Negative Effects of Computer Games on Children

Written by jorina fontelera
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There have been numerous studies conducted that show the adverse effects of computerised video games on children. These studies have shown that computer/video games played for an extended period, especially violent ones, have increased aggressive behaviour. Additionally, video games have been found to foster social isolation as they are often played alone.

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Studies done by Gentile & Anderson (2003), Anderson & Dill (2000), Busman & Anderson (2002) and Gentile, Lynch, Linder & Walsh (2004), revealed that computerised violent video games played extensively by teens can make them more aggressive. The games encourage aggressive behaviour because of the violent acts depicted throughout the game. The repetition has been considered an effective teaching method in reinforcing learning patterns, according to Gentile & Anderson. Additionally, the games--especially first-person/role playing types--encourage players to identify with their characters, including violent acts. Says Bushman & Anderson, children who've experienced violent video games responded with increased levels of aggression when confronted in the real world.

Academic Performance Declines, Social Isolation Increases

The study by Gentile, Lynch, Linder & Walsh saw that children who played computer video games extensively had a decline in school achievements. According to Raise Smart Kid, this may be because rather than studying, reading or doing homework, the child is spending her time playing video games. Additionally, these games are believed to not offer children the chance to think independently or creatively.

Because they are often played alone, they could also foster social isolation.

Negative Effects on Health

Video games may have a negative effect on children's health, Raise Smart Kid says. Due to prolonged sessions of being in one position and not going out and playing/exercising, kids may become overweight or obese. They are also more prone to postural, muscular and skeletal disorders like tendinitis, nerve compression and carpal tunnel syndrome. Plus, some of the special effects of video games may induce seizures.

Online Dangers

Computer games that can be played online can make children vulnerable to online predators, Raise Smart Kid says, as they are interacting with people in real-time. They can also pick up bad language and behaviour from the people they meet in online computer gaming scenarios.

Effect on Values

Some of the games also depict women as weaker characters who are helpless and/or sexually provocative or both, the National Institute on Media + the Family adds, giving children the impression that that is OK. These games can also give children the impression that violent behaviour, vengeance and aggression are to be rewarded as nonviolent solutions are not often options.

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