Children today spend hours in front of the television playing video games. Video
games were first introduced in the 1970s, but it wasn't until the 1980s that
they became very popular. A recent study shows that the two most preferred
categories are games that involve martial arts and sports. If we take a look at
some of the games available, we will see that many of them have violence as the
What makes these games so popular? According to experts,
these games allow children to be destructive without fear of being reprimanded.
Recent psychological experiments have shown that playing these violent games
stimulates some degree of cruelty in children and adults. It increases
aggressive behavior. Another effect of the violence in these video games is that
it can desensitize children to violence. It can give them the idea that violence
is an acceptable way to deal with problems and conflict.
However, not everyone views video games negatively. Some people believe that
it is better for a child to actively play video games than to passively watch
television. Speculations have also been made by some professionals who claim
that by playing video games, certain children can develop a sense of proficiency
which they might not otherwise achieve. Some video games have educational value.
Some programs are designed to allow children to explore different places or
environments while others are developed to teach and drill specific facts or
As a leisure activity, playing such games can be fun, challenging, exciting
and it is also a part of a `kid's world'. When a child owns a PC or a video game
system, it opens up opportunities for him or her to invite other kids to play,
therefore enhancing or forming friendships.
So, what can parents do? Parents should limit playing time as well as monitor
their children's game selection according to developmental level and game
content. While playing video games is fun, it can be
addictive. Thus, it is important for parents to draw the
line. Take them outside and involve them in other activities. Set aside a
quiet time for reading. Parents should also set the example. They should not use
video games as babysitters. Parents and professionals should also seek creative
ways to increase the acceptance, popularity and availability of games that are
relatively pro-social, educational and fun.
In recent years, computer games have attracted much attention. There have
been questions raised on whether computer games have had negative effects on
children or whether society has overreacted. Thus, the potential effects should
be looked into.