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The Benefits of Video Games

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For a long time, video games have been stereotyped as detrimental for kids. However, many useful benefits that come from playing video games have been neglected. For instance, video games can help people's eyesight, "People who play video games for 5-10 hours a week have better vision than those who don’t. Specifically, they are able to extract small details from clutter and resolve different shades of grey." (Eliana Penzer (Intel)) Video games were invented in the 1950s, but ever since they gained popularity in the 1980s, people have argued whether gaming strengthens or weakens kids. Those quick to judge may erroneously argue that video games harm kids, and that they just serve as a way for kids to misspend their time. In reality, video games can help kids in many ways. Apart from benefiting one's vision, video games help dyslexic kids. Therefore, video games can be an important part of one's childhood. However, video games should be used in moderation, in the same way that one must eat the right amount, not too much, and not too little. Like Socrates pronounced, "Every action has its pleasures and its price." Too much of either video games or eating can cause health problems or complicate someone's life. This is the price that is paid if someone does too much of something. However, just as food gives people energy, in a similar manner video games help people learn special skills. If used in a controlled manner, video games deliver pleasure. Parents should allow their kids to play video games within limits because video games boost kids' intellectual power, aid kids with disabilities, help kids manage their emotions, and do not actually cause violence.

Video games benefit kids because the boost their intellectual power. While some may argue that games waste time, or even rot the brain, in reality, they actually help kids' memories and ability to rise to harder challenges. Video games improve the ability to understand directions and travel around. (Scientist Simone Kuhn) Many games require the player to remember important pieces of information that will need to be recalled at some other point in the game, so they exercise people's memory. In addition, games that ask one to explore places and travel around help the ability to understand direction. For example, in many shooting games, as well as other types of games, the gamer must make their character complete a jumping puzzle, or get across some sort of barrier. These challenges can prepare the gamer for obstacles in real life. This causes the gamer to learn the way to get through the level, therefore enhancing their ability to understand direction. Moreover, "games that require progressively more accurate and more challenging judgements and actions at higher speeds" can help behavior in real life. (Michael M. Merzenich, professor emeritus neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco) Getting increasingly harder assignments teaches kids that things get progressively harder in real life. This teaches kids that they must use things that they learned in the past to complete the challenges as they get tougher and tougher. Kids learn from their previous mistakes in the game, and use what they learn to complete the next level, which gets a little bit harder than the one before. This applies to real life as well, as people must learn from their mistakes to complete the next challenge in their life. Likewise, many shooter video games, including Call of Duty, can help one's eyesight. According to a study done by University of Rochester, "Those playing the shoot-‘em-up games saw a boost in their “ability to discern subtle changes in the brightness of an image." This ability to distinguish these bright patches of light can help with many other tasks such as driving at night. During this study, people played shooter games like Call of Duty and were then tested to observe changes in brightness. They did better than those who played no shooter games. This shows that playing a shooter game can help people's eyesight. Therefore, it would be better for one to play a shooter game instead of doing something else for leisure, because the game serves as not only a fun source of entertainment, but also as a way to improve the ability to do other important tasks. Not only do video games boost people's brain power, but they also help kids with disabilities.

Video games are good for kids with disabilities. Some may argue that video games waste time and make kids with disabilities lazy and less academic. However, in reality, they are actually very helpful towards kids who have disabilities. For example, a boy with autism gained better social skills and ability to open up to the world through gaming. (Chicago Tribune) Not only that, but he also saw archery and Japanese culture in a game, which made him want to study those topics in real life. Video games helped him being more social through multiplayer modes, as he made new friends and opened up to a new social online world. He was also interested in something he saw in a game, which made him want to study it in real life. Therefore, video games push kids to learn by engaging them in interesting topics in a fun way. Furthermore, another boy named Noah Madson had ADHD, and took many complicated tests for long periods at a time. However, now he can play a video game for 20 minutes and parents and teachers "have information that paint a more complete picture of how his mind works. Better yet, his memory and speed might actually get better as he plays the game more." (Newsela) The video game took so much stress away from a boy with ADHD, and now his parents can get even more information without having him struggle. Games are a new testing program, in which kids can have fun and parents can get even more information. Not only do video games aid kids with disabilities, but hey also help kids manage their emotions.

