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We Asked Kids What They Think About Video Games

We Asked Kids What They Think About Video Games

With all the video games on the market we thought it would be interesting to see what young people have to say about them. Here’s what 13-year-old Raymond and 11-year-old Leona had to say.

PROS

Gamers Versus the World: The Benefits of Playing Video Games

By Raymond Chase Portis, 13 years old

One fall day in October of 1958… Some parents might call it doomsday, others call it “Oh Happy Day!” What happened on this day, you may ask? The first video game called Pong was created by physicist William Higginbotham. Higginbotham’s invention six decades ago has sparked a debate as to whether video games are good or bad.

Many people look down on gamers. Whenever others hear or read about video games, they imagine a group of teenage boys wasting their time playing games. But what if you were told that these gamers, young and old, male and female, could be reaping benefits while playing? Studies prove that playing video games has many benefits, such as improving memory, reducing stress and helping dyslexic kids read better.

Video Games Help Memory

In 2013, German researchers conducted a study during Super Mario 64’s release week to determine if playing video games would be beneficial for the brain. They asked 23 adults with an average age of 25 to play Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day for two months. They compared the gamers to another group that did not play video games at all. After the brains of the two groups were examined using an MRI, it was determined that the gaming group showed increased size in brain regions responsible for ability to find one’s way around an environment, memory formation and systematic decision making.

Video Games Reduce Stress

Another benefit of playing video games is stress relief. In 2014, scientists at the University College in London discovered that there was a direct link between how many hours people played action video games and how fast they recovered from a stressful workday. They also discovered that the gamers were able to handle stress better the next day. If there is something that has been bothering you and you have been wondering how you can temporarily forget about the problem, maybe you should consider playing a video game.

Video Games May Help Dyslexic Kids Read Better

Finally, two studies revealed that playing video games could help dyslexic kids read better. One study of 10-year-olds who played 12 hours of an action video game found it improved their reading speed. This increase in speed was equal to a child developing their reading skills over the course of a year. Another study examined ten children who spent nine 80-minute sessions playing a fast-moving video game. As a result, their reading and attention skills improved. But there was no change in the skills of the children who did not play.

So, are you now convinced that playing video games is beneficial? If not, that’s ok… But it is obvious that playing video games is not as bad as the world thinks. There are some great benefits to playing. So, next time someone shuns you for playing a video game, share this info with them and maybe, just maybe, you will gain another gaming buddy.

Raymond Chase Portis is a 13-year-old Canton, MS homeschooler who hopes to become a future videogame designer.

CONS

Video Games? It’s Not Too Late to Quit

By Leona Donskyy, 11 years old

There’s nothing better than coming back from a long day of school and slouching on your couch to play video games. At least that’s what 211 million people, or 67% of Americans think. After all, there are a lot of gamers out there, some old and some young. But did you know that while there are many benefits of video games, there are a lot of detriments, too? Here are a few things you might want to know before you get addicted.

Video Games are Harmful to Child Development

In a study conducted by psychologist Craig A. Anderson, it was proven that children who play aggressive video games often have aggressive behavior. They also have a decreased level of empathy for others. Extensive periods of screen time can also cause vision issues. While playing video games for a short time (one hour or so) does have its benefits, playing for more than three hours can cause computer eye syndrome, eye pain, issues with focusing, and even headaches. This means that if you are playing any more than one hour a day, you need to cut the game-time a little.

Video Games Can Cause Addiction

Many different causes factor into video game addiction. One of the main reasons that video games can become so addictive, however, is that they are designed to be that way. Video game designers, like everyone else trying to make a profit, are always looking for ways to get more people playing their games. They accomplish this by making a game just challenging enough to keep you coming back for more, but not so hard that the player eventually gives up. In other words, success for gamers often feels just out of reach, so they carry on playing. This is how an addiction starts, and once the addiction starts, the game becomes top priority over friends, family, health, hygiene and also who you really are.

Video Games Can Cause Sleep Difficulties

Over 67 percent of gamers reported missed sleep due to playing. A new study found that gamers will push off obtaining adequate sleep in order to continue video gaming. Results show that on average, gamers delayed going to bed 36 percent of the nights they played video games. Watching television or playing video games close to bedtime can act like a jolt of caffeine to players, making them more likely to experience difficulty falling asleep, nightmares, and daytime fatigue, suggests a new study in the journal Pediatrics. The study that was carried out on video games concluded that 28% of preschoolers who watched TV or played video games for at least 30 minutes after 7 p.m. had sleep problems most nights of the week, versus 19% of children whose TV and video-game use took place before 7 p.m.

In conclusion, although video games do have some positive effects, there are some negatives, too. Also, there are many better ways to spend your time, like hanging out with your friends, trying and learning new things (not necessarily school-related), and spending quality time with your family. If you quit video games now, it will save you the difficulty of quitting them later. There’s no time like the present!

Leona Donskyy is an 11-year-old middle-schooler who hopes to stop climate change and plastic pollution which she believes is possible.

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