The world is changing aphenomenon rate. The advent of computer based technologies has hadhuge impacts on the human society. Today, individuals can do almosteverything on a computer. Some of the most fascinating aspects of thecomputer based technologies have been the internet and advancement invideo games. In the modern society, children and adults are spendinga significant period of time in the computers, assessing informationon the internet or playing video games. While some people havecriticized the modern way of life, some people have used evidencebased research to proof that there is nothing wrong with increaseduse of computer based video games and internet. Although both aspectsof the technology have been an important issue in the recent past, ofparticular interest is the increased popularity of video games andthe amount of time children and adults are spending playing videogames. In the past, video games were generally played on a dedicatedvideo game console (James, 24). However, the improvement intechnology has enabled the installation of video games in computersand mobile phones. This is generally known as computer gaming. Thishas resulted into fluctuations in the popularity of dedicatedconsoles while the demand for personal computers has increased. Morerecently, more advanced mobile phones with video games applicationshave emerged. This has increased the accessibility and time spent onthe internet. While some scholars have highlighted the positiveaspects of video games, there are some negative effects that havebeen identified especially among children and youths (James, 65).
According to Griffiths (47),most of the reports on the effects of video games have focused on thenegative effects. However, there are some positive social effects ofvideo games. Since the early 2000s, the popularity and market forvideo games in the United States and other parts of the world havecontinued to diversify. Although majority of video game players aremale, accounting for about 59 percent, there is an increase in numberof women playing video games. Moreover, video games are more commonamong the youths and young adults between the age of 10 and 40 years. Like other games, video games are associated with some socialexperience. Majority of video games are multiplayer creating a formof competition or cooperation between individuals in the one ormultiple devices. In the recent past, numerous studies have beenconducted to identify the positive and negative impacts of videogames on individuals. This includes their impacts of social skills,behavioral trends and learning. This has resulted into video gamecontroversy where some parents, educators, religious organization andadvocacy groups have highlighted the negative effects of video gamesand advocated for their censorship. On average, statistics indicatesthat an adult user of video games have been playing for twelve years.Although video games users exist across all ages, the average gameris 34 years old. In the United States, about sixty seven percent ofall households have some form of video games. Due to the increasedconcerns over the impacts of video games and computers on children,over three quarters of parents in the United States believe thatparental control is very essential (Bex, 19).
According to Griffiths (47),there is no doubt that children and youths are likely to spend a lotof time on the video games, diverting their attention from otherthings such as education. However, careful analyses of the videogames and their impacts on the learning process have yieldeddifferent results. Many experts agree with the fact that video gameshave some learning experience. Although not all games haveeducational value, there are numerous games that are tailor made forlearning within a specific stage of learning. Educationist anddevelopment experts have suggested that there some important skillsin the learning process that can be enhanced through particular videogames, for example, spatial visualization skills.Studies since thelate 20thcentury have elucidated several educational benefits accrued fromvideo games.have been found have positive impacts oflanguage skills such as discussions, following directions and givinganswers to questions. Children who play interactive video games arebetter sharing and discussion skills compared to a control group.Basic mathematics and reading skills can also be enhanced usingtailor made video games. Multiplayer video games also enhance socialskills among children and young adults since they require high levelsof coordination, communication and cooperation. Nonetheless, thepositive impacts of video games on children and young adults, and thesociety in general is determined by the types of the game, nature ofplayer involvement, age, facilitator, game setting and duration ofplay, among others (Bex, 29).
On the other hand, there areseveral disadvantages, and thus negative social effects, of videogames that have been highlighted. It has been argued that video gamesmake most children and youths to be physically inactive they justsit facing their computers or game console at one position and makevery little movement. Offline and online games have made manychildren to turn away from all the other outdoor games which involvethem physically. Lack of physical exercises in children makes them tofall victims of diseases that are lifestyle related easily such asinertia and obesity. They also fail to build up on theirinterpersonal skills because of not physically interacting with otherchildren. Additionally, youths whose much of their free time isspent playing video games may lose the capability to initiate a realface-to-face communication with other people. Such children may evenbecome very uncomfortable when in the midst of a group of people dueto lack of confidence. Mostly, these children are normally not awarethat they are little by little being alienated from the real world asthey increasingly spend time in the virtual world (James, 51).
Together with other computerbased activities, video games are also known to cause a sleepingdisorder known as insomnia in adults and children which in turnaffects their health negatively. Insomnia is a situation where anindividual is not able to sleep. Some children use their computers,phones, and laptops even late at night playing online and offlinegames or chatting with friends instead of sleeping. If this trendcontinues for an extended period, the individual may develop insomniaand this could be harmful to their health (Williams and Smith, 89).This is because for one to have good health, he or she must getproper sleep of at least six to eight hours a day. Moreover, lack ofenough sleep makes it harder for the children to concentrate inschool work and their overall academic performance falls as a result.In addition, the use of computers and game console at late nightcauses eyes problems due to too much exposure to a lot of light fromtheir screens. Prolonged playing of video games can also strain thechildren’s shoulders and necks. Some studies have also establishedthat some video games negatively affect the thinking capacity in bothchildren and adults (Williams and Smith, 89).
In conclusion, the overallresults of the use of video by children and young adults appear to bea combination of both negative and positive effects. There is anopportunity for many positive impacts on both the social andcognitive development of the children if video games are to be usedpositively. This calls for age specific video games as well asregulated use. Nonetheless, with the risks and detrimental elementshanging about in the shades of computer based technologies, thedanger of negative effects on the development of a child because ofexposure to video games is real and very dangerous in serious cases.The solution to this lies in the guidance and supervision of theparents on video usage by their children. The opportunities forexploration and learning offered by the video games and othertechnology based activities can unlock doors to many positive effectson the development of a child, on condition that the parents arethere to supervise the exploration and explain or answer questionsregarding any destructive material they come across in the technologybased activities. It is also important to ensure that a good balanceis maintained between physical activities or interactions and videogames, otherwise the children will start experiencing physicaldisorders due to excessive use of video games. It is also veryimportant to remember that for video games to have positive impact onchildren, someone will have to teach and guide them on how to use itproperly.This includes making the right choice of video gamesdepending on the age of the user.
Bex, Lewis. Raisingchildren in a digital age: enjoying the best, avoiding the worst,Oxford: Lion. (2014).
Griffiths, Mark. “Theeducational benefits of videogames”, Educationand Health, Vol. 20No.3, pp 47-52 (2002).
James, Newman. Videogames,ISBN 0415669162 Routledge, (2013)
James, Paul Gee. Whatvideogames have to teach us about learning and literacy,New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. (2010).
Williams, J. P., and Smith, J.H., eds. Theplayers` realm: studies on the culture of video games and gaming.Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. (2007).