Inquiry-Based Research on Active Video Games
Playing video games has been a popular activity among youths and children of any society across the world. Games exist in broad array of varieties due to innovations making them one of the popular activities consuming time and mental ability of youths and children. The games are quite engaging in addition to be source of entertainment. In fact, psychologists have avowed that many children exhibit high brain retention ability courtesy of video games (Elaine and Irwin, 2010, para. 5). Largely, video games are linked to various social ill such as violent behaviors, increased aggression, poor attitudes and cognition problems. This paper seeks to evaluate the positive and negative effects of active video games then giving a final position. The research aims to discuss the various positive and negative effects that video games have on children and youth in society. To extensively give a qualitative account on the topic, the introduction gives an overview of the topic while the body will evaluate both positive and negative effects while giving final concluding remarks. Active video games can impact the person positively in many ways. It can affect the mood, body movements, health improvements, and learning self-defense techniques.
Why active video games are useful?
Active video games are very different than the traditional ones. Playing active video games require the gamer to make some movements keeps a session going and hence win. This movement may be in the form of moving the feet or hands.
Video games fall under the category of computer games alongside other games such as arcade games, console games and online games among others. Video games have undergone significant developments in many aspects and have been instrumental tools used for entertainment and have significantly been useful as educational materials. To a greater extent, video games have been effectively used in therapy and exercise activities but most importantly, they have been crucial in entertainment and as learning tools. Psychologists affirm that learning effects of games have made them useful in education and as such have overtly and directly been used to improve learning outcomes in schools (Elaine and Irwin, 2010, para. 10). For entertainment purposes, video games have been useful in promoting fun among peers in society.
Great innovations have seen video games go through rapid transformations to come up with varieties. For that matter, video games have become an area of focus for many researchers, scholars, psychologists, policy makers and the general public. This is anchored on the belief that effects of video games are felt in entire communities either directly or indirectly. However, active video games appear to be double sword, because despite being useful tool in education and entertainment purposes, they have contributed to antisocial behaviors in society. For instance, violent educational video games are more destructive because they offer rewards for killing police officers and bystanders. Overall, positive effects of active video games seem to out shadow the negative effects.
Extensive literature review has revealed that for more than three decades, video games have been instrumental in shaping how people use their leisure time. Traditionally, video games introduced into society were so basic and geometric and thus could easily be controlled by a single player. However, each subsequent generation has seen the development of sophisticated video games that incorporates realisms and graphics. Today, inventors and innovators of video games continue to improve their merchandise without due consideration on how the impacts that video games have on the youth and children in the society. There are many positive effects of active video games and thus signifying the usefulness of such to the overall development of children and youth in society.
Literature review has revealed that children exposed to active video games have increased ability to learn in real life. For that matter, when a child plays video games he or she is significantly exposed to general strategies required for learning in schools. Before one can effectively play a game, there is need for quick learning of various facets of controls and navigation. Active video games are instrumental in shaping the moods of children. “AVGs seem to yield the mood benefit as much as exercise does to children” (Jung, Ping and Zan, 2016, para. 102). A child brought up in this digital age grows up knowing fully the learning rules of information processing and so ensures that they learn in non-linear ways. Literature review documents that video games are associated with abundant visual and hypertext cues that are fundamental in learning and can be applicable in instructional settings. Further, video game is useful in promoting the development of vital skills usable in problem solving and inductive discovery. Studies have revealed that playing video games help in spatial visualization and coordination of eye and hand because the user must effectively move the hand while coordinating the eye focused on the screen and hand (Jung, Ping and Zan, 2016, para. 100). Significantly, skills developed in video games have extensively been used in simulating military flights because the training requires one to use cognitive skills to do several things through rapid processing of information.
Immersion theory has been used to explain positive effects of playing games, this is because immersion effect creates an environment where players submerge themselves and concentrate attention towards achievement of set target. This has fundamentally been used to explain why children actively playing video games have the ability to retain a lot of information in their brain. It has been established that due to the interactive nature of video games, they are able to create an intense presence of mood, feeling and significantly promote motivation in principal educational settings (Jung, Ping and Zan, 2016, para. 102). For that matter, educational video games have facilitated effective interaction between instructors and learners by increasing sense of social presence. Therefore, learners are able to effectively manage limited resources and make valuable decisions during learning in real life. Further, learners are able to develop estimation skills to aid decision making while promoting perseverance because an individual playing a game always reaches higher levels that require perseverance.
Active video games ensure better health benefits that are crucial for development of children and the youth. This leads to improvement in motor skills. “These improvements in perceptions of motor skill may lead to increased sport and physical activity participation in the longer term, but such improvements are currently speculative” (Howie, Campbell and Straker, 2015, para. 258). For instance, playing games reduces the level of unwanted stress in children attending schools and doing their homework. Studies have avowed that reduction of stress turns children to be happier and healthier people (Howie, Campbell and Straker, 2015, para. 253). Significantly, aggression that has consistently been cited by many as the negative effect of playing video games can effectively be reduced when the level of stress is lowered. Literature reveals that some games such as Wii games may overcome the effects of sedentary lifestyle by promoting non sedentary behaviors through gaming (Howie, Campbell and Straker, 2015, para. 256). This is anchored on a research that highlighted positive effects of playing video games for patients suffering from pediatric cancer, additionally, there are games that that convey valuable information about diseases such as asthma making children and the youth to be aware of certain health issues.
