PIDP 3250 Video games

Video games have come a long way since I sat down at a computer to play Donkey Kong.
It’s been deeply ingrained in us for the longest time that too many video games are bad for our brains. We’ve all had it drilled into our brains by the ‘experts’ and the media AND OUR MOM’s. Too many video games are bad for kids. Or is it? This fascinating and interesting Ted Talk is about brain training and how video games can have a positive effect on the human brain. How do fast-paced video games affect the brain? Cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier discusses how video games, even action-packed shooter games, can help us learn, focus and, fascinatingly, multitask. At her lab, her work shows that playing fast-paced, action-packed entertainment video games typically thought to be mind-numbing actually benefits several aspects of behavior. Her lab now investigates how video games can be leveraged to foster learning and brain plasticity.
I am one of those parents who worry about my children spending too many hours playing video games. I would much rather see them reading a book or playing outside with friends. I worry about the addictiveness of video gaming. Rapid changes in technology, and the exponential growth of the video game industry, make the already tough job of parenting even tougher. As a parent, I need to decide whether or not to allow my children to play video games, and consider ways to minimize any potential negative effects of playing video games.
I found it interesting that the average player age for playing video games has steadily increased to 33. I am relieved that numerous academic studies indicate that playing video games has many psychological and even physical benefits. Positive studies tout improving hand-eye coordination, stimulating imagination, and improving cognitive thinking. Studies have also suggested that video games can improve motor skills, relieve pain, improve eyesight, improve decision making skills, and provide therapy for mental illness. But can these same benefits be better achieved outside video game play in pursuits such as sports, arts, music, hobbies, and other creative endeavors?

One key point gained from the video is that many of the negative aspects of video games are tied to excessive play and that games are best in moderation. Too much of anything is not good and video games are no exception. As a parent I need to avoid excessive play and set up firm time limits for games.
I appreciate that I need to do more research on the benefits of video games. I need to change my thinking about the value of video games. I need to stop thinking of it as something less valuable than other activities that involve learning, and stop feeling that it has negative effects on my children’s brain. With the gamification of education on the rise, I need to embrace and find the good in them otherwise my children may be missing out on the benefits they have to offer.


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