UN2001 Research Project – Are Video Games Bad for young Students?

Junyou Huang 2010/8/11

Internet is a “double-edged sword”, and it has the potential for good or evil. In recent years, it has shown more and more super power. Sometimes it plays a very positive role: the campus network construction, online studying and school link project; sometimes it makes scenes of tragedy happen: students are so addicted to video games, they don‟t go to school; students spend days in internet café in China. There is no doubt online video games have a tremendous impact on young students‟ growing, and the question becomes how we treat the impact. Are video games totally bad things, and absolutely harmful to our students; or it can have a positive effect on youths, either physical health or psychological. In fact, a lot of people, especially in China, can only think of its negative part. Actually, video games are just entertainment, it should not hurt anybody and it can help us in a number of ways.

Consider the popularity of video games, Chambers and Ascione had reported that 100% of elementary school and high school students surveyed had played video games (Chambers and Ascione 1987). That was more than 20 years ago. Nowadays video games have already got into the mainstream media, and 1

the rapid internet development has been attracting more and more players.

According to the article “„Internet addiction‟ shocking case” on People‟s Daily, a high school graduate Xiaoyu just finished college entrance exam in July 2006. After that, he spent almost all his time playing online games like crazy, more than 10 hours a day on average, which led to retinal hole (People‟s Daily 2006). Right now, Internet has become an important part of young students‟ lives, especially during summer holiday, and they are inevitably in contact with online games.

David Gentile, the Iowa State University psychologist conducted a study about video games addiction, which said that 8.5 percent of thousands of children ages from 8 to 18 had shown at least 6 of 11 total addiction symptoms (Shute 2009). Because of playing video games, many children showed a series of “abnormal behavior” such as lack of attention, dropped academic performance, love fighting, don‟t want to associate with others and so on.

However, not only these current students play video games, but graduates from high schools and colleges are also the main force. “2007 China Online Video Games Survey”, which released by the Chinese famous game website 17173 reported that nearly 60% of the players‟ age focused on 20s (17173 News 2007). The players‟ standard of education was mainly high school (35%), 2

and most players spent 3-6 hours per day on video games (38%). So many reports from all over the world continue to pass such a message to us: internet has a pernicious influence on children‟s growing. Video games delay students in studying, and those players could not get high education. We all know that situation can be no longer ignored, but are their individual behaviors the only problems?

On reflection, sometimes we put gaming and studying on the opposite side. In fact, game and study can always be combined together. We can recall when we were kids and learning to talk, to walk, to associate with people, to understand the world, none of the knowledge or skills can be learned without “playing”. But when we grow up, the games are more and more replaced by courses. It is only human nature to play games. Children love games as well as adults do. We have to admit that playing is always an enjoyment of our lives.

We should not simply see video games as “demons”. Even though they do have bad effects which cannot be underestimated, we don‟t have to be “scared”. As long as parents and educators can correctly understand and properly guide, we are able to not only avoid the negative impact, but also make them work for students‟ development.

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Video gaming is a new channel of moral education in this information age. Swiss world-famous children development psychologist Jean Piaget stated that everything is a moral system that includes many different rules. The essence of every morality is that individuals learn to follow the rules (Piaget 1932). Every one of the video games have rules, the process of playing games is also a process of following rules. Players‟ compliance with the rules will be extended to daily life.

Video gaming is a way to develop young students‟ intelligence. Video games teach many skills to the developing children such as problem-solving, pattern recognition, hypothesis testing, estimating skills, mapping, memory, quick thinking, and reasoned judgments (Sheff, 1994). Many of these skills are abstract and require high level thinking, which schools do not often teach children. To a certain extent, some of the best games also have high intelligence value. For example, some of the schools used “The Sims” as a geography teaching tool, and produced a good result (Sanford and Madill 2007).

Video gaming is a relatively new content in sports. With the development of society, people are familiar with the concept of video games competition, which is described as Electronic sports (e-sports). It has also been decided to be many countries‟ official sports items and has been evaluated for listing as 4

Olympic sport (Morris 2006). E-sports not only can train player‟s physical coordination, but also has the function of mental education. It can even serve as an outlet for a bad mood (Webster 2009).

Video gaming has all these positive advantages for students. Once we understand this truth, it is not hard to come to a conclusion that young students love video games, and need healthy video games. They look forward to video games, to the virtual world. So educators should accept the serious responsibility, deeper study and research need to be done. We cannot just simply say that video games are harmful, what we need is a positive point of view. It is necessary that parents and teachers can play an active role in young students‟ game selection, gaming or game behavior. If the whole society can treat online games right, handle this hobby well, online video gaming is just a tool of entertainment. Everyone plays and nobody gets hurt.

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Works Cited Chambers, J. H., and Ascione, F. R. (1987). The effects of prosocial and aggressive video games in children‟s donating and helping. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 148, 499-505.

People‟s

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Shute, N. (2009). Is your kid a video-game addict? Health, U. S. News & World Report LP.

17173 News (2007). 2007 China online video games survey. www.17173.com.

Piaget, J. (1932). The Moral Judgment of the Child. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co. (Original work published 1932.)

Sheff, D. (1994). Video Games: A Guide for Savvy Parents. New York: Random House.

Sanford, K., and Madill, L. (2007). Understanding the power of new literacies through video game play and design. Canadian Journal of Education, Vol. 30, No. 2, Boys, Literacies, and Schooling, pp. 432-455. 6

Morris,

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Video

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CNNMoney.com.

Webster, Andrew. (2009). 7 games for a bad mood. Green pixels, IGN Entertainment, Inc.

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