This subject is one that crops up with tedious consistency whenever the red tops are having a slow news week.
In all honesty, it palls when you consider that even the most violent videogame doesn't even come close to something like the Saw or Hostel movies. Flick to the entertainment section, and the same newspaper is giving these gory movies four stars.
All violent videogames are now rated. A violent game will usually have a 15 or 18 certificate on the front of the box. If the parent still buys it for a 10 year old then the fault lies with the parent.
This is stating the obvious, but it bears repeating. Would these people sit their child in front of Silence of the Lambs? Probably not most of them.
Then why buy them a copy of an 18 rated game?
People will always want to find a scapegoat for their own mistakes. This is nothing new. If someone doesn't like their child playing violent games, then they should check the cover and make sure they don't buy it.
As it probably blatantly obvious by now (if not check my profile) we have a large number of kids, computers and games!
How damaging a game is is really down to parental control. Now by parental control I don't mean buying a game in the right age range. Real parental control involves some trust, a parent actually playing the game first to assess it and a modicum of common sense.
Just like everything else gaming can be dangerous. Ask your selves this: Would you leave you child to a random stranger? Well like it or not, especially on MMORPGs, this is going to happen.
I'm a active parent - I play Guildwars *with* my children, I've assessed lots of online games and only when I am happy does any game get installed on their computers. Even then the younger ones are not allowed on those games unless either myself or my other half are online there too, or we have time to keep a eye over them. We don't permit computers or games in their bedrooms.
In very essence every game is a privilege and a responsibility to be earned, from both child and parent.
Admittedly our primary interest in games outside of MMO's is the educational value of the games, usually ensuring atleast 2 - 3 clear educational premises before purchasing.
A game, like a knife is always dangerous in the wrong hands or those of someone who pleads innocence to what can be rather nasty.
Better a wary parent than a idiot who shoves their kids infront of the electronic babysitters hoping they don't turn into mindless zombies...
I thought I might add a bit more. We actually got a commendation from my sons psychologist - now I'm going to be quite open and say my ex was violent - and my son had a lot of issues and resentment to work through about his father, however we (my current partner and I) taught him to play Dungeons and Dragons and we played with him in Guildwars and a few other games, and the whole 'ethos' has taught him rather valuble coping mechanisms via role play. Also that violence on a computer does not mean violence in the real world. We hevily promote the ingame "violence" as a replacement for those anger issues as you dont get arrested for killing a dinosaur of pixels.
But these coping mechanisms don't get taught without parental influence and guidance, so yeah, plonking a kid in front of... say GTA for 4 hours on their own will probably influence a kid to hijack a car or murder.
I was walking home from the pub last year on a Saturday night, that relentless freezing winter really biting in England. I cut across the local park to shorten the journey and more importantly to avoid the drunken rabble at 1am in the morning. To be fair the park is rather notorious for 'incidents' and you need to be a bloke and aware of your surroundings to make the trip in the dark. I wasn't drunk and I choose this route because it's reasonably well lit and you can see your enemy and so, more importantly, have time to react. The fog was swirling and no one menacing should be out in the minus two degrees.
Most people who have problems alone at night are usually jumped by drunks and gangs of thugs looking for trouble, not a lone 16-year-old kid with an axe. As I reached a lit area where a side road meets the park there he was, full chav trackie and the scarf around the face, asking me the time but on me before I could bolt. I've been mugged before and new what was coming, twice in Africa and twice in the U.K, but you don't expect a cool and collected kid with a hatchet in his jacket. For a split second I thought he was going to do me, the guy out of his head on drugs. But instantaneous fear turned to a relief of sorts when he coolly asked for my phone and wallet. The kid didn't seem to be on drugs and the fact he was alone made it even more worrying. How could he know how I would react? I didn't argue with the terms & conditions of the transaction, hence writing this today. If I had bolted for the tiny space the axe has only one target. He said he would do it if, the axe now high over his head, Dead Mans Shoes style. He was confident as he had clearly had successes before using this method. With a knife then at least you can parry the first blow. I have beaten off a knife wielder before in America but this guy seemed too sure of himself and so well capable of doing bad things. Once the transaction was completed a gap opened up and I was gone into those dark open spaces that hadn't protected me like I had planned. Over confidence was my downfall and will be his one day soon.
Now I don't hate the guy as I don't know the guy. But what I do know is he was the cliché mugger you hear about in the news. To me the scary thing was the sheer bravado of the act. He was under 18, calm and alone, carrying a f**ing axe under his tracker top. This was South London gang initiation stuff, not a Northampton chav! Ok, you expect weapons like that to knock over a post office or a jeweler, but some bloke in a park? So with that in mind you do wonder where they get this confidence from to do such stuff, and I for one believe watching violent video games and movies is all part of it. These kids are in bad family environment from day one; their family's cut from the same cloth, and yet more grief when they step outside onto those sink-estates.
