Video Games’ Impact on Society Essay

            Because of too much debate going on about video games these days, it is even hard to imagine that a video game can benefit a child or the society as a whole even for an inch. Parents tell their children to stop playing video games because it is believed to have a negative effect on the kids. Wives tell their husbands to quit playing video games not just because they are already too old for it, but because they are neglecting other duties as husbands because of being too much focused on video games. Girlfriends tell their boyfriends to let go of their play stations and online games because they usually forget their anniversaries.

            Video games drive a society crazy, because it is an addictive tool. The question here is how it affects the society as a whole, and if the effect is either negative, or positive, or if it is even possible to be both negative and positive at the same time.

            An article published by Julian Howey in the website Associated Content dated January 31, 2007 suggests that video games, undoubtedly, have a negative effect on the society. Video games these days are no longer safe for the people who play them, because the games are designed with too much violence. Anyone who plays a video game is bored everytime there is not much blood and gore in it. A video game only becomes popular if it is violent, if there are bloody graphics and there are extreme actions being done (Howey, 2007).

            According to this article, the video games being released these days have adult ratings. Aside from the fact that the ratings are already adult, the effect of video games on the society is becoming worse because of the lack of parental guidance (Howey, 2007).

            Once a video game with adult rating is released, it should automatically mean that parents should interfere. They should monitor their kids when they play the game. They should set a time to allow the kids to play. Parents indeed have an important role to play when it comes to the effect of video games in the society because as video gamers play the game, they automatically become desensitized especially if they play for almost 24 hours (Howey, 2007).

            They become used to violence. They grow accustomed to killings. They think that violence is normal because that is what they see almost everyday, considering the idea that these players play their games everyday.

            What, then, is the impact of parental guidance on the impact of video games on the society? It is simple. The article suggests that video games create a negative impact especially if not guided by parents because the parents are the people who are in the rightest position to tell the video gamer if something is right or wrong.

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            If there are no parents to guide the children, then the child gets more used to the violence seen on the video game. Violent lifestyle is promoted all the more. The child, or the person who is playing a video game, starts to wander in an environment where there is much violence and they start to think that it is normal (Howey, 2007).

            There are extreme situations where video games give the kids an idea about what to do with the little plans they have in their lives. Even an adult who needs to decide on a lot of things is influenced by everything that he uses everyday. An example would be that of a video game. If an adult is confronted with a real life act of violence, then he may be thinking about the video game he just played and think that maybe he can do to the offender what he does to the offender on the video game (Howey, 2007).

            A video game affects the decision-making process of a person, be it a child or an adult. The decision an adult or a child makes under the influence of a violent video game affects the violence existing in a community. It may or may not increase the rate of crime in a society, and therefore may or may not affect the society negatively, depending on the decision of the video game player (Howey, 2007).

            The effect can be seen once a video game player is seen holding a deadly weapon like a gun to protect himself from an offender.

            Aside from that, innocent kids may also think of the normal things at home as something with a potential to be a weapon. For example, a simple barbecue stick can be considered a weapon. It can stab or wound a person. If a child is not taught about what is right and wrong, then he would not know that a barbecue stick is meant only for  meat for barbecuing (Howey, 2007).

            In a more extreme case, the article cited another example of a worse case where the impact of video games on students caused them to kill other students in a particular high school in the United States. In the high school of Columbine, there were students who made a decision to end it altogether. The group of students went to school, all of them carrying deadly weapons and went on killing other students. They even managed to lock the whole school for a whole day so that no one can escape (Howey, 2007).

            There are, of course, still more cases that are even more extreme than the examples. The article suggests that video games have indeed turned the society into a very violent one. In the article, it was accepted that a video game, no matter how violent it is, can never be outlawed. What has to be done now, then, is for parents to know what is happening to their kids, to their lives, and to what is being purchased and used in their everyday lives (Howey, 2007).

            However, another article says otherwise. This article suggests that video games are needed in schools. How can this be possible? According to Huma Yusuf in the article “Video Games Start to Shape Classroom Curriculum” published September 18, 2008 at the Christian Science Monitor, parents should no longer worry if their kids tell them that they need video games because it is their homework (Yusuf, 2008).

            It cannot be denied that electronic games, especially the interactive ones, are useful when it comes to teaching kids some lessons in school. Electronic games are now being used as instruments to teach kids how to solve problems and how to act and think critically. In Minneapolis, a school called Seward Montessori School, teacher Brock Dubbels is teaching students Homer with video games. No, the students are not playing Homer videogames. They are playing Sonic the Hedgehog from Sega. How did this become acceptable? (Yusuf, 2008)

            Kids will understand their lesson on Homer better if they learned it with something that they love doing, like playing a video game. They are not distracted from their school lesson. Why? And how?