Video games help kids manage their emotions. Some say that video games are pointless and make kids angry, while in actuality, they help with managing emotional feelings. According to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent health, "61.9 percent of boys play to "help them relax," 47.8 percent to "forget their problems" and 45.4 percent to "get their anger out." These boys can avoid being stressed out by their problems, as video games serve as a way to relieve their stress. In addition, instead of getting their anger out in real life, which could hurt someone, they could do it in the game. In addition, after a long day of school and homework, video games relieve kids and help them relax. In this way, video games are like sleep. Both serve as relief from stressful lives. Moreover, both need to be used in a fair manner. Sleeping too much could harm someone, because than they will not have time to do other important tasks in their life. Likewise, spending too much time playing video games could take time away from doing other essential things, like eating, sleeping, work, or school.  Furthermore, according to a study published in Computers in Human Behavior, due to team oriented multiplayer games, kids can learn social behavior and civic engagement by talking about strategy as a way to win their game. The video games engage them and help them want to talk as a way to win, causing them to communicate with their team and work together. Moreover, "Violent games allow youth to experiment with moral issues such as war, violence, and death without real world consequences." (ProCon) With violent games, kids experience things that are restricted in real life. They can learn about wars and violence and other things that if they were done in real life, there could be very bad consequences. Parents should note that violent video games allow kids to act violent in a virtual game, as a virtual character, where no one can get hurt, instead of the real world, where people could get seriously injured or even die. Not only do video games help kids manage their emotions, but they also do not actually cause violence.

Furthermore, video games do not cause violence, contrary to popular belief. Many misguided critics argue that video games should be banned for directly causing violence. However, there is no real connection between the act of gaming and the act of violence. In a court case, Brown vs Entertainment Merchants Association (2011) "the US Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that California could not ban the sale of violent video games to minors." This verdict was made because video games "do not prove to cause minors to act aggressively." (Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until 2016) Many falsely argue that games cause violence, but they actually have no connection towards violence in the real world.  Others may say that video games cause violence in real life. However, "By age seven, children can distinguish fantasy from reality, and can tell the difference between video game violence and real-world violence." (ProCon) Therefore, if children can tell the difference between reality and virtual reality, video games can cause no harm, as kids will not want think to do what they do in a shooting game in real life.

Parents should motivate their kids to play video games because they boost kids' brainpower, assist kids with disabilities with their learning, serve as a way for kids to manage their emotions, and do not actually cause violence. Some still insist that video games are a waste of young kids' time. They fail to mention many affirmative facts about video games that have been neglected for many years. When all facts are looked at, video games have more positive than negatives. Many common challenges that kids face in their day to day lives can actually be solved by playing video games. For example, kids can avoid damaging relationships through letting their anger out at loved ones. Instead, they could let their anger out in the game. Additionally, kids can actually increase their intellect and ability to do many other significant skills just by gaming. Hence, many positive facts about gaming have been overlooked, but now can be the time to act. Letting kids play video games will pay off in the long run, so all parents should start encouraging gaming for their kids. However, if parents choose to ignore these warnings, their kids will certainly suffer through many unnecessary challenges that can be avoided by something very simple, video games.


Works Cited:

Penzer, Eliana. "6 Fascinating Facts About How Video Games Are Good For You."
Intel Developer Zone. Google. 12 June 2015. Web. 24 March 2016.

"Game on! "New study says video games could be good for you"
Newsela. 4 Febuary 2015. Web. 24 March 2016.

Bavelier, Daphne, Green, Shawn, and Gentile, Douglas. "Brains on video games."
PMC. 12 December 2011. Web. 24 March 2016.

Guarini, Drew. "9 Ways Video Games Can Actually Be Good For You."
Huffington Post. Screen Sense. 7 November 2013. Web. 24 March 2016.

Keilman, John. "Video games can be good for you, new research says"
Chicago Tribune. 26 January 2015. Web. 24 March 2016.

"A video game is used to test for brain disorders like attention deficit"
Newsela. 9 August 2013. Web. 24 March 2016.

Van Petten, Vanessa. "Violent Video Games: Not a Scapegoat for Teen Violence"
Radical Parenting. Parenting.Answers. 2016. Web. 24 March 2016.

"Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence?"
ProCon. 23 September 2015. Web. 24 March 2016.

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