Computer games - to form skills, develop, relieve stress?Computer or video games have long been one of the most popular ways to spend free time. For both children and adults. According to US statistics for 2010-2011, the average age of such a player is 34 years. The majority of players are people aged 18-49. The average experience of a player is 12 years.
Who plays for how long
If we talk about the time spent in the virtual world of gaming, girls in Western Europe and the US play computer games on average 5-6 hours a week. Boys spend twice as much time on this - 13 hours a week. Simple or medium difficulty games are also bought by children aged 2-5. Children spend about 28 minutes playing them every day.
If you think that Lithuanians lag far behind other European countries or the USA - you are very wrong. More than half of young people aged 18–25 in Lithuania diversify their free time with computer games. One-fifth of the players are adults between the ages of 36 and 64. The older generation is also interested in the new technology from the age of 64. There are as many as 7% of them. True, the frequency and duration of such activities are not emphasized.
Statistics also suggest that many parents limit and control the amount of time their child or children spend on video games. Here, the belief that computer games encourage aggression, cruelty, inhibit the development of children's social skills, worsen academic performance, and cause certain psychological problems is influencing. However, parents tend to be more forgiving about watching TV, using the internet or other similar activities, so they are less restricted.
Negative perceptions of computer games began to take shape after outbreaks of student violence and aggression in schools in the United States. Many of these aggressors spent hours and hours at the computer screen, immersed in the world of "shoot-catch", so the causal link seemed quite logical.
Are the fears justified?
Various experiments and studies have begun to discover and prove even more of the negative effects of video games. There have been about 300 such studies in the 40 years of video games. And only in the last decade has there been a major breakthrough, with little interest in the positive effects of these games. More attention is paid to parental communication with offspring, upbringing, rather than the effects of action, stimulation, adventure, strategic, and other games on the child’s development. Psychologists, sociologists, and other professionals from around the world have joined forces to find out if fears about video games are justified.
The first thing that has come to light is that over 40 years of computer games, the number of crimes committed by children in the United States has fallen, not increased. In addition, other conclusions favorable to computer games were reached.
Wisconsin psychologist C. Shawn Green says video games are changing our brains. Just like learning to read, playing the piano, learning another language. Or another example - we all know that sports strengthen muscles. Here, the combination of focused and playing mediators strengthens the processes and connections between neurons in the nervous system.
In many video games, in order to win them, you have to think intensively, look for logical solutions, react quickly to the situation.
Playing computer games with so-called consoles improves motor skills, coordination, and increases the brain's ability to process information from different sources. Human attention to detail improves.
In the modern world, it is relevant that planning develops planning and resource management skills.
Strategy games have learned tactics, flexibility, the ability to respond effectively to a rapidly changing situation.
Realistic action games learned to analyze, assess the situation, make a quick decision. The University of Rochester (New York) community has hypothesized that stressful situations and events in action games (e.g., battles, enemy attacks) have taught a person to deal with unforeseen stressful situations and in real life. Even a special computer project has been proposed to help train soldiers or surgeons. Professionals who must make the right decisions quickly. The same university found that people who play computer games can make decisions by 25 percent. rather at the same time without losing diligence and attentiveness.
What is important for young players and their parents? Playing lavender reading and even math skills. Players are forced to follow the instructions carefully, extract and process the information they need from the text of the game. Mathematical skills are important for winning games, the course of which also depends on resource management. Also in puzzle nature games.
Video games even improve memory, concentration, stimulate creativity, can help learn foreign languages. A player’s social skills, if he doesn’t devote almost all of his free time to the game, should also not suffer. On the contrary. The market today is full of games that connect players from all over the world. They are forced to communicate and cooperate, to cooperate with each other, to look for solutions. Different countries, continents, races and genders focus on one goal and work together. We can say that in this way the level of tolerance for each other is raised. The qualities of cooperation and team spirit are later used in real life as well.
Relieves stress, improves self-confidence
Contrary to previous beliefs, video games often help to eliminate stress, fatigue, quench anger, tension-induced pressure in the mind. It is only because focusing on the goal, performing the tasks, briefly forgetting the surrounding world, worries at school, at work, relaxing the nervous system. This is relevant for those people who cannot or do not like to express negative emotions while playing car racing games.
What’s more, video games help complex, self-confident people gain more confidence. Overcoming tasks, gaining more skills, climbing to higher levels of the game raises self-esteem. Not so sensitive to failures in both virtual and real life.
It is also interesting that not only combat-related, weapons-related, but also advanced educational games are being developed. The latter can teach children healthy eating, help seniors maintain emotional stability and improve brain function. It also introduces people to the problems of climate change or air pollution, and so on
Here is video game therapy at Boston Children’s Hospital. During it, children with anger problems are taught to control their emotions.
The other side of the coin
Of course, computer games also have a downside. Especially when the moderation is forgotten.
Going back to cruelty and aggression, proving the impact of games alone on increased adolescent aggression is quite difficult. After all, many teenagers play computer games. Just like many teens watching TV, listening to smashing music and doing many other everyday things. It is likely that the teenage's emotions, which arose from playing, will persist for some time after the game, but cruelty, anger and aggression, as well as criminal behavior, are far more complex than the expression of computer games.
Social isolation is possible if the player devotes most of his free time and forgets all other existing ways of spending time, including being with friends.
Addiction to games, of course, also worsens academic performance. Children who play for hours receive lower grades and are more likely to conflict with teachers and other children.
The health of the child, adolescent or adult player is also likely to be affected. Snacks at the computer or fast food breaks between games - the first step to obesity. Like a lack of exercise. By the way, lack of movement also causes muscle weakness, diseases of the locomotor organs. Hours of sleep sacrificed for games turn into fatigue, reduce emotional stability. Complaints about lack of attention, concentration, memory problems, outbursts of anger.
Tips for parents
First of all, you probably don't even need to mention - be loving, attentive parents, get to know your child. Choose the most suitable game for him according to age, style features, interests. Constantly remind and encourage your child to engage in other activities - books, sports, art, outdoor games with other children. Before purchasing the game, read its description, pay attention to the age group for which it is recommended (useful information for parents - here), try it yourself. Rate the content of the game, talk to friends about the games their children play.
Play the selected games with the child together.
Limit the time spent on best racing games, discuss the potential dangers of computer games with your child, and clearly state the reasons why you don’t want one or another game to be played in your family.
Observe for changes in your child's behavior or harm to academic performance.