Back in the house they are soon on the Playstation or watching DVDs, watching and then blowing sh*it up, Grand Theft Auto style! The films are as violent as the games. Its non stop chaos and violence in their lives and they begin to believe they are those indestructible characters from those iconic street war games. I have watched Steven Segal get out of much tighter scrapes than me in the movies but at no point did I believe I was ever going to kick the axe out of his hand. The question was did the kid see me as another character in his video game ora movie? I really believe he did. I don't think he is calculating the consequence of his actions, distanced from that by the violent world he swims in, but thta bravado comes from somewhere. He simple gets home and logs out and then reboots in the morning. He was the violent character from the video game or the thug from Back to the Future. When I was a kid no one wanted to rob you because they have been watching Pacman or Michael Winner films all night. Saying that I don't fancy being chased around the park by those munching yellow and pink balls.
The new millennium has bought us a more violent Britain, our ludicrous immigration policy and that Afro-American gang culture being embraced by white working class 'yooff', the only show in town in the criminal classes, the video games and street thug movies playing out the scenes they will soon practice for real. These kids are up in the bedroom playing and watching these things for all hours, carrying it on when they are forced to go to college so to pick up their £30 attendance allowance and are soon playing the games in the college's computer suite all day. And if they aren't in college they are on New Deal and playing the games on those courses terminals. Anyone on either of those courses can confirm my thoughts. It's a constant diet of violence that shapes their lives early on.
Now I'm sure there are parents of nice kids that play the games and watch violent movies in their bedrooms, but the difference is you good parents and so the kids use the games to let off any frustrations from you or exam pressure rather than use them to build it up. If a violent person with ADT is playing Far Cry all day it isn't exactly calming him, or indeed her, down. And of course completing stages in the game by killing pixels and people offers some sort of reward in a world which these kids probably have no achievement.
These movies and games are clearly allowed because the industry is so huge and lucrative. When we were kids it was films like The Texas Chainsaw Madness and Driller Killer that were the taboo item and you always knew someone who had seen a pirate tape but never the real deal. They were never widely available to kids. But now ober violence is everywhere and available to all on these games and no one seems that concerned, a petty cinema style certification the censors only offering. These kids should be smoking a spiff listening to Hendrix or Floyd in their bedroom, not learning chaos. If you want the real deal then join up and go to Iraq and Afghanistan, a chance to be man not a coward.
Another aspect to this is its far easy for feckless parents to give their kids video games or movies to keep them occupied than sitting down with them to help them do their homework, just as it is easy to bung toddlers in front of cartoons when their brains are sponges. The health effects are not great either, eye and back problems sure to be bigger issues in ten years time than they were ten years ago. 50% of your close vision has gone by the time you hit 45 and staring at screens will surely add to that deterioration. I know my back is worse than it was when I do my writing at the desk, not helping the chances of me deflecting an axe.
It's like kids and pornography on the internet, they so addicted and desensitized by it they really do believe their first sexual experience will be with two women with plastic breasts (it's over-rated). I think we are becoming more and more our online personas and stuff like Facebook and ciao dictates our lives. Yes there are positive movies and games like those brain training ones and the Sim games etc but there not the ones the young impressionable kids want. SO yes I do feel teenagers from tough backgrounds bought up in violent areas are increasing that simmering hate by watching violent movies. they dont want to be Bruce Willias anymore but Gruber. By watching violent video games and mixing that in with violent movies it takes them over the edge and so they eventually tumble into their pixel worlds and become the bad guys.
Sadly this subject crops up in newspapers and in online polls every year and becomes a subject of debate for all of two days until the next big subject comes along for us to complain about. It usually comes after a young person commits a crime and the parents blame it on video games.
Now in my opinion video games are only considered to be harmful when parents arn't doing what their supposed to do and allow their children to become miscreants. Yes some video games portray violence/anti-social behaviour as acceptable but most children can understand the difference between right or wrong.
To look at this from a different angle computer games can be harmful to a child eyes, if sat looking at a screen for too long regardless of 15 minute breaks, it will take a toll on their sight, then again a parent should tell their children to stop playing them. What gaming does give to children is good hand co-ordination, a good start for IT skills and the ability to improve problem solving skills. Sad as it sounds it is also a good thing for conversation for kids, what games they have, cheats, how to do this level, socially they can be good too.
Nowadays video games are wide spread in homes, from handheld games to larger consoles, so long as parents look after and perhaps make sure they don't play them too much, the video games won't be harmful. With the increase in both parents working in a family, kids may mildly neglected, which is why some may keep their child busy with a console... or two. Call me contraversial if you will.
Sometimes part of me wishes more parents would play them, so that they could relate to their kids better.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years you will have noticed there has been a significant increase in children and adults alike using Computers, Laptops and the wide array of games consoles that there are on the market at the moment.. Xbox 360's, Wii's, Playstation 3's, and so on.. If you don't have one in your house you are one of the few people who don't.. Up until very recently our house was one of few that didn't have a games console.. That was until I bought a Wii, got bored with it because the family refused to play so sold it and bought a Xbox 360 elite...!
The government always seem to be suggesting that the use of games consoles and computers are becoming the downfall of our population. They seem to be suggesting the next generation of doctors, nurses, and scientists are going to be more interested in playing computer games than their jobs.. That and being morbidly obese of course.
Seriously though.. Are the computers and games consoles all to blame?
