage by kids. Common Sense Media has a special section for video game
reviews where parents can go to read about games their kids have requested or to
research games they think would be most suitable for specific children. Ratings include a
score for positive images, positive role models, and violence, among others.
To sum up, children should be under the control of adults in everything what they do
in life, should be properly motivated. Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. It
depends on choices people do and consequences they see how they consume media
and how it influences them. In the Gambia many people are media illiterate. We are the
first students who have come at Windesheim as exchange students. We believe, with the
knowledge we get here we can make a change in our close surrounding and the whole