Role Of Computer Games And Its Adverse Effects In Society Essay

Question:

Describe the Role of Computer Games and its Adverse Effects in Society.

Answer:

Introduction

The video game concept is a controversial issue as many other topics. The line between an excessive amount of gaming and a healthy amount is quickly forgotten. For some video games are a way to relax or unwind after a long day, and to some people, it is an addiction, but still, this form of entertainment cannot be entirely ignored. Video games can be a form of social activity, a learning experience and stimulating if used to the right degree (Granic, Lobel and Engels, 2014).

This report on computer games and its effect on health critically analyses in detail the age group who are actively engaged in playing video games, development in computer technology over the years mentioning the current consoles and probable effect on youth. There are various reasons why playing games is an integral life of many gamers and the psychology behind it is explored and mentions its effect on the society. A critical argument is also behind this psychology by quoting a line from a famous comedian. A brief history is explained citing the era of video game devices starting from the early generation up to current generation and its future. The concluding part details the adverse effects on children from playing long hours of computer games.

Main Age Groups playing Video Games

As Charrieras and Ivanova (2016) stated, computer games of today are played by all age groups, and comprises of mostly young adults and teenagers in the age group of 16-24 years old. The number is quite high in America where 81% of youths play at least once per month. Benefits or not, it raises a big question when the 8 to 12 year old plays 13 hours of video games per week and 13 – 18-year-old plays for about 14 hours in a week. With such a wide variety of games available and with the general interest, it is hard to prevent kids from playing them; rather the question that must be raised is if the children are benefitting from it (Noga, 2016).

Evolution of Video Games and Devices

Gee (2016) opined that games have evolved to a point where the person needs to be smarter, have quick reflexes and think fast to react quickly to events in a limited time frame. Over the years gameplay has been refined to such a point that it can accurately mimic realistic scenarios, which is responsible for garnering interest and the increase of the fan base. Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and Videogame Rating Industry (VRC) were formed in 1993 to specify age ratings for different games, as many game companies started making games for adults like God of War, Assassin’s Creed, and Max Payne to reap profits. Currently, gaming consoles like PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U and VR headsets and gaming gadgets and peripherals have penetrated the market to cater to the hardcore gamers, which are vastly superior regarding graphics, sound, and physics. It is still debatable if today’s increased realism of games has led to violent social behaviors among the general youth especially in America in regards to gun control (Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Smith & Tosca 2016).

Importance of Games to Gamers

As Romero, Usart and Ott (2015) opined, there are numerous games which when evaluated can bring out a lot of cons than positives. To some people, however, games have had a positive effect on them in the form of better cognitive thinking, good hand-eye coordination, and performing daily chores with much more precision (Granic, Lobel and Engels, 2014). There are some educational or traditional games which focus on specific aspects that not only let increases the knowledge of the player, simulate sports gameplay like football and cricket, and also help them relieve historical events, instances being Total War series, Simcity, Fifa, Call of Duty, among others. There are few games like Bioshock, The Walking Dead, Life is Strange and Uncharted, which excelled regarding storytelling and long after the games had been finished it remains in the mind of the gamers, which makes this medium for good storytelling. Another debatable aspect being games often present scenarios with unrealistic or ideal characters and situations which transport the player to a fantasy or imaginary world but often create unrealistic expectations (Bleakley, 2015). Games often objectify women with unrealistic body proportions and costumes for catering to the large base of male players. As Marcus Brigstocke, a comedian and author put it “If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we would all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music” (Thompson, 2016).

Video Game Devices

Earlier there were gaming cafes and video game parlors which stocked a limited number of games where the younger age groups would spend hours. Then there were home consoles where a person could play games from the comfort of home. Presently the market is filled with lots of gaming consoles (specific devices made for playing games), like Playstation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, handheld consoles like Gameboy, and the rest play on desktop computers or laptops (Wesley and Barczak, 2016). Most of the consoles need just a display, and PC gamers can adjust game settings according to their hardware for smooth gameplay, which makes this platform all the more versatile. The gaming market has seen a huge surge in interest, and the games are not only restricted to specific consoles or devices but in smartphones too. The next generation of gaming is going to be on clouds for online gameplay.