I mean look at the way the streets are today, I would like to see any parent feel safe letting their child go out onto the streets and play.. Look at the amount of knife crime and general abuse that they could b subjected to during their time out there.. Surely it is safer to know exactly where your child is? In the room where the computer or console is.. You can drop in on them see exactly what they are doing and relax in the knowledge they are safe.. Is that not better than being out with thugs and whoever may be out in the street?
Video games for years everyone has assumed are bad for children, making them more violent and act in a way that is not polite whether it be in school or at home with family. Maybe so but I think it also depends on how you bring your children up. (I'm not a parent so I'm not preaching about ways to bring up children - I promise.)
Some parents simply let their children do as they wish without a regard for their safety or what they are influenced by. I have a prime example of that in my neighbours father is a convicted thief and addict and he has two teenage children.. I won't go into details but you can imagine how that has worked out..
Then there are some parents who monitor what their children do.. I mean some limit the amount of time their child plays or has access to this type of material. Giving them less exposure to violence.. Even despite every effort psychologists believe that some children have personalities that are naturally violent.
So is it honestly the video games or psychology?
I think it's neither..
If you are going to be influenced you will be.. It is your choice.. Children can always be disciplined against this kind of behaviour!
What do you think?
Today, you can find computers in almost every household.
Am,I the only one who thinks children spends too much time with their nose pressed against a monitor these days,whether it's computer games or generally on the computer,and not enough going out into the big world?
Sometimes I have a hard time peeling my son away from his chair.Started to think if he spends much more time on it,that he will become a right loner.Computer games and television can lead to such an addiction that they have no interest in hobbies, no time for buddies, no appetite for real food.
While it is true that computers can be used in developmentally appropriate ways beneficial to children, but they can also be misused.
The fact that a child enjoys playing on the computer is no cause for alarm as such,but being on it constantly can even effect school work.I have decided that my child can spend so much time a day on the computer,so that I know he is properly enjoying and concentrating on other things around him.Obviously children needs computers for school work,and this is fine.
Computers have become an addiction to most people including us adults,and we don't realise how much computers have become a big part of our daily lives.
On the day GTA IV was released to a new generation of would-be gangsters and virtual criminals, the people responsible for GTA's creation, Rockstar, were asked if they thought their product was in anyway responsible for a culture of violence becoming more prevalent in today's modern society amongst youths and teenagers. No, they replied, because GTA was an adult over-18's game aimed at that audience and was quite open about the dark and controversial themes it represented. It does not try to hide behind schmaltzy cartoony characters- it does exactly what it says on the tin. It is all about a world where being ruthless and the meanest thug on the block is the only way to survive.
They have a point. Surely there comes a stage where parents have to take responsibility and, for me, that has to start when the mum or dad allows their child to play an 18 game that clearly has a big 18 on the front cover!! GTA and it's imitators have nothing in them that cannot be found in any hollywood movie; the only difference is you control the action not some director on a six-figure sum.
A few years back, there was a horrendous murder in which the video game, MANHUNT, also produced by the makers of GTA, Rockstar games, was heavily implicated in the press. Instantly there were calls to have it banned and its sequel still waits in limbo after opponents to it got their way. BUT, AND I CANNOT STRESS THIS STRONGLY ENOUGH, A SENIOR POLICE OFFICER CONNECTED WITH THE CASE STATED THERE WAS NO FIRM EVIDENCE THAT THIS GAME HAD IN ANY WAY INFLUENCED THE MURDERS ABOVE ANY OTHER GAME!!! It was just that this was one of the games the perpetrator had played and the press had sensed a story like sharks smelling blood in the ocean.
In fact, the press have as large a role as anybody else when it comes to making a very big mountain out of a mole hill!!! In the eighties, video nasties were to blame for provoking children to violence before that it was heavy metal music like Black Sabbath. The media and the public it seems, always need a scrape-goat!!
Now I'm not saying that they violent video games don't have an influence because I am sure they do, but I do think the strength behind this argument is over exaggerated and the call should be not to ban video games and stop healthy adult-playing gamers from their enjoyment but to look at punishing the parents who let their children play them. A friend of mine who is a mum let her 14 year old son play THE GETAWAY (a GTA clone set in London) but he didn't like it so she sold it to me. This was rated 18 and when I played it I saw why!! There was much racial language, swearing and violent behaviour that was all in context of the setting but which shouldn't be played by a 14 year old. When I told her this, her response was all his friends had played it!! When my daughter is older, I am very sure I will be vetoing what she is exposed to better than that. I am fully aware you cannot stop what they see outside your own home but, under my roof at least, she will not be playing or watching anything I deem to be unappropiate or unseemly. My violent games will be firmly locked away I can assure you.
There is actually evidence to suggest that some video-games are benefical. In small doses. They can help children to develop spatial and problem-solving skills whilst still providing enjoyment. An example of this are the TOMB-RAIDER games that heavily feature puzzles that must be solved to advance through the game! These are very family-friendly but there are lots of other titles out there that are equally as challenging yet at the same time fun!! Ideallly, children should also play outside but everyone knows this is a bit more risky than when we were kids with a higher prevalence nowadays of sexual predators! Yet again, I believe this notion is down to media scare-mongering sometimes but thats a seperate issue!!
