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POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF VIDEO GAMES The video game technology, like most technologies, has changed drastically in the last few years.

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Introduction

POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF VIDEO GAMES The video game technology, like most technologies, has changed drastically in the last few years. Arcades may look much the same on the surface as they did a decade or two ago, but the games have become far more violent, sophisticated and addictive. When one visits the video arcade it is not surprising to see children pointing and shooting something that looks suspiciously like a real weapon. If Pong - or, for that matter, Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers - is one's point of reference, one needs to think again. What one assumes about the benign, outdated games of the 1970s and the 1980s, even of the early 1990s, the research regarding them cannot be considered valid as video games put in the market in the last five years. It is a whole new world, and it is evolving at a rate that is hard for parents to keep pace with (Funk. Jeanne 1993). How fast a rate? Consider this: During the last two decades interactive video games have emerged as one of the most popular forms of entertainment, particularly among teens. According to the non-profit organization, Mediascope, "Globally, annual video games revenues now exceed $18 billion. In the United States alone, video game revenues now exceed $10 billion annually, nearly double the amount Americans spend going to the movies. ...read more.

Middle

Repetition of movements and the hand-eye connection are invaluable for learning most skills. And especially with children, hands-on learning is usually a lot more fun and interesting than the alternatives. It is precisely this that makes interactive video games so potent a learning tool. As researcher Patricia Greenfield points out, "Video games are the first medium to combine visual dynamism with an active participatory role for the child. (Provenzo, Eugene. 1991). Video games have the distinct advantage between itself, the television and the movies - it lets you put your hands on it, aim and fire. Thus, it is really no surprise that violent games are very habit-forming. Parents interviewed are alarmed at not just the violent images in the games, but the amount of time their children spend playing them. It proves how effective these things are. More than 60 percent of children report that they play video games longer than they intend to play. The interactive quality, the intensity of the violence, the physiological reactions, all serve to connect the player's feelings of exhilaration and accomplishment directly to the violent images. And "good feelings keep the player wanting to play. Countless parents try desperate to keep video game play within certain time limits, but it's a huge challenge ... a parental battle they so often lose. Once kids get hooked, it's difficult to unhook them. ...read more.

Conclusion

The opportunity is there for those who utilize this exciting capability. Indeed, technology continues to grow at record-breaking speeds. There has never been anything like this unprecedented level of change throughout human history. Technology shows an unbelievable level of improvement as time goes on. What we need to do is to properly assess which of these technologies have an enormous increase in our and positive effect on our children's lives. In the end, all these makes life interesting for those of us forced to keep up. So, with all the evidence to suggest that these games are dangerous - that they are modeled after military killing simulators, that they are super violent and graphic, that the user is rewarded for killing, and that kids are playing with these games way too often - and for too long - it is particularly egregious that they are being marketed to kids, and marketed in ways that highlight all that is bad for them. What kind of message does this send? Perhaps it is best said by another on-line ad for Kingpin that gives us a good picture of what lies ahead. "The Creators of Redneck Rampage are about to bring you a new, urban drama that finally proves that crime pay." (Kingpin: Life of Crime). As we ourselves tolerate these games and even label them fun, we are also telling our children that slower-paced, less emotionally arousing screen fare is boring. Arouse instead of awaken; excite instead of examine; splatter instead of study - this is what we're telling them. And they're listening. ...read more.

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