Are Video Games Bad For You?

Jason Bryant, Contributor

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Have you ever wondered if playing video games was good or bad for you?  Scientists have wondered this too and have done studies to find out the answer.

According to an article from Geek.com, video games can negatively affect your brain. The article explains a study by Professor Akio Mori from Nihon University’s Collage of Humanities and Science. Mori got 240 subjects, ages 6 to 29, and measured their alpha and beta waves. Alpha waves appear when the brain is resting; beta waves come from the prefrontal lobe and are believed to create emotion and creativity.

Professor Mori tested three groups of people: people who never played video games, people who don’t play video games often, and the gamers who play from 2-7 hours each day. He found out that the people who never played video games had better beta than alpha waves. The people who played video games 1-3 hours, 3-4 days a week, had equal beta and alpha waves. The gamers who played 2-7 hours each day had almost no beta waves at all—even when they weren’t playing video games. These results suggest that gamers are reducing their levels of emotion and creativity.

I asked some people what they thought about this. A competitive gamer, freshman Jack Rainey, did not agree with the study results. He said, “I think it can simulate creativity as it causes you to think about the story. You can also analyze the art and story, which simulates creativity.”

Carlos Castillo, a freshman, responded saying, “I actually think games give you more creativity because there will be and are games that use new ideas and you will end up sticking that idea into your head and remember it.”

Another article from Dana.org said that video games can be good and bad. Douglas A. Gentile said that playing these games can affect players both negatively and positively. The article says that some video games can help students. Other types of interactive digital media like catchupmath.com and studyisland.com, for example, are the types of games that can help students that go at different paces. A website named Lumosity has games that can help improve the mind in areas such as memory and brain speed.

The article from dana.org reported on a study of 161 college students who were randomly selected to play violent games, pro-social, and neutral games. The study concluded that the students who played the violent games were more violent towards other students. The students who played the pro-social games, however, said that the games made them more interactive no matter what they played.

Hearing of this study, Carlos Castillo said, “Personally they

don’t make me violent. I can tell it’s just a game, and I can tell right from wrong. I do use a lot more profanity though.”

Kareem Habal, a sophomore, offered his opinion saying, “It depends on the type of game. Call of Duty is very violent so it might make you think badly. However games like Pokémon make you think of pleasant things.”

In the book Are Video Games Harmful? The author talked about a six-year-old boy whose gaming influenced his decision to drive his mom’s car to school while she was sleeping. The boy drove the car because he was late for school and his mom was sleeping and his father was not home. He drove for 10 miles before smashing into a utility pole. The Northumberland County Sheriff Chuck Williams said, “It’s a miracle somebody did not get killed.” This boy told the officer that he learned how to drive by playing games like Grand Theft Auto and Monster Truck Jam. No  charges were filed against the child but on the parents for felony child endangerment. This story should make us think twice before letting younger brothers or sisters in the room when we’re playing these games.

These are a few of the studies and stories that show that video games can be harmful to the mind. But, there is another side to the question. Strategy games are a good example of the positive side of gaming.  Freshman Madison Perry plays strategy games, such as Balloon Tower Defense, and she said, “I believe the games I play make me think better because certain scenarios could be real-life situations, and it also makes me look at obstacles a different way.”

The topic of the good and bad sides of playing video games is very controversial. There are studies that prove the negative effects and there are others that highlight the positive effects. In the end, the effect on the player depends on the type of game you play and on the way you let it influence you.

 

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