Video Games: Do they hurt or help?

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Today, young people pass much of their free time by playing video games. These video games have come a long way since the days that simple arcade video games like “PACMAN” were enjoyed. The games, as well as the systems on which they are played, are streamlined and sophisticated, with great graphics and sound. In short, they are realistic: sometimes, a little too realistic. This is the first argument against video games: are young video gamers confusing the virtual with the reality?
It seems that the most popular and most played video games contain violence. This has called into question games like those in the Halo series, Call of Duty and Left 4 Dead. In addition to violence, these games also often contain harsh language and adult content. So, many believe that excessive playing of video games, particularly violent ones, can make people more aggressive, leading to inappropriate and often, violent behavior. In fact, there have been stories about teens committing crimes and blaming it on excessive video game playing.
Another problem that people believe is associated with video games is obesity. Today, kids are spending more time indoors playing video games, rather than going outside for physical activity. This leads to laziness, and lack of exercise, and ultimately, obesity.
Though video gaming has been slammed by the media and is often detested by parents, they do have some positive effects. For example, they can develop eye-hand coordination, along with decision-making and strategic problem solving skills. One very popular type of video game is called “real-time strategy.” These games, such as Halo Wars, give you limited space and limited currency to build bases. So, when you play, you have to think. It’s not just “run-and-gun”.
Today, with kids going to so many different schools, video games can connect you with friends you don’t get to see on a regular basis. The Xbox 360 gives players the ability to connect with friends, even if you are not together. When a player goes “Live”, he can team up with or compete against friends who have the same games and capabilities.
Personally, one of effects from video games that I think is most important is that they are stress breakers. Currently, I am freshman in high school and I have gone through many challenges. I can remember many times when a game of Halo: Reach’s firefight mode helped me release some tension and forget about the tough times at school. Think about it, if you were a parent would you want your teen releasing their anger on virtual characters or one of their siblings?
So, in my opinion, video games are a fun way to develop some skills, pass some free time, connect with friends, and relieve stress. Yes, some do contain violence and other questionable content, but if played in moderation, they are fine. Just remember not to spend too much time in front of the television. It is important to stay on top of your other responsibilities and maintain an active, balanced lifestyle. And, most importantly, use good judgment when buying the games. Check out the video reviews and check the rating before you put the money down. And parents please buy games for your kids based on their age or at least, level of maturity! They may want a certain game, but ask yourselves, “Can they handle it?”





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