The Effects of Video Games on the Mind

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Impact of Video Games

The effects of video games on the mind are subject to severe disputes both among professionals and the public, in general. The supporters of video games state that they have substantial benefits especially in the educational context. As young people are highly responsive to video games, they may obtain the necessary knowledge in the most efficient way. Their motivation and social integration may be promoted. The opponents of video games claim that young people tend to become addictive and cannot perceive the external reality objectively. Consequently, they become less socialized, and their abilities for independent thinking and analysis are negatively affected. As there are different opinions regarding the influence of video games, the proposals are also different (from their additional promotion to the complete prohibition of video games).

The current paper examines this problem objectively through integrating neuroscience, sociology, and other relevant branches of knowledge. It will be demonstrated that a class of video games is not homogenous and consists of several sub-groups. The potential area of applications of video games will be specified.

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The impact of video games on the mind is one of the most disputable issues nowadays because it is viewed as one of the sources of the current social dynamics. The supporters of video games believe that people may learn a large number of helpful information and social algorithms in this way. Thus, video games may encourage logical and creative solution to the existing problems (Bavelier 764). The opponents of video games state that violent games necessarily lead to higher aggression. They claim that other games are also harmful because they promote emotional responses. As a result, young people cannot distinguish reality and their fantasies (Ferguson 62).

Both these positions neglect some important aspects of the human mind. Neuroscience has proved that people do not react automatically or mechanistically to any external impulses (Green and Bavelier199). People use their reason and consciousness to make the optimal choice from all available alternatives. Thus, any positive or negative factors may have their effect only if a given individual decides to adopt a particular mode of behavior. Another problem with common arguments in this sphere is neglecting the fact that video games are heterogeneous. The most widespread types include rhythm games, sports games, fighting of different kinds, strategy, racing, etc. There are also a large number of sub-types of video games. In particular, games in social media tend to become more popular nowadays. Different types of games affect different areas of the human brain and have different ultimate effects.

Taking into account all abovementioned considerations, any over-generalizations about usefulness or harm of video games are incorrect. It is necessary to take into consideration the specific conditions of each particular case. The inclinations and objectives of a given individual are crucial. Although the majority of young people use video games for spending their time in an enjoyable way, they may face a number of secondary implications. First, young people tend to become more motivated in the sphere of their interest. Both supporters and opponents of video games agree that young people tend to become highly interested in their games. However, the supporters claim that young people may become more organized in this way while opponents suggest that they may obtain the incorrect perception of reality (Granic, Lobel, and Engels68). The actual consequences depend on people’s ability to organize their time and work rather than video games per se.

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Second, video games typically lead to positive emotions. This fact is also recognized by both supporters and opponents of video games. The opponents believe that young people may become addictive to video games, and all other spheres of their lives may be negatively affected. At the same time, it is incorrect to appraise the choices of other people from one’s personal value scale. The only relevant point in this context is explaining the long-term consequences of one’s choices. However, a given individual should be free to make his/her own choices. The supporters of video games stress the positive fact of emotions from video games and suggest that video games should be promoted in relation to all people. It is also incorrect as the same objective elements may cause different emotions among different people. Therefore, it is unreasonable to impose one’s will and preferences on other people.

Third, video games affect socialization patterns of people. There is no agreement between supporters and opponents of video games in this context. The supporters claim that young people become aware of new forms of socialization and may interact with others in a more efficient way (Ventura, Shute, and Zhao54). The opponents believe that young people tend to become socially isolated from others, and their behavioral patterns may become inadequate to the existing requirements of the social environment. These different perceptions may be partially explained by the fact that these parties concentrate on different types of games. In general, a large number of modern video games contribute to socialization rather than restrict it. The main aspect in this context is an individual’s strategy as video games may be used both as a substitute for offline interactions and as a complementary technique (Kazdin 692). If he/she selects video games as an additional form of socialization, his/her ultimate results may be much higher in comparison with the use of traditional methods.

The impact of video games on the mind is usually examined from an incorrect perspective. It is necessary to recognize the existing variety of video games and their different impact on different people. The subjective utility of video games should be analyzed on the individual basis. No over-generalizations are acceptable in this context. As video games contribute to higher motivation, they can lead to higher organization and effectiveness if a given individual extends his/her mode of behavior to other spheres. Emotional benefits also exist, but they will be neutralized if the use of video games becomes obligatory. The socialization effects depend on an individual’s ability to integrate his/her gaming and offline activities. In general, video games may have a positive effect on the mind if the diversity of games is recognized, and the process of games selection and adoption is completely voluntary.

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