Moreover, active video games are useful to children and the youth as they improve their abilities to multitask as well as effective development of motor skills (Campos and Castillo, 2016, para. 119). A research conducted at the University of Rochester showed that individuals who played action packed video games were able to identify letters obtainable in clutter by a greater percentage than before. Multitasking is a vice that is quite useful in real life, ability of a child to perform different activities is always commendable. This is a skill they acquire from playing video games where they have to balance, control and navigate through a series of barriers at the same. Therefore, video games are useful in instilling the sense and ability of children to comprehensively accomplish several tasks at the same time. To some extent, this may also promote teamwork and cooperation as they try to accomplish myriad level tasks. For instance, games such as Lego Star Warsor require that players coordinate and work together to solve problems and accomplish myriad duties and activities. Notable success realized for children and youth playing video games is the building of self-confidence and esteem. It has been revealed that through the natural process of learning, mastering concepts and victory in gaming, players are able to build internal confidence that is valuable in overcoming obstacles through persistence (Rachel and Rhodes, 2009, para. 4). This confidence built also translates to promoted fitness for game players because gaming ensures that muscles are flexed to the advantage of players (Rachel and Rhodes, 2009, para. 6). Hence, active video games can greatly boost careers of children and youth because as postulated above, complex games may increase strategic thinking, interpretation of complex concept, formulate effective plans and adapt to rapid changes.
Socially, video games have been on the front line in promoting strong social skills critical in necessitating interaction between people. Consistent interaction is important for the development of a child’s personality. Literature review has elaborated that people who are shy or lack confidence of socializing with their peers may potentially open up during video games (Haichun and Yong, 2016, para. 235). Consequently, children can effectively interact during online video games even with strangers unknown to them. Many people have found it difficult to interact with others in real life; this is something possible during video games due to a sense of anonymity and security. Moreover, researchers opine that effective interaction through conversation also promotes and natures good sportsmanship and fair play among children (Haichun and Yong, 2016, para. 240). For that matter, video game is instrumental in teaching children values that are applicable in societal needs, this is gained in the process when children are playing and thus compete fairly.
Coping to different situations has been a problem to many people. Luckily, researchers reveal that video games are sufficient in ensuring that people cope with physical or emotional plan (Elaine and Irwin, 2010, para. 9). Video games have been critical in providing escape routes for people dealing with traumatic experiences, suffering illness and health conditions that may confine them to their bedrooms. In light of this, medical professionals recommend to parents that when next their children are suffering from abdominal pain, they should allow them play video games to help in coping with the pain. In connection to coping with situations, playing video games can make people happy. This is potentially one of the biggest positive effects of video games to children and the youth who should be allowed to play.
On the other hand, extensive literature review has revealed that the contents of video games released to the markets have raised major concerns to many who have postulated that they have led to increased aggression on children and the youth. “GAM theorizes that aggressive behavior is caused by internal states of arousal, aggressive affect, and aggressive cognitions” (Hilgard, Engelhardt and Rouder, 2017, para. 770). Specifically, studies have observed that video games have promoted reactive aggression which is a condition where an individual reacts angrily in response to frustrations or threat (Hilgard, Engelhardt and Rouder, 2017, para. 769). Aggression is dangerous because a child can decide to violently revenge to those who have wronged them. Studies have revealed that individual already high on hostility may even exhibit more aggression as a result of being exposed to violent video games threat (Hilgard, Engelhardt and Rouder, 2017, para. 765). Most of these violent behaviors are learnt from a series of violent video games which is always motivated by external force forcing to reach a predetermined goal whichever way.
In addition, video games impacts negatively on individual lifestyle because it may deter a child from engaging in useful activities in society. Studies have elaborated that video games may make a child develop symptoms and disorders such as telling lies, struggling at school and develop sleeping problems (LeBlanc et al., 2013, para. 44). Moreover, children addicted to video games exhibit withdrawals and may severely experience body aches (Ralph et al., 2011, para. 158). Addiction is increased by the urge to achieve certain goals or targets; this is necessitated by the inability of a player to achieve certain set target and thus motivates them to spend more time in trying to achieve targets.
Furthermore, video games affects the development of a child’s thinking ability because players often fail to develop their own creativity and innovation as they are only confined to the requirements of a particular game. Sometimes, video games drive children to operate outside societal values and expectations because as they play, vengeance, violent behavior and aggression are considered success and are rewarded. Children playing games may only concentrate on aspects of the game without taking into account societal requirements.“It is likely that during video game play, participants must learn to adapt to ever-changing environments and learn the most optimal way to complete a level” (Buelow, Okdie and Cooper, 2015, para. 232). Similarly, in most video games, women are considering as weak as they are often sexually helpless, this has infiltrated into the mind of children who start to develop negative perceptions on women at tender ages. This effectively contaminates their minds because their normal thinking and perceptions are altered; they significantly begin deviating from social values in respect to subjecting women to torture due to gender bias and violence (Buelow, Okdie and Cooper, 2015, para. 232). Finally, children playing video games are vulnerable to broad array of dangers because they can easily pick vulgar language from video games, also can develop skeleton, muscle problems and tendonitis.
Based on the above discussions, the paper concludes that video games are quite useful and the positive effects outweigh the negative effects. Distinctively, video games are useful to children and the young because, they necessitate learning by promoting interaction between learners and instructors. Significantly, playing video games is associated with health benefits because it aids in reducing the level of stress which may impede growth and development of teenagers. Moreover, it promotes the ability to multitask, ensures appropriate development of social skills and allows players to cope with different situation. As pointed out, video games are a double sword, that is, they also have negative effects associated with them including encouragement of aggressive and violent behaviors, acquiring anti-social behaviors and a major problem of addiction.
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