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Mac & Cheese Essay

The article “Why Games are Good for You” by Steven Johnson presents reasons why electronic video games are not harmful. While other people have written and talked about the harms that video games bring to young people. , Steven Johnson argues just the opposite. He says that video games have many benefits including making us smarter.

Steven Johnson begins his article by describing what the critics say about video games. First, they are a great waste of time says Dr. Spock. At their worst, they promote violent responses from children. The main argument about video games is that they take away from children reading. Then the author presents the reasons that reading is so good for people. However, the author then says that a lot of the criticism about video games is because they are being judged by old standards by people who believe reading is the main way for children to learn skills. He asks the reader to think of a world where video games came before books. Then he argues that the criticisms of books would look a certain way. The criticisms are the author’s way of showing benefits of video games, like they are three-dimensional, and they have strong visual images and sound. The user uses complex motor skills to navigate them. Also, he shows that the children interact with the games and can control what happens in them.

Steven Johnson then shows that the arguments used against books in this made up situation are like the ones used for video games. They do not show the benefits of reading like using the imagination or the shared experience of reading the same story. The arguments against video games are limited also says the author. He says if you compare video games to books, then the games will not be judged well because the two are so different. Next, he talks again about the benefits of reading like concentration and making sense of words and meanings.

After showing how reading brings many benefits, he then argues that some of the benefits of readings are found with video games. He says, “By almost all the standards we use to measure reading’s cognitive benefits—attention, memory, following threads and so on—the nonliterary popular culture has been steadily growing more challenging over the past thirty years” (485). Research is showing in the last few years that people who play video games regularly are gaining important skills. In fact, Steven Johnson argues that “Increasingly the nonliterary popular culture is honing different mental skills that are just as important as the ones exercised by reading books” (485). He provides examples of why he believes this.

Steven Johnson does not agree with critics of video games who believe they are not only a waste of time for children, but can cause harm. Instead, he argues that video games provide many benefits and skills for children including motor skills, interaction with a narrative, a rich landscape of sounds and images and so forth. Other researchers are starting to agree that video games are providing some benefits. Steven Johnson believes that video games should be valued more, but he also suggests that reading is still important. The main point, though, is that parents and others should stop thinking that video games are all bad and appreciate the value they bring to the child.


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