People ask me why I want to play games where I can go round killing people in grisly ways aka MANHUNT etc but the truth is it isn't really any worse than watching a paticulary grisly horror movie or reading a violent thriller like Karin Slaughter's Blindsighted whose opening scenes are glaringly gruesome. The fact is, I am old enough and mature enough to come to my own descision about what I wish to be exposed to. Youngsters need a little discretion and a little parental guarding so that they cannot be exposed to anything that might not be deemed acceptable in any other media form.
I guess it all comes down to your own mind at the end of the day. I think like any other tool, video games can do as much good as they can harm. They can promote friendly competition in 2-player games; they can also promote working together to achieve mutual benefits in co-op modes where two people can play the same game simultaenously and, as mentioned, they can help influence lateral thinking that could help them to perhaps enjoy math puzzles a little more and problem-solving in general.
But like 18 rated movies or violent, scary novels I think parental guarding has to play a role. These games are labelled 18 for a VERY good reason. Can they affect kids behaviour- yes I think they can.
But I also think that there are plenty of other areas where we need as parents to exercise caution. There are books, films and the internet which all also need to be supervised and I think video-games should stop being used as the ultimate tool of the devil!!
Some games can be violent like manhunt and should be kept away from young children but playing a violent video game isnt going to turn a goody to shoe kid into a multiple murder and personaly i like video games. in fact i am going to make a company that makes video and in fact very violent video games. Most games that are violent enough to affect a kid there parents will NEVER let there children have. And further more those two kids who murdered people, were kids, and were addicted to the game DOOM were just coincidences. thats all i have to say.
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It is like saying is TV harmful to children.
First of all lets talk about violence in video games. Violence is used as entertainment. It existed in old fairy tales, in modern books, in movies and in TV programmes. Blaming video games is unfair. Some violence in video games is unrealistic and is there to entertain.
I am not defending video gaming industry. Numerous studies have found the following pattern in children who played games:
disrespect of teachers
decline in school grades
The above problems were found in children allowed unrestricted access to video games. For most 5 hours a day is minimum playing games. First person type video games could affect children as well as they identify with one particular character in the game. Bad character will result in harmful imitation.
Parents should take some basic steps to stop their child from becoming a human zombie.
Read about the games before purchase.
Dont install video game system in their bedroom.
Talk to your child about games they play
Monitor internet activity.
Video games are entertainment but dont let your child play for too long because that is where problems start.
Computers are a useful educational tool they can teach children a lot, and the knowledge they can gain is a real boost for a child knowing they can use a computer. My son at seven knows how to get onto the internet and print pages out. I dont let him loose on it all the time, there are certain times he is allowed on the computer and I tell how long he has got left before he has to come off, and he always does. I am lucky in the respect he loves reading and drawing, and he does get bored with the computer. He does occasionally play computer games, but I am the one in control and tell him when his time is up. My son always tells me about what computers his friends have got, what games they have got, so on and so fourth. I went to visit a friend recently and her son had a PSP and he tried to let my son have a go, my son changed the subject and got his friend to play another game which did not involve the computer, my son later turned round to me and asked why he couldn't have one of those and I just explained computers stop children from learning, and he ahs never asked me since. If I ever was to get a computer it would be the computer and the games I wanted him to have, and it would be on my terms.
What I will say is computers can be an educational tools as well as a menace a lot of people don't have the time to spend with the kids so they let them play on these things thinking it is a substitute for them not being with the child, its a sad fact of life. I would rather my son did homework with me it the mornings and after school and everything stops when my son has to do his homework, once he has finished he is free to do as he pleases providing it is within my boundries.
It is a difficult balance for parents. Video games generate more revenue than movies. Companies behind these games lure children into playing their games because games coming out now are very good. Competition and interest drives some children to spend hours playing game of their choice. What do the parents do? Keep the child happy or switch off the game console and have the little person sobbing.
There should in theory be a mechanism which switches off a game after it has been played for a while. Parents can decide how much their child plays. Although to be fair to everyone it is not only the children who play video games. Kids from 80's and 90's who played games have grown up and some of them have produced children. Who do you tell off the father or the son, even mothers are pushing those buttons.
Games have taken over from other entertainment mediums like the TV. Internet has pushed the boundaries further. Virtual worlds exists where membership age could easily reach 80's or even 90's. Other sites have popped up where gaming has become a community. New way to socialise and pass time.
Video games benefit children and at the same time it is a curse. Benefit comes from strategy and visual scanning, both of these activities gives brain food for thought and believe it not children gain intelligence. Curse is lack of mobility. Too much time in front of TV could also damage eyesight. Moderation if possible is the way to go about.
As you all know i'm a gamer. I love games! I have four consoles and two handhelds and I usually play games a few hours during the week as i'm busy during the week. But at weekends, i could play games all day long. But this review isn't about me. There's one question i'm asking here....
'Are videogames harmful to children?'
