The debate has been going on for longer then most of us can remember. Are video games horrible, destructive wastes of time or are they simply fun games to pass some free time? Sometimes it breaks down between the different generations, older generations tend to have more people that feel that video and computer games are a waste of time, while the younger generations have more that adamantly protest that video games are great and hold no harm whatsoever. However, often the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Are Games Bad?
There are many complaints against video and computer games; they are violent, they take a lot of time, they might cause health problems, etc. Many of those common complaints to have some grounding in truth.
There will always be games that involve too much violence for the taste of some. However, no one forces anyone to play a game they don’t enjoy or want to play. As an adult you have the choice of what games to pick, if violence is not your interest then keep looking for a different game. If you are worried about your child playing games that are too violent that can be easily fixed by being an active part of your child’s life. Before you give your child a game, research it a bit. Even if you don’t have time to really research it thoroughly you can ask others. If you are buying from a game store there is a pretty good chance that someone in that store could tell you if it is appropriate for a child.
Games are not always a waste of time. Games can teach people sportsmanship, and reflexes and even give an individual a “safe” ground to test their courage. However, like many other things in life, video games have the potential for misuse. To many fans games are an escape, which is fine if done in moderation. Taking ones mind off their problems for a short time can help them better deal with those very problems. The real issue comes when a person loses interest in returning to real life. And why would one want to return? Life’s rewards are often small and not very frequent. One may work in their job for many years before receiving a significant raise or promotion. However in the game world levels or rewards can be reached in minutes or hours. Game makers are in the business of getting someone to return to and not leave a game. They depend on you enjoying the game to keep their jobs, and everyone needs some sort of work. One Microsoft game researcher even uses the B. F. Skinner Behaviorism research of getting mice to press a lever to get their food, as an example of getting gamers to continue playing a video game. As long as a game keeps giving you small rewards you are more likely to stick around to keep playing. Just like in a game of chance like gambling at slot machines, one tends to not want to leave because the next move might bring in the big reward. Some games, especially internet games, have started incorporating the potential loss of what you have worked hard to get. Your crops may die, your buildings may degrade, all things you have spent time to create and potentially real money to obtain, lost just because it’s been a while since you returned to the game.
Avoid or Not?
Well if you have a tendency toward addiction, you might consider not getting into most video games. However, for most people who usually do not have a problem knowing when to say enough, games are not only fine to indulge in but can be very good. If you enjoy a game, it is the same as any other enjoyment in life. Everyone needs something in their lives that helps them unwind, relax and have fun. Just remember that games are not the only way to have fun, try to have other hobbies and activities that you enjoy, then you can alternate between the different options, thereby being less likely to overdo your time on a game.
If you are dealing with a child wanting to play games instead of doing other needed things, now is the time to instill in them the ability to know when to stop, knowledge that they will greatly need when older. Just demanding your child not play games tends to not do well in the long run, instead make an agreement with your kid. If they work on homework for an hour, they earn thirty minutes video game time. If they do the preset chores or practice instruments then they earn time playing games.
Video games can be beneficial in building reflexes, learning limits and helping players relax and have fun. However, be certain that the game is of content that is suitable for the player, that you know when to take a break and that you are certain that any money put into the games are of a fair value in exchange for the enjoyment you will receive from the game.