Video Gaming. Who plays video games? * 88% of households have some form of video game * 70% of gamers are aged 18+ * The average gamer is aged 24 – 35 years. Most gamers have been playing for approximately 11 years. Video Games are classified into the following groups: *Early Childhood
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Who plays video games?* 88% of households have some form of video game* 70% of gamers are aged 18+* The average gamer is aged 24 – 35 years. Most gamers have been playing for approximately 11 years
*Everyone ages 6 and older
*Everyone ages 10 and older
*Teen ages 13 and older
*Mature 17years +
Why do people play video games?Entertainment Video games are identified by many people as a popular hobby/past time.Story Many games have a plot and like a reader of a novel, the player is encouraged to persevere to the end so they can see what will happen and how it will be resolved.AtmosphereVideo games enable the player to be instantly transported to exotic locations and imaginary worlds.
Role playingPlayers are presented the opportunity to take on the role of heroic characters, sport stars, spies etc.InteractivityThe player is more than an observer of the action in the games, they are able to live it!Progress/achievementMany games have a level system and as the player accomplishes a level they are able to feel immediate gratification and success.
Social DimensionMany games enable multi players and facilitate socialisation, teamwork and co-operation.IntensityVideo games are often fast paced and high impact eg. explosions, shoot out, racing, carnage etc.
Predisposition to Violence The Academy of Paediatrics says “More than one thousand scientific studies and reviews conclude that significant exposure to media violence increases the risk of aggressive behaviour in certain children, desensitizes them to violence and makes them believe that the world is a ‘meaner and scarier’ place than it is.”
Mood Enhancement as related to effects of physical activity-games like Wii, which may be particularly beneficial to otherwise sedentary people.
Emotional Health and SelfEsteem may be boosted according to the gamer’s self-perception.
‘Method Acting’ hypothesis which argues that children can engage in scary or confronting issues in the virtual world to role-play responses.
Physiological Effects of GamingAkio Mori’s, a professor at Tokyo's Nihon University, study found the following results: that the decrease of beta wave activity and usage of the prefrontal region of the brain may correlate with the aggressive behaviour, and,that the decrease of beta waves continued after the video game was turned off, implying a lasting effect.This study also asserts that a lack of use of the frontal brain, contributed by video games, can change moods and could account for aggressive and reclusive behaviour. An important question arises: if the brain is so impacted by video games as to create behavioural changes, must that mean that the brain perceives the games as real?
Professor Mori citing his own research said, “Many video games stir up tension and a feeling of fear, and there is a very real concern that this could have a long-term effect on the autonomic nerves.” These are the nerves that control the involuntary organ processes such as heart rate and breathing.Multiple studies have reported that playing video games can significantly increase heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption. If studies show that heart rate is increased when playing video games, then it seems that the brain is responding to the video game as if the body is in real danger. Does repeated exposure to this "false" sense of danger have an effect on what the brain then perceives as real danger? Other studies have suggested that there is a physical change in the structure of the brain caused by the neurotransmitter dopamine released during frequent playing.
Gender stereotypes in computer games are perhaps the greatest area of concern. According to the author of 'Videogames', James Newman, female characters are extremely under-represented in video games and make up only 16 per cent of all female characters. (Newman, 2004) Furthermore, while 47 per cent of male characters in computer games are portrayed as competitors, 50 per cent of female characters are depicted as props or bystanders. (Newman, 2004)Even male and female character roles and behaviour have become stereotyped. Research by Children Now, a media organization that deals with rectifying child issues, showed that men in computer games were frequently portrayed as aggressive, whereas women wore revealing clothing and screamed a lot. http://www.childrenow.org
Most popular computer games represent males with weapons or a buxom woman in distress. (Newman, 2004) An example of this is 'Tomb Raider', where the main protagonist Lara Croft, is under-dressed. While these images are attractive to men and linked to male behaviour, these images do not appeal to females and are seen to be sexist, as they portray women as brainless, helpless, sexual objects. (Newman, 2004) And while there are games for girls with these theories in mind, they have generally proven not to be very successful, as many games are too 'girly' for many women and focus around beauty and fashion, which many girls do not relate to or take as an insult. (Newman, 2004)
Racism is of concern as most characters in computer games are Caucasian. Consumerism is a problem, as many people feel pressured to keep up with buying the latest games, which can cost more than $100 dollars. Social Isolation would appear to be a problem. Fromme suggests otherwise as studies show that most students do not give up physical/outdoor activities for gaming. He also suggests that gaming forms a bond ‘offline’ with gamers as a conversational link.