That's the question I'm answering today. Parents, News shows, governments! What do they have in common? They think Videogames are harmful to children, but they are wrong. It's not the videogames that are harmful to children, but it's the children that are harmful to themselves. Why do i say this you wonder? Well I'm about to tell you.
Videogames are a global phenomenon. I play them, most of you play them, people around the world play them. There's no denying that videogames are popular, especially now as the next-gen consoles, Xbox 360; Wii and PS3, are out now and people are buying them. But there's one problem that parents seem to bring up. They think videogames are harmful to children and i disagree. It is not the games that are harmful, it's the children themselves and sometimes the parents. Some of the videogames out there are quite violent and get adult ratings. Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt, Deus Ex, Psi-Ops, Suffering, Twisted Metal:Black-all of these have 18+ ratings due to graphic violence, strong language or horror.
Yet, most of these games are really popular, like Grand Theft Auto is one of the trademark series in gaming and the game's formula is copied countless times. But this is perhaps the most adult series ever. And even games that are rated 15+ can be just as violent as 18+, like Resident Evil 4; Silent Hill; Timesplitters:Future Perfect (which has tons of blood) and much more. The issue I'm bringing up here is that some parents say that videogames are harmful to children. They say that violent games influence children to do things that are of the same nature. I completely disagree on this. There are many reasons why i say this.
Perhaps my main reason for disagreeing is that why did the parents buy the kids in the first place? Age ratings are clearly placed on the game cases. If you looked at the case for Mortal Kombat:Shaolin Monks or 50 Cent:Bulletproof you could clearly see that it's an 18+. So if you can clearly see the age rating, why did the parents buy the games for them? So as far as I'm concerned, if the parents brought the game knowing that it's violent and the kids kill someone because they copied it off the game, then that's their fault and they shouldn't try to stop people who aren't crazy like the people who copy acts off the game.
My next reason is that if the kids copy moves off the game, it's the child's fault not the game. The game didn't brainwash them to shoot someone with a shotgun. If the kid copies a move off a game, then the kid is obviously not ready to play videogames yet and is a little wacko. They obviously think that games are real and they can copy moves off it whenever they want, which isn't the case and people who are responsible and do know that games aren't real shouldn't be punished for the actions of the irresponsible people.
Lastly, if children copy violent acts off the game, then why are they even playing videogames. If they're playing videogames while thinking they can copy moves off the game, then that means the parent is quite irresponsible and needs to tame their child. To be honest, if they don't know their child cannot play a violent videogame without killing someone like the game, then they need to get to know their child a little better.
But it's not all the parents fault, as why did the children even want to play the game. Well websites and television can cause some of this. If any of you have been to gamespot and go into the top 10 PS2 games of all time, then you'll see what i mean. Some of the games are harmless, e.g. SSX; Gran Turismo 3 and Burnout 3:Takedown which have all gotten 3+ if I'm correct, but if you look closer at the list you'll see three Grand Theft Auto games; God Of War; Resident Evil 4; Metal Gear Solid 2:Sons Of Liberty and Twisted Metal:Black. If you haven't noticed, these are all violent games with ratings of either 15+ or 18+. And yet, Gamespot have give these games scores ranging from 9.3 to 9.6 which can influence children to buy these games.
Television commercials do often show trailers of recently released videogames and, like film trailers, these make the games look awesome, which can also influence children to buy them. Plus OPS2 is giving the GTA games 10/10 which doesn't help, as well as many other violent games. But don't blame TV and the Internet for this issue. Like i said before, the parents can easily say no to the children and stop them buying the game.
To be honest, i find that films are worse. Videogames are computer animated, but films are more 'realistic' looking. While games can look a bit realistic, thanks to next-gen graphics, movies have always been realistic. Movies aren't computer animated, and actors try their best to make the deaths as realistic as possible. Plus all the sounds, blood and other stuff are all realistic, as the blood in videogames is computer animated and the screams are recorded and might not sound as realistic. So if, for example, a child was watching 'Green Street' i think that the film would make the children go and beat someone up more than GTA would make a child go chop up someone with a chainsaw. This are more of a problem in my opinion.
But there's another issue with videogames. People blame games for turning us into couch potatoes and lazy fat people and, unfortunately, this is kind of true. Games only involve you using your fingers to hit buttons to do things on a big TV screen. This isn't very healthy, and if you're playing games you can't exercise, making you unhealthy. But there's one thing i have to bring up. Can't people control themselves! Surely people can take a break from playing games and take a little jog or go swimming or something to get fit, but if people can't do that then that's their fault as far as I'm concerned. But the Wii can get you healthy as it's motion controls involve you moving around and waving your arms like a lunatic, though it's still pretty unhealthy. And hey, watching TV is just as unhealthy as playing games if not unhealthier as you can eat at the same time.
In the end, Videogames are only harmful to children if they can't handle them. If the parents buy violent videogames for their children and they kill someone copying moves off the game, then it's the parents fault as far as i'm concerned. The parents can clearly see if the game has an adult rating, and they can easily say no, so i don't see any excuse on why they can't stop their child playing a violent videogame.
