Hannah Linenfelser Mrs. Szumigala
English 1530 Persuasive Essay February 20, 2014
Ever since the release of the original Atari in 1972, people of all ages have been
fascinated by the allure of video games. Recently, the success of video games has been steadily increasing, and younger and younger children are being exposed to all they have to offer. A majority of overwhelmed parents nowadays are simply handing their children video game controllers and allowing them to play whatever their little hearts desire, just to get them out of their hair for a minute or two. But what happens when "a minute or two" evolves into hours upon hours of staring at a television or computer screen? What happens when a child's life begins to revolve around the fabricated world their favorite video games have created for them? As the well known parental scold, "Go play outside" turns into "Go play the Xbox", Americans have to realize that video games are becoming too prominent in the lives of adolescents. There are endless aspects of video games that have proved to be detrimental to the minds, and even bodies, of our nation's youth, and the incontrovertible truth about it must be revealed.
Children and teenagers who play video games face a variety of negative consequences, contrary to that which is recognized by the observant parents who claim to moderate the
situation. There are multiple accounts where a direct correlation between video game playing and harmful affects such as health issues, antisocial tendencies, violent outbursts, and plummeting academic status is evident. (Bennett) Kids all over the world are beginning to turn to video games as an allowable form of recreation, and in the meantime are suffering the repercussions. An array of studies have been conducted to discover if excessive video game playing has had any
significant connection to the overall physical wellbeing of the player. As it turns, it does. Children who play video games for hours on a daily basis are oftentimes practicing in an all around sedentary way of life, and therefore are not receiving enough exercise. This obviously results in obesity in some cases, which is not helpful when already 40 percent of children between the ages of five and eight are classified as overweight in America. ("Excessive Video Game Playing Can Adversely Affect Children's Health.") In fact, high blood pressure is
becoming a more and more common characteristic of unrestrained video game players, and the president of the Mexican Society of Cardiology, Antonio González Hermosillo, stated in a newspaper article that, "up to 40 percent of children who constantly play video games will develop high blood pressure" ("Excessive Video Game Playing Can Adversely Affect Children's Health."). It is likely that proper brain function could also be affected due to the lack of usage of the cerebral, or the part of the brain that allows decisions and judgements to be made (Boeree), when participating in video game play. ("Excessive Video Game Playing Can Adversely Affect Children's Health.") Not only do video games have dominance over the mental aspects of a child's life, which was likely already assumed, but for heavy video game players whose lives revolve around their gaming consoles, there are actual physical complications. Parents can no longer allow their children to play video games for as long as the please and must monitor the amount of gaming time their children receive on a daily basis to ensure that they are also
exercising as much as recommended for someone at their age. If parents do not attempt to do so, it is likely the health of their children will be at hand.
As mentioned prior, video games have been shown to decrease certain brain activity, but when referring to violent video games, the brain can become almost desensitized to the gruesome
killings and beatings that the players regularly witness. New research conducted by Dr. Yang Wang at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis showed that there is indeed an alteration in normal brain behavior after being exposed to a violent video game. (Gordon) Wang said in regards to the tests that were administered, "Clinically, we don't know what these changes mean, but it does affect your brain somehow. The pattern we found is similar to what we've seen in past research, and in adolescents is similar to what is seen in disruptive behavior
disorders" (Gordon). Dr. Wang was also able to analyze that the usage of the part of the human brain that is most directly responsible for emotional feelings and senses of morality was greatly lessened after the subject played violent video games. (Gordon) Extensive exposure to fictional violent scenarios has been proven to increase the chances of brief bouts of aggression or
frightened feelings in adolescents. ("There Is No Evidence Suggesting Media Violence Leads to Juvenile Violence.") One study was coordinated where 257 students attending college were shown real life instances of violent acts after playing a variety of video games for only twenty minutes, and those who played the more violent games were less affected by the gruesome scenes. (Bennett). If simply twenty minutes of unregulated violent video game play results in a sort of numbness for college students, just imagine what that means for young children who find themselves engaging in violent video game play for hours upon end during an average day. Although many argue that it is the mental stability of the child that determines how he or she interprets violent video games, how is a child who has never personally been exposed to any real life trauma going to behave when they experience an act of violence? They are most likely going to find humor in the situation rather than feel remorse or sadness over what has occurred, and
this is due to the daily exposure to violence oftentimes portrayed in video games; a somewhat desensitization of the mind.