            By playing Sonic the Hedgehog, students easily understood Odysseus’s quest. It is as simple as that (Yusuf, 2008). Cincinnati Country Day School’s history teacher Jeremiah McCall is getting a lot of help from letting the kids play Rome: Total War of Creative Assembly while teaching the kids the role of the oldest generals in history (Yusuf, 2008).

            With the help of this video game, the students are asked to compare the depictions of battle in the Rome: Total War with pieces of historical evidence. Because students are interested in the video game, they are given a better of idea of the differences of the battles before and the battles today. They learn more about history more effectively (Yusuf, 2008).

            As a historian, Jeremiah McCall knows that designing a game needs interpretation and gathering of facts and he is having fun doing all these altogether especially if he sees that his teaching methods are effective. The students, on the other hand, could not be more receptive to the interesting pieces of information that could otherwise not be interesting without the videogames (Yusuf, 2008).

            Video games these days are being considered an activity that causes the rotting of the brain. However, in many parts of the United States, teachers are being inspired to use video games as a tool for teaching because they see their students get inspired for learning with video games. Both parties are having fun. That is basically the point and the secret to an effective teacher-student relationship. It is indeed an effective way to teach kids, and for students to learn (Yusuf, 2008).

            Why is satisfying the students important?

            According to Mr. Dubbels who comes from the same university, it is not enough to make only 15 percent of the class happy. It is not enough to make 15 percent of the class understand the lesson (Yusuf, 2008). Fifteen percent is too little a number when compared to the majority, or to the whole class in a hundred percent. Failing the majority of the class is a big no no when it comes to teaching. This has always been a problem in school, not only in preschool, primary school, high school or college. This is a problem in all school levels, and it cannot be denied that a lot of teachers have already failed (Yusuf, 2008).

            Today that technology offers the teachers and the students something that could be interesting to both of them, and something that can make learning and teaching easier, then it is high time we all take advantage of the blessing (Yusuf, 2008).

            What does a video game teach a child? It teaches a child the skills to networking, multitasking and collaborative problem solving. It teaches the child all the skills that can never be taught only through writing on a black board or through a fairly good report through Powerpoint. These skills are what students need to learn because these skills are the necessary skills for the 21st century (Yusuf, 2008).

            Today that we live in a modern world and that we need new and improved skills, we can practice them all if we use the proper tools, like modern electronic gadgets and modern video games (Mcrae, 2008). An article entitled “The Impact of Video Games on Society” by Tegan Mcrae proves the point behind the debate. While the whole issue is fairly debatable, it can be pointless.

            The debate on whether the society has a negative or positive impact on the society is a question as vague as a question of what love is, or of proving the existence of God. There will always be excuses, reasons and concrete arguments, but weighing all opinions will lead to further confusion (Mcrae, 2008). What should be done now is to accept the fact that yes, video games have an impact on society. The impact of video games on the society is not necessarily good. It is also not necessarily bad (Mcrae, 2008).

The only sure thing here is that yes, a single video game has an impact to the player, and that player who contributes to the society surely has something to offer to the community under the influence of the video game (Mcrae, 2008). Let us treat it as common sense. If the video game is a violent video game, then the video game can really increase violence in the society. It can make this world a place that is unsafe for all of us to live in. It is a simply game that can wreak havoc in the society.

            Then again, if the video game is education, then it can help the society breed an informed citizenry. It can create a knowledgeable community. It develops people into people who understand the work of the world (Mcrae, 2008). It just depends on what kind of game we are playing. Generalizing it will only be like blind leading the blind.

            It is simply not possible to say that video games have a negative impact on society in the same way that they do not necessarily have a positive impact. It just depends on the type of video game being played. It depends on when and how often it is being used. It depends on how the players think about it and treat it. It depends on how the video gamer allows it to influence his life.

            There is always individual differences that must be considered, because the effect of video games on the society cannot be described in just one word, or can be seen in one angle.  It has different effects on different people. Collectively, though, it surely has an impact on the society as a whole. Then again, since everything in this world is relative, it cannot be seen as good or bad. After all, there are different kinds of video games. People play in different times of the day. Others deal with video games properly and some do not. If we want video games to have a good effect on society, then it is all up to us to work hand in hand towards that goal.

References

Howey, J. (2007). The Effect of Video Games on Society. Associated Content. Retrieved

November 5, 2008 from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/130477/the_effect_of_violent_video_games_on.html?page=2;cat=19.

Mcare, T. (2008). The Impact of Video Games on Society. Helium Channel. Retrieved

November 5, 2008 from http://www.helium.com/items/388566-the-impact-of-video-games-on-society.

Yusuf, H. (2008). Video Games Start to Shape Classroom Curriculum. The Christiam

Science Monitor. Retrieved November 5, 2008 from

http://features.csmonitor.com/innovation/2008/09/18/video-games-start-to-shape-classroom-curriculum/.

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