But the whole couch potato thing depends on if you can be bothered to take a break off games and do some exercise. If you just play games for the whole day then you'll become unhealthy and gain weight. But if you take a break and go for a jog or something of that nature then you'll be fine. In the end, it really depends on what type of person your child is as to whether videogames are harmful to them.
Thanks for reading.
When I was a child there were no such things as Gameboy Advance (GBA) and PlayStation Portable (PSP). The closet you could get to a handheld console, was electronic games such as Munch man, and Kevin Keegans Football Challenge, which is only two of the titles that come to mind at the moment.
These handheld games and I use the term handheld loosely were state of the art. Basically these games were probably about the size of anything from a sandwich plate, to a laptop. You sat with these games on your knees and used both hands to control the game. I had many happy hours playing these games throughout my childhood.
I was also the proud owner of a 128k Spectrum and again had many fun filled hours playing the likes of Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy and Outrun to name only a few.
Even though I was fortunate enough to have these handheld games and a computer, I didnt spend every waking moment on them. I admit I would have maybe an hour or so in the evening, but it would never interfere with my schoolwork. I would also go shopping most days after school to help my mum. In the summertime I would go to the park and meet up with friends or go to the cinema. It would be only after this, that I would play my computer games.
My dad also had a computer (an Amstrad) and he had a few games for that. We would spend some evenings taking turns to play games on it.
Fast forward twenty years and we see that there are many games consoles out there, such as PS2, Gamecube etc. Handheld games such as GBA and PSP are also quite common. It also seems that the majority of homes have a PC. Video games are now a lot more popular and more available than they used to be.
It seems to be that now some children get home from school and sit in front of their PlayStation for a few hours, only stopping for food. Homework is then done late at night when children are tired, or rushed first thing in the morning before going to school.
Children going out to the park to meet with friends seems to be not as popular as it was when I was a child. When my husband was a child he would be out on his bike with friends. We are both in our early thirties and it seems that people of our generation used to spend a lot of time out playing. These days, children would rather sit in front of a computer than spend time socialising.
I will admit that in our house we have a PC, a GBA and a PS2. I admit that I do like playing on the PlayStation, but not for hours on end and not if I have other things I should be doing.
Things are greatly different now to when I was younger. Whilst my dad never had an issue with playing games in front of me, because the worse you would be doing is shooting down space invaders, I cannot do the same with my children.
The types of games that I enjoy playing on the PlayStation are along the lines of Silent Hill and Resident Evil. For those who have never played these games, they can be considered as quite violent. One of the Silent Hill games has you walking around with a length of lead piping as a weapon. When you are attacked, you end up repeatedly bashing some monsters skull. Again with Resident Evil, you walk along a deserted corridor and a bunch of zombie dogs jump through the window at you, or you are walking through a village and shoot zombies and out of their heads come some horrible monster. These games dont frighten me (much!), but I know where to draw the line regarding fact and fiction. I know that these games are exactly what they are just games. I would never dream of playing these in front of my 4 year old son. I wouldnt play these games in front of him in ten years time.
Whilst we as adults can easily draw the line between fact and fiction children cannot. Whilst some older children know that the survival horror games are just games, there are others on the market which are not so easy to write off as fiction. There are games available where the idea is for you to bully your classmates or steal a car. Some children see these games and think that it is ok to copy them.
There is a good side however to children using computer games. I know that as parents we all love to spend time with our children. There are occasions when we have to do things, such as cooking where it is better to have them sitting down playing a game for a while. I would much rather my son sit down and play a game for 20 minutes when I am cooking than him running through the kitchen and getting burnt.
Video games can also be educational. If you take a look at Windows Vista for example, you could say it was slightly kiddie orientated. They have a games section on there called Purble Place. This section contains three games for children. The three games basically revolve around colours, shapes and matching up like tiles. As we were lucky enough to be able to trail a copy of Vista beta, my son was able to have a look at these games. He would spend about 30 minutes playing them, because it was matching up like tiles etc, he was developing his memory skills and hand eye co-ordination. He would b allowed to play for a maximum of half an hour and considered this to be a treat he earned for being good through the day.
Whilst I dont see anything major wrong with children playing computer games, I think we as parents need to be vigilant. We need to make sure that the games our children play are suitable for them. I think that we need to have a look at exactly what sort of game our child is playing. Just because the box says the game is suitable for three plus, does not necessarily mean that it is suitable for your child. We also need to bear in mind that some games do contain language which children will hear whilst playing the game and in turn use themselves.
I think we also need to ensure that schoolwork is done before playing games. It is much better for a child to spend an hour doing homework and then playing games than spending four hours playing games and doing homework at ten oclock.
I believe that we should encourage our children to spend time outside playing, as it encourages social skills and exercise.
I think that games can be good for children in moderation as it can help them understand how to use a computer and give them a bit of an advantage when they go to school. Computers can also make learning fun.
Thanks for taking the time to read my review, Cath. xx
I am a computer games player, and been so for many years now. This discussion topic is an interesting one, because it has and will continue to create powerful debate. First of all it is imperative that we establish what the word harmful means. Using a strict dictionary definition we could say that harmful means to cause or is capable of causing harm, whether that is an injury, damage, or other hurt. If you believe whats written in certain national newspapers, then videogames are pure evil and most definitely harmful to children, and a form of entertainment that should be banned with immediate effect.