To some children and even adults, video gaming is not just a hobby, but a serious obsession. Video game addiction is a very real problem facing the world today. It is overlooked by many who do not view it as a real issue because it seems so ridiculous, but just like any other addiction, people need guidance and support in order to overcome their problem. A certain game that has received a great amount of publicity for its huge following is the online fantasy game known as World of Warcraft. A mother of a World of Warcraft fanatic explained how difficult it was to watch her son spiral downward deeper into his addiction. Her son who was once an obedient and mindful child, progressively changed into an obsessed college student who spent all of his spare time at the computer logged on to the role playing game and eventually began to flunk all of his classes, forcing the college he attended to have to withdraw him from their program. (Wagner) Despite America turning a blind eye to video game addiction, there are other parts of the world that are recognizing how harmful this can be to people, and are even creating organizations to aid those with serious problems controlling their game play time. In places such as China and South Korea, governmental advisors are funding treatment centers and help
hotlines for those struggling with excessive video game playing. (Wagner) It is understood that, for the most part, exposure to a controlled instance of video game play will not corrupt the minds of children, unless of course there truly is an underlying psychological problem, but on a large scale people need to actually realize that there are multiple severe outcomes associated with too much video game play. In many cases, people who play video games regularly tend to be more antisocial than those who do not play video games. Common side effects of video game
addiction are easily comparable to that of other addictions. Overly obsessive habits can develop due to the obsession, lying about how much time the person has spent playing is likely, and even dishonesty, alienation from friends and family, as well as the minimization or overall
abandonment of certain interests and responsibilities that the person with the addiction used to care greatly about. (Bennett) Some people end up failing out of school due to their pure focus on video games and nothing more, and in some very extreme cases, there have been recordings of suicides related to considerable amounts of video game play. (Bennett) Everything that was once so imperative to the addicted gamer now seem to fall by the wayside when the desire of video gaming takes over. Admittedly video game addiction is not as prominent or maybe even as serious as other addictions on a greater scale, but at least recognize that for some people, video games cause serious intellectual disorders. Americans needs to discover the actual extent to which video gaming is considered to be too much for children, and then, we must act upon it.
Video games are becoming entirely too popular in the eyes of today's youth, and the magnitude of influence they have over children is a phenomenal one. It seems as though more and more adolescents are falling victim to the temptation that video games have over them, and this is not something to merely shrug off. The youth of America is suffering from this worldwide epidemic, and in more ways than one. Physical as well as mental aspects of child developmental progress can be damaged, and sometimes the affects are ones nobody, no matter how strong, can recover from. Please understand that video games are not as fun and great as everybody makes them out to be, but that there are serious ramifications that need to be brought to light. Next time a child near you is participating in video game play, stop and take a closer look. Is it just a kid enjoying themselves, or something more?
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Boeree, C. George. "The Cerebrum." My Webspace files. N.p., 2003. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. "Excessive Video Game Playing Can Adversely Affect Children's Health." Video Games. Ed.
David M. Haugen. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2008. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Gordon, Serena. "Violent Video Games Do Not Promote Teen Aggression and Violence." Teens at Risk. Ed. Stephen P. Thompson. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Violent Video Games May Alter Brain Function: Study." www.healthfinder.gov. 2011. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. "There Is No Evidence Suggesting Media Violence Leads to Juvenile Violence." Juvenile Crime.
Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Is Exposure to Media Violence a Public-Health Risk?" Lancet 371 (Apr. 2008): 1137. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 24 Feb. 2014
Wagner, Jennifer Seter. "Addiction to Video Gaming Is a Problem." Video Games. Ed. Laurie Willis. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "When Play Turns to Trouble." U.S. News & World Report 144 (19 May 2008): 51-53. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.