Computer games positive for kids

A national study in the US has concluded that computer games foster social interaction and civic engagement and that there was no evidence that they incited users to violence.

Full article on : http://whyhealthy.blogspot.com/2008/09/computer-games-positive-for-kids.html

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red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
6 hours 48 min

I'm a gamer. My first console was an Atari 2600; after that I had a Nintendo NES, then I passed through a gap without playing videogames until I bought an Xbox. I buy a new game roughly once every two months.

I think that with games, as in everything else in life, if you go into excess it can become damaging.

I think of myself as a non-violent person, and yet I enjoy First-person-shooters (go figure), and I'm aware that after 4+ hours of play, your level of adrenaline gets too high and you become kind of irascible; specially if you're frustrated because you couldn't complete the level or kill the boss. I can easily spend an entire weekend sitting on my bed and playing a game; and I know that's antisocial —maybe it wouldn't be so much if I was playing online, but in the end you're alone in your room.

Playing with another person alongside you is a fun experience, even if you get killed ;-)

The biggest problem is that parents are not familiar with the games their children are playing; and also that most parents are biased in what they consider objectionable material. For instance, my 6-year-old nephew has seen a lot of movies that are clearly intended for teenagers and grownups, but since there's no nudity and sexual scenes, my sister thinks it's ok! So a little kid is exposed to a lot of violence since an early age, even if that violence is faked or portrayed in a world of fantasy.

My sister is a psychologist, BTW.

When my little nephew comes to my house I don't let him play my games. Alas, it's not so easy with my other 13-year-old nephew. I restrict him of the games that deal with drug violence and more realistic settings, but I can't do anything when he wants to play Prince of Persia or Ninja Gaiden. Nevertheless, I do think he can make a distinction between 'fake violence' & the 'real violence' of the news programs.

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It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie

Kathrinn's picture
Member since:
10 August 2004
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8 weeks 2 days

Exactly what social interaction occurs to a youngster who sits alone playing computer games?

The only Xbox game I've seen being played (by a friend's 7 year-old) completely appalled me. After choosing your weapons, the more people you killed, the more points you scored. What sort of social interaction is this?

Maybe these games are okay for adults who have learned to separate fact from fantasy, but I strongly disapprove of them for children.

Probably I'm just old-fashioned but that's my opinion.

Regards, Kathrinn

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
6 hours 48 min

Maybe we shouldn't focus so much on the First-person-shooters, but on other games that are entertaining and non-violent (at least, not bloody); like Spore, the Legos Star Wars Trilogy, the Sims, and many other Nintendo games.

If you have a pre-teen kid, the best think you can do is buy him/her a Wii. An play with your kid too!

But I totally disapprove parents who let a 12-year-old play Grand Theft Auto; although I sympathize because I know the "if you won't let them, they'll play it anyway with their friends" argument. I've heard it too.

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It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie

Carol_Noble's picture
Member since:
3 June 2008
Last activity:
2 years 45 weeks

I agree that young children should not be allowed to play violent games. They do foster a blase attitude towards violence, and many can't tell the difference between playing and living the game situations! Remember the film regarding the toy factory? In that they had children playing computer games but the computers were actually linked up to robot soldiers who were killing people in the outside world. I felt this was a very important point being made at the time, but I can't remember the name of the film, or the person who was the leading role - the one who played Mork! My mind does sometimes create little black holes where thoughts wander in to and take time to come back out!

Yet, computers can be helpful, if used correctly. My son is now in his twenties, and is severely mentally disabled. He has learning difficulties, dyspraxia (co-ordination difficulties), and autism. We found that it helped him a lot to play very simple computer games, like pacman, and from their he progressed onto a lot of other games, of all kinds. He also surprised us by learning to play chess with my husband, and is not a bad player, certainly better than me! Without the computer game he would find life a lot more difficult to deal with, and some games, internet interaction, communications, have helped him to come to terms with what is around him. He even met his partner who is now his carer in their rented flat via the internet. She lived in the south of England whilst we live in the North East. They wouldn't have met otherwise.

Having said all that, there is one game I am enjoying immensely, Stronghold 2 Deluxe, about knights and kings fighting battles and creating little towns/castles. I admit that I am addicted to the game - another side effect - but despite that I do sometimes feel for the little people in the game, especially when I send in fire wagons. It is possible to watch the fire spread, and the people inside the buildings, or nearby, get burned. Their voices also can be heard crying out. This always gives me a shiver, and I wonder if this life is just a computer game, similar to Stronghold, and if the fires are there because a player outside our universe has insisted on a fire being created! Foolish, perhaps, but if I didn't feel something for these "pretend people" I would soon become immune to the sufferings of other people in my own world, something I never want to feel.

Carol A Noble

red pill junkie's picture
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12 April 2007
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Quote:

I felt this was a very important point being made at the time, but I can't remember the name of the film, or the person who was the leading role - the one who played Mork! My mind does sometimes create little black holes where thoughts wander in to and take time to come back out!

You mean, this movie? Yes, it was almost prophetic, or maybe someone at DARPA watched it with the kiddies and thought "Hey, that's actually not a bad idea after all!". And it only took them 10 years to have tweens flying missions into enemy territory with these deadly toys.

I'm ambivalent to that technology. On one side I can obviously understand how the parents of these young men and women would prefer a machine to be on the front line instead of their children. But on the other hand it to totally dehumanizes the concept of war —even though I'm realizing "humane war" is the biggest oxymoron ever!

Scientists have discovered through MRI scans that players often find "dying" in a video game as enjoyable as winning (the pleasure centers of the brain fire up just the same as when the player competes a level). A good game designer must know how to get a good balance between the satisfaction level of accomplishing feats in a game, and the frustration of a game that challenges your abilities but keeps the experience interesting. So that's kind of disturbing if you translate that to the war environment.

But of course, not every game is about shooting stuff! How about Guitar Hero or Rock Band? Maybe the risk in those games is of a different kind, in that your kid would rather skip law school and pursue his dream of becoming a rock star ;-)

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It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie

Carol_Noble's picture
Member since:
3 June 2008
Last activity:
2 years 45 weeks

RPJ

You are right about the film that I meant - Toys!

I also found your information about the MRI scans of players and the results. I have not heard that before.

There are games out there which do not encourage death, and carnage. My other present favourite is Bejewelled 2 Deluxe version. I do best on the time limited one, and others have found it hard to beat me, or even get on the high score board. Yet, when it comes to the classic version I am hopeless.

I always enjoyed Tetris, and other similar games. Limited visuals but great playability, and they encourage the brain to work with co-ordination, visual patterning, and speed. Strategy can also come into some of these games. Helpful, and they have certainly helped my son improve mentally.

Carol A Noble

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
6 hours 48 min

That game is like crack, you get hooked and you won't be able to get it off your back :-)

Bejeweled and Tetris are a fine example that you don't need awesome graphics and a complicated story to make a game entertaining. I think they tap into a very basic element of our brains.

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It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie

Carol_Noble's picture
Member since:
3 June 2008
Last activity:
2 years 45 weeks

"I think they tap into a very basic element of our brains."

You are so right RPJ, that is why I like them.

But strategy games are also enjoyable, as long as they are not pursuing violence for violence sake.

Carol A Noble

earthling's picture
Member since:
22 November 2004
Last activity:
4 weeks 4 days

Nethack is a cool game, and you don't need graphics.

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It is not how fast you go
it is when you get there.