Scientific research does not satisfactorily help us answer the question posed. Some studies find that bad behaviour in children can be caused by violent games, whilst other research states the opposite, and go on to suggest that games can be good for children. Therefore it is best to draw on personal opinions in search of an answer. At the outset I would like to point out that games can have really positive effects, and can be seen as not harmful at all. If you play a party game (such as Buzz: The Big Quiz) with the whole family it can only help bonding. Equally, going round a friends house to take part in a multiplayer game can facilitate socialising. Furthermore games are a fun activity, and can lead to much happiness for children. In addition, some puzzle games can really get the brain working, and challenge youngsters to find solutions.
If children start bunking off school to play the latest games then clearly this is harmful because their education will be adversely affected. However, it is parents responsibility to ensure this does not occur. I have never come across a game with advertising slogans readings bunk off school; play this exceptional action game. Similarly parents have the responsibility of not buying inappropriate games. Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt and God of War for example, have 18 certificates for a good reason; they all contain adult content. You would not allow a young child (at least I would hope not) to watch 18 certificate movies such as Saw III, Sin City or Kill Bill Volume 1. As a general rule, I suspect that parents respect the age certificates granted to movies far more than those given to video games. Too often I read of staff working in videogame stores stating how certain parents bluntly refuse suggestions to purchase Lego Star Wars or Ico because they are seen as kiddie games, and opt to buy 18 plus games for their children. Such parents are very much misguided, and I would advise all parents to check the content of a game before letting a child play it. If they do not then they run the risk that videogames may be harmful to their child, because the content may cause upset. Subsequently, if children play the games suitable for their age group, no harm should come to them.
Another way that some say that games are harmful is because sitting down and staring at a TV screen leads to laziness and an obese society. Then again, a child could read William Shakespeare for five hours each day every day, but no one would describe reading the mastery of one of the greatest writers in history as harmful. In my opinion it is about doing things in moderation, be that playing computer games, football, rugby, swimming, chess, watching TV and so and so forth. Therefore children have to ensure they play responsively, and not some ludicrous 15-hour sessions for four days running. I am prepared to give the vast majority of children credit, and suggest most will know when enough is enough and take a break from a gaming session. Once again for any children who do not know when its time to turn a videogame off, then parents should be there to intervene.
A real concern for me is games being banned or toned down due to controversy (Germany is a case in point). For example before the recent game Canis Canem Edit (initially known as Bully) was even released or much was known about its gameplay, some high profile people, especially in the US wanted it banned. Personally I think that this is preposterous. Game developers should have the freedom to create games of their choosing, whether that is an ultra violent free roaming adventure game, or a puzzle game with cheesy music. After all, I have played videogames through childhood into adulthood, but never have they been harmful to me. I do not go around hitting old ladies, and am well adjusted. In conclusion we can answer the question in the following way: Playing computer and video games should be a great way to relax and have fun for many children. Nonetheless, if young people play games aimed at adults or play excessively, then this has the potential to cause some harm. My argument would be that this harm will not create a horde of mass murderers.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed
It really does depend on what this means to be honest. It can affect your social life-games are addictive. And it can affect your health from lack of exercise and staring at the screen a lot. But I think the main ways that it can harm a child is because of the violence, and education.
I play many games in my life so would know myself, but to be honest each individual has a different temperament so some kids will be affected worse than others, and, in short, I think it depends on your upbringing. Gaming may seriously affect you if you live in a bad environment, but if you live in healthy surroundings then it can be a great hobby and a time-waster.
~A short history of games~
Gaming is becoming more and more popular. Over the years developers have had bigger budgets on games, better software to work with, and generally, due to it becoming very popular, is being treated more of a movie business now. Nearly every child I can assume will own a console, with me myself having worked my way through the Mega Drive, GameCube, Playstation 1, Playstation 2 and the more recent Wii. I have noticed though, that with this increase in graphical ability etc. games have got more violent.
When I grew up-it were the days of the SNES and Mega Drive. Mario was the 'mascot' of Nintendo and Sonic was the SEGA mascot. Although there were some violent games like Mortal Kombat, they weren't as graphical. With worse graphics, violent games weren't quite as scary. Additionally, Sonic and Mario were the mascots-and that pretty much shows that it was the times of none-violent games, with Monkey Island and other pretty funny or light games. If you mention the GameCube-the first thing now said is Resident Evil 4, and for Xbox and Playstation-Grand Theft Auto, Halo and other scary games are mentioned. Or worse, Manhunt, a game that was even banned in the UK until they released a slightly less violent version.
Basically, games are getting more violent and popular. And what has sparked off my review is that the EU wants a crack down on violent games with a recent game getting banned. However, I have already said games are getting more like movies, and movies are violent.