Time Spent in Video Games

One of the biggest disadvantages of computers games is that the youngsters spend a lot of time in front of television or computers screens, which hurt their eyes leading to put on spectacles at a young age. This habit leads to spending less time in traditional sports, skipping on lunch and other important meals, which affects their eyes, overall health, distracts their mind, and their studies suffer as a result (Rezaei Dehaghani, Mohammadi and Mehrabi, 2016). Many games present obscene scenes and dialogues which sway the minds of young towards the pop culture (Effect of Video Games on Child Development | Developmental Psychology at Vanderbilt, 2016).

Recommendations

Being Aware of the Content

There has been a lot of research on the impact of video games, and it has shown improvement in social benefits and cognitive functions. Instead of just playing the game, if the player focuses on the meaning of the messages, the guidelines, challenges, and restrictions then the player can gain a lot of knowledge from them and implement them in their life barring the negativities. Parents need to be aware of the kind of games their children play and need to buy games online or offline after seeing the age rating and then making a personal evaluation if the game will be suitable for the kid.

Regulation of habits

Parents also need to balance their children's gaming addiction and limit it to no more than 1 hour per day, and that too after they finish their daily chores including school work and personal chores. Children should be encouraged for engaging in social interaction. If there is more than one kid in the room, then the parents must ensure that they do not fight for their turns instead give them a mental note on their playtime. In respect to mainstream media, video games are mostly uncensored in many countries, and it provides broad access to enjoy this medium in its unrestricted form.

Games as a Learning Tool

Players can increase their knowledge by playing historical games like Total War series, Civilization series, World War games like Call of Duty, Battlefield series, tycoon and management simulation games like Rollercoaster Tycoon, Simcity, and sports games like Fifa and Cricket. Players playing games for more than an hour should go for an eye checkup every six months and take proper glasses. Good posture also needs to be maintained to avoid long term injuries. Besides those playing need to get up and walk in nature from time to time.

Conclusion

Video games are a big part of the current contemporary culture, and people of all ages enjoy it in different forms. It has been found that the children from 8 – 18-year-olds are most active in the gaming scene and spend up to 13-14 hours per week. They can’t be prevented from playing them rather research is on in converting those hours into productive time. Computer technology has evolved a lot over the years, and desktop gaming has been refined so much that currently, it depicts a very realistic picture of real life scenarios. Even though game ratings exist but the system is yet to be adequately implemented. There have been instances of violence among youth, but it is not determined if they are caused by video games. Games are an immersive form of the medium which can make a fictitious setting much believable. Often it objectifies women and makes players have unrealistic expectations in real life. Advantages being games increase hand-eye coordination, fast reflexes, and cognitive skills. Games have evolved from arcade game parlors to gaming consoles and smartphones devices. There are significant disadvantages from playing long hours including poor eyesight, lack of social interaction and adverse effects on health.

References

Bleakley, C. M., Charles, D., Porter-Armstrong, A., McNeil, M.D., McDonough, S, M., & McCormack, B. (2015). Gaming for health a systematic review of the physical and cognitive effects of interactive computer games in older adults. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 34(3), NP166-NP189.

Charrieras, D. & Ivanova, N. (2016). Emergence in video game production: Video game engines as technical individuals. Social Science Information, 55(3), 337-356.

Effect of Video Games on Child Development | Developmental Psychology at Vanderbilt. (2016). My.vanderbilt.edu. Retrieved 9 September 2016, from

Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S., Smith, J. H., & Tosca, S. P. (2016). Understanding video games: The essential introduction. Routledge.

Gee, J. P. (2016). Gaming lives in the twenty-first century: Literate connections. G. Hawisher, & C. Selfe (Eds.). Springer.

Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66.

Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66.

Noga, H. (2016). SELECTED FACTORS OF THE SOCIALIZATION IMPACT OF COMPUTER GAMES AND THEIR CONTENT. SIE, 2, 569.

Rezaei Dehaghani, A., Mohammadi, M., & Mehrabi, T. (2016). Association between playing computer games and mental and social health among male adolescents in Iran in 2014. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 21(2), 153. doi:10.4103/1735-9066.178236

Romero, M., Usart, M., & Ott, M. (2015). Can serious games contribute to developing and sustaining 21st century skills?. Games and Culture, 10(2), 148-177.

Thompson, K. (2016). It's All About You, Simply Nutrition, Simply Fitness and Beauty, Art Appreciation, Out and About. Troubador Publishing Ltd.

Wesley, D., & Barczak, G. (2016). Innovation and marketing in the video game industry: avoiding the performance trap. CRC Press.

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