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The Harmful Effects of Video Games Vs. The Benefits Essay

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There are many questions about video games and how they affect children. I believe that video games are harmful to children in many ways. Many studies have tried to prove that they are harmful, as well that they are also beneficial to children. It is difficult to understand which argument is the truth behind the research. I believe that the harmful effects are greater than the benefits. The benefits that the children can learn through video games can also be taught to them other ways besides just video games. Video games are not the only way to teach the children values and how to live properly. Video games are damaging the way that our children think and act, as well as harming their bodies by teaching them wrong morals about themselves and others.

The first way that video games are harming our youth is psychologically. There was a study published in the Journal of personality and Social Psychology that children that were playing video games were reported to be more aggressive than those of children that do not play video games. Previous research has documented that playing violent video games has various negative effects on social behavior in that it causes an increase in aggressive behavior and a decrease in prosocial behavior. In contrast, there has been much less evidence on the effects of prosocial video games. In the present research, 4 experiments examined the hypothesis that playing a prosocial (relative to a neutral) video game increases helping behavior. In fact, participants who had played a prosocial video game were more likely to help after a mishap, were more willing (and devoted more time) to assist in further experiments, and intervened more often in a harassment situation.

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Results further showed that exposure to prosocial video games activated the accessibility of prosocial thoughts, which in turn promoted prosocial behavior.( Greitemeyer, Tobias; Osswald, Silvia, 2012) The research also found that children that were exposed to the video games were also did have the ability to control the aggression. The children see the horror and the violence on the games and believe that it is proper to act the same way when they get angry. The children cause fights and can harm other people. Another effect that video games have on children is their ability to pay attention. The children that play the video games are only focused on the games. It can become an addiction to them. They do not feel that anything else is important in life besides the games. The children lose track of everything that is important and feel that the games are the only thing that is important. The children also lose the idea of socializing.

They spend some much time playing games and isolating themselves away from other children or people, they do not learn how to socialize and learn to deal with other people. The video games are also harming children physically as well. Children that play video games do not get the exercise than a normal child should. Children sit and play games for many hours a day. A regular child should have 60 minutes or more a day to be healthy. When a child is playing video games, they are not receiving that exercise. When a child does not get the exercise they need, weight gain is a problem. Obesity is already a major problem with children these days, but video games just add to the problem even more. The weight gain can cause many health problems in children. These problems with children can contribute to future health problems. Weight gain also teaches the children unhealthy habits that they will continue as they get older.

The children do not see that being healthy is important. They grow up and continue to not worry about their bodies or being healthy. Research has documented negative effects of video games on children’s physical health, including obesity, video-induced seizures, and postural, muscular and skeletal disorders, such as tendonitis, nerve compression, and carpal tunnel syndrome. However, these effects are not likely to occur for most children. The research to date suggests that parents should be most concerned about two things: the amount of time that children play, and the content of the games that they play. (Gentile, PhD, 2000) Eye problems are also a result from video games. A child sits and watches just the game for many hours. The games cause the children to strain their eyes. The eye strain can cause headaches, discomfort, fatigue, and blurry eyes. If a child plays games for a long time, the games can cause eye focusing problems.

Playing video games for extended amounts of time can cause children to experience many of the same symptoms seen in computer vision syndrome in adults. Extensive viewing of the game screen can lead to eye discomfort, fatigue, blurry vision and headaches. Kids seem to become so engrossed in video games that they forget to take breaks. Prolonged game play without significant breaks can cause eye focusing problems, as well as eye irritation. (Bedinghaus, 2008) The children’s eyes are delicate and when playing games for a long time, the eyes tend to not want to focus well on other items. There are ways that people have argued that video games can be beneficial. The first argument that they have is that the video games teach the children about strategic thinking and planning.

The games teach the children quests, which the children have to learn to get through by planning out the routine for the game. There are reports that stated that children that played video games, the children’s math, reading, and spelling improved. The games have many side shots that they have to read. The children learn better reading from reading all the shots in the game. The children also learn better spelling by all the reading that they have to do in the game. The math skills are better because the games have many different goals to earn and to count how to get there in the game. Video games also teach a child simulation, adventure, and role-playing. They learn the role-playing from pretending to be other people in the games. They learn adventure from all the different kinds of games and their themes.

There are also many career opportunities for when they get older. The children can be game designers and game programmers. So there are some benefits for video games. Even though there are a few reasons to believe that video games can be educational to the children, there are more reasons to believe that the games are harmful to the children. The video games cause psychological and physical problems with children. So as some of the results might say that gaming is beneficial to children. They should be controlled on what they play and how much they are in contact with. Children are learning bad behaviors and harming themselves without even understanding the thought that they are doing anything wrong.

Children are children because they need to be taught how to live and do things right. When they have other factors telling and showing them violence, horror, and harmful ways to live, they are going to start using these factors and living them. Video games are harmful to children and should be considered very closely when letting the children play them by monitoring the types of games that the children are playing, as well as the amount of time that they spend playing the games.


Bedinghaus (2008). Video Games and Vision – Video Games May Cause Vision Problems in Kids. About Vision – Eyes and Vision Problems – Eye Health – Vision and Eye Care. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from http://vision.about.com/od/childrensvision/qt/Video_Games.htm Computer games – health issues | Better Health Channel. (2012, September 11). Home | Better Health Channel. Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Computer_games_health_issues

Dr. Phil.com – Advice – Children and Violent Video Games. (2012). Dr. Phil.com. Retrieved October 7, 2012, from http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/297

Gentile, PhD, D. A. (2000). Pediatrics for Parents. Pediatrics for Parents. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from http://www.pedsforparents.com/articles/2791.shtml

Greitemeyer, Tobias, Osswald, & Silvia (2012). Effects of Prosocial Video Games on Prosocial Behavior. American Psychological Association. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=search.displayRecord&id=993617CC-95FF-E099-47CA-8791DAA7640B&resultID=1&page=1&dbTab=pa

Iowa State University (2011, May 22). Video game effects on kids: Not all black and white, expert argues. Science Daily. Retrieved October 18, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2011/05/110510101504.htm

Why Video Games Are Good for Your Kids. (2012). ReadWriteWeb – Web Apps, Web Technology Trends, Social Networking and Social Media. Retrieved October 7, 2012, from

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