So games are getting more violent. Resident Evil 4, Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt are probably the most publicised ones and a few might have heard of Rule of Rose, a recent banned game, though not unexpected. In games like Grand Theft Auto, you can actually just go around and kill people randomly. In Resident Evil 4 you violently kill people with shotguns, or they kill you with a chainsaw, and in manhunt you play as a murderer and you actually hear his thought in the headset you can plug into your Playstation 2. Creepy. My friend has played this game and loved it, and it really did have mixed ratings. Grand Theft Auto is one superb game-the free-roaming is absolutely superb and the missions are pretty good. Resident Evil 4 is also extremely good. Violent yes, but good. Yet I am a pretty well rounded kid if I say so myself and after playing these games my urge to kill is extremely minimal. Ok, none.
Though for some reason, I think that a child who has had a bit of a worse upbringing or uncaring parents may think different. Manhunt makes great use of the headset, but if some children or troubled teenagers listened to a murderer's thoughts whilst killing people with wire around their neck or suffocation through paper bag, I doubt they would be as adjusted and just take it as a game.
An example of this could be a child who was getting bullied. He picked up his dad's shotgun to scare them, and, thinking it was not loaded, fired at his cousin as a joke. He has been playing Grand Theft Auto. The Reservoir Dog's game has been criticised for far worse violence, such as cigarette to the eyes, and one game gives you the ability to swear at people whilst beating them up. A great example for kids growing up. I had Sonic the Hedgehog and Crash Bandicoot
It just shows that it depends on what childhood these children have had. My friend, who has many violent games, though extremely weird, is not violent at all. Which I think backs up my theory that it depends on the temperament of the child.
But are games really that much of a problem. As I have said I think they may be a harm to children, but this may be because they are playing games beyond their age rating. I have 4 games that are 18 and one that is 15 which I think should be 18. One I brought myself and the other lot (except the 15 one) I have traded with my mates for, most of which they brought. I have been rejected twice to buy a 18 rated game but they are different in stores like GAME which I have found in all stores but one-which the staff tend to be unfriendly and don't seem to mind. That's not all stores but it shows how easy is must be for some kids to get their hands on which will lead to children playing violent games and effecting their minds.
However, why games? Personally I think movies are far more violent and will affect children's minds far more. Sure, games have got more violent, and whereas I am happy playing Monkey Island, and am not a fan of too many violent games (only the ones with good gameplay like GTA and Resident Evil 4), movies go far more in depth. In games you may here the scream of someone and see blood, which will only get more graphical with the next generation of games giving more realistic graphics and even facial expressions, there has always been violence in movies. And worse, in movies killings are drawn out far more and it is acted out so there are no 'graphics', but to children-seems realistic. Deaths and murders last absolutely ages in movies, and in games the body disappears after a while. In movies, it's killing after killing etc.
And many children pay to watch one movie yet go to see an 18, and as many stores will also sell 18 rated movies. They are far worse a problem.
However, gaming can't be a help and I am sure the recent 'chav culture' of Britain will not be helped by them playing violent games and watching violent movies. I think that to be affected by them you will have to be troubled in the first place though so although I am sure they will be a harm, there are far worse things and getting a child to play a game.
Gaming really can be a bugger on education. Throughout my GCSE's I brought two games and completed one due to lack of self restraint, and revision to be honest. Though I still did extremely well. I got a Wii about a month ago, and successfully managed self-restraint throughout my recent AS level exams that have just ended today. The only bad thing is if you play them too much. Until I reached senior school I didn't overly-game, but since I have got my PS2 I have acquired (for other consoles too) over 100 games and have really played them through. I have played many games for far over 50 hours, and some for short periods of time. I game a lot basically, and my collection is impressive. Yet not only was my GCSE's good but I am writing reviews about them on the internet. For me, they had no doubt helped-games like Monkey Island and any other games with puzzles challenge my mind, and my interest in them has got me to come here and review them so that can't be bad. As a child though I was read to and did read a lot so most people will not do that now and I can understand if their education goes suffers. But it doesn't take a genius to do your homework and revise and if someone has any self restraint then it won't affect grades much.
I am unique because not many teens decide to review, and not only has my time on dooyoo been fun but I really have benefited. I feel my grammar and vocabulary has been improved and to some extent, my maturity.
Once again, you can't classify everyone and generalise. If you game none stop and don't revise then obviously grades will be affected. But children become just as addicted to TV, so there is no problem. A problem only occurs if there is no self restraint, and some parents can jump in and warn children about exams. I will admit though that the Wii did act as quite a procrastination machine over the Christmas holidays.
It depends on the child. If a good child who is well adjusted socially and has grown up in a healthy environment plays games then it won't affect them. They will either be uninterested in the overly-violent games or just know that they are games and nothing more. And it works the same for education. Playing games throughout your school life is common and a little self restraint isn't too hard if you think throughout it 'Two weeks of none gaming, just revising will affect my future positively'. After my exam today, first thing I did was come home, check to see any unfinished work, and then play my games.
The problems come in if a child has had a bad childhood and is not well adjusted. I think it is only then that people copy violent games and let it affect their education through addiction. Gaming takes up a big part of my life and I am not violent, along with many other gamers I know, and, like everything, just don't do too much of it. There are far worse things parents can worry about-drugs for example. There is no point on an EU crack down on violent games since it will accomplish little. Violent games don't create violent kids,movies would do far worse damage.