Use of video games in recent studies showed a distracting effect on patients, reducing a need for painkillers, and in some case, quicker physical healing.
Study on helping physically disabled children, as well as children with multiple handicaps, burn victims, spinal cord injury and muscular dystrophy patients, and patients exhibiting anti-social and via video games shows initial benefits but no follow-up or robust controlled studies have been conducted.
Negative effects of gaming studies show increased aggressiveness, incontinence, joint pain, auditory hallucinations, obesity.
Effects of violent video Games on aggressive Behavior, aggressive Cognition, aggressive Affect, physiological Arousal, and prosocial Behavior: A meta-analytic review of the Scientific literature (Andersen and Bushman) analyses the scientific literature of all effects of gaming. This is a dated article (2001) but still useful for the questions it raises.
Video Games and Violence by Derrick Janushewski and Myna Truong is reasonably readable and analyses the volume of violence in contemporary video games.
List of Useful Resources Reasonably readable resources include:Mediascope website, highlights data from various scientific studies concerning video games. Mediascope website, violent video games causing aggression. Japan Today News website, an interesting news site and discussion board. Mega Games website, a hardcore gaming site, including cheats, demos, and facts. Beliefnet website, centres around spiritual, religious, and moral issues. Sunday Herald online, a news resource. Games Studies, a paper called Computer Games as a Part of Children's Culture by Johannes Fromme Video Game Addiction: Do We Need a Vide Gamers Anonymous?, an article by Mary Slimme looking at the connection between gaming and other forms of addiction.How Video Games Affect Health is a brief article written by a gamer.The Psychological Effects of Violent Media on Children by Aimee Tompkins briefly looks at desensitization of gamers to violence.Video Games That Improve Emotional Health is a controversial piece by Trevor Gorp that claims that, depending on the game, self-perception may be altered positively.Playing the Blame Game: Video Games Pros and Consby Alvaro Fernandez is quite a long article that discusses the fact and fiction of gaming effects.
Stimulus Questions/Points for Educators1. To what degree is it acceptable of use ‘escapism’ to deal with the mundane areas of life? When does this become a problem for the individual? the community?2. What is the role of ethicists in the debate regarding child/adolescent access to immersion/role-playing games?3.What is the role of government censorship?4. Is the individualism of the video game a further isolating factor for youth?5. Is the (almost) exclusive reliance on the visual sense a cause for concern?6. How can we encourage a balanced approach in leisure time activities for children (/adults)?7. How can we best educate children to question their cultural constructs in an age- appropriate fashion?8. Is it possible/desirable to produce games that are life-affirming as well as being popular?9.Should we care about the effects of Gaming if only a small number of people are negatively affected by it? 10. Is it fair to blame the promotion of violence in the theatres, in the music, and on video games for deviant behaviour? How much are parents/the broader culture responsible?11. Even though gaming can increase cognitive abilities, is it safe to say that violent blood-filled games always lead to desensitization to violence? 12. What do longitudinal studies tell us (where they exist)?13. Do video games teach or reflect behaviour?
Bibliographyhttp://allpsych.com/journal/violentmedia.htmlhttp://multimedia.design.curtin.edu.au/cache/v/0003/http://serendip.brynmawr.eduhttp://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1719http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/soc/courses/stpp4C03/ClassEssay/videogames.htmhttp://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/331/7509/122http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/text2-27-2004-51038.asphttp://www.childrennow.orghttp://www.gameinnovator.com/health.phphttp://www.gamestudies.org/0301/fromme/http://www.ifets.info/journals/11_2/21.pdfhttp://www.psychology.iastate.edu/faculty/caa/abstracts/2000-2004/01ab.pdfhttp://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2008/09/26/playing-the-blame-game-video-games-pros-and-cons/Newman, J. (2004) Videogames, London : Routlege. ISB 0415281911 www.newman.ac.ukwww.psycholgical.iastate.edu/~dgentile