For the last several decades, computer technology has developed from the items needed for work and science into the whole entertaining area. Currently, computer technology became an integral component of an average person’s daily life. With the Internet spreading into masses, a huge part of people’s life is dedicated to it. Daily usage of computers and the Internet sources can be both intentional and unintentional. Due to technological progress, some aspects of daily lives are completely computer-aided. Such a condition is dictated by the desire of computer development engineers and corporations to make a huge profit from every possible average person, who does not want to be a “black sheep” in the modern society.
Taking into account the abovementioned, one can see that the computer items, designed for the entertainment are developing very fast to provide consumers with new interactive computer games. Presently, most computer games are oriented on children of all ages, since they became the main consumers of such technology products. Every computer game has both positive and negative effects on children that can develop into serious issues in the future and have a great impact on both physical and mental health.
Positive Sides of Using Computer Games by Children
Obviously, computer games have several positive sides and could be very useful for children and their future lives. Playing computer games encloses tasks or problem solving, thinking several steps ahead and planning, developing a motor function, and helping with some mental disorders. In some cases, computer and video games are included in the therapy courses to help children become more communicative and self-confident.
Computer games have two kinds, entertaining and teaching. The teaching game’s type implies only developing mental and physical skills. With its help, some particular child has an opportunity to develop lacking mental abilities. Such games are designed for developing memory, attentiveness, accuracy, logic, etc. Generally, such games maintain tasks for finding a missing object, identifying two or more identical items, calculating mathematical examples, finding a way from labyrinths, and even place missing words or letters. Taking into account the abovementioned, one can say that computer games definitely have positive effects on children’s minds. With constant training, children with mental and even physical disorders have an opportunity to gain a higher intellect level, since constant tasks always force their brains to work constantly and it may lead to developing healthier and active brain neurons.
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Psychologists try to use a computer and video games during their training sessions. With the properly selected type of computer interactive games, at the end of the treatment course, a child can develop a higher level of thinking and even be completely recovered from slight mental issues, because playing computer games always implies thinking skills usage. For the successful ending of the game, a child should use several brain resources to provide math skills, orientation, hand coordination, attention focusing, and making quick correct decisions. Math and reading skills are also usually developed with the help of interactive video games.
What is more, computer games have a significant positive effect on children’s social skills. Social behavior is always dictated by the emotional state. With the help of various computer and video games, children tend to gain basic skills in cooperating and communicating with others. Some kinds of games imply gamers’ teamwork when few people have to cooperate for achieving some particular goal and completing the whole game or the part of it. Having communicating problems in real-life, children usually stay emotionally close and do not have enough communication with peers. Since children have a certain way of thinking, they often choose a person to communicate by the system of values, which is not always correct.
Thus, children, who have some problems with health, both physical and mental, or, on the contrary, have extraordinary learning skills and outstanding visual look can be excluded from peer communication groups. The same can be said with children’s communication with family members or close relatives. Such rejections always cause a negative impact on a child’s mental health and may lead to serious disorders in the future. In such cases, this problem can be partially solved by participating in video games, which require cooperation with other players. Sometimes, children, who have communication problems and lack confidence in the real-life, can gain few good friends on a mutual interest basis.
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Moreover, in some cases, computer games help children to control their own aggressiveness and reveal negative thoughts and stress on game characters. Therefore, a child can release all his or her frustration on a personalized video character that does not exist, which will prevent problem situations with other children in real life. Also, some games designed as a real-life simulation, like “The Sims”. Such computer games also help to gain good communication skills, which will be useful in the present time or in the future. They provide children with hints on how to react to some particular events or situations and what actions should be provided. Therefore, children have an opportunity to learn beforehand how to provide certain actions to avoid problem situations or how to solve them.
Also, computer and video games are the best way to escape partially emotional or physical pain. While playing, a person’s attention is directed completely to the various game tasks solving, and such mind distraction always helps to suppress severe pain or bad thoughts. Moreover, playing computer and video games usually causes a high level of testosterone and endorphins in the blood system, which have a significant impact on a person’s coping with pain.
Taking into account all the abovementioned, one can say that computer and video games obviously have a good impact on children’s mental health. Different kinds of games are used in mental disorders treatment and provide help with communication problems. However, allowing children to play such games often should be provided with precautions, like setting a daily time limit and choosing the games carefully, so all positive effects would not turn into negative ones with severe consequences.
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Negative Impact of Computer Games on Children
Unfortunately, the vast majority of computer and video games have mostly a negative impact on a person’s behavior and mental health in general. Moreover, constant sitting in front of the computer has a significant impact on physical health as well. Spending too much time playing interactive games always affects gamers. However, most damage can be done with children, since they have a weaker defensive mental system. Due to constant playing violent computer games, various mental disorders can be developed, which may lead to a serious mental shift with the irreversible consequences.
The huge variety of computer games became very popular among children of all ages. Various researches and studies were provided to highlight what positive and negative effects computer games cause for people’s health in general. A great number of studies were held to detect all possible impacts of games on children. However, playing computer games is remaining to be a controversial issue, since there is no direct answer for considering them only good or bad. At the same time, researches show that a negative impact on children’s mental health is more obvious.
Also, constant playing in computer games implies leading a sedentary lifestyle. Leading such a mode of life always has an extremely negative impact on gamers, whether it is an adult or a child. However, a sedentary lifestyle causes the most problems for children’s health. Since the young organism is in the development process, it requires daily physical training and properly balanced nutrition. While playing computer games, a lack of hunger is often observed.
Thus, with the help of computer games, children gain eating disorders and poor nutrition, which definitely will cause serious health problems in the future. Gastritis, ulcer, obesity, defective vision, tendonitis, nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome, spinal curvature, and other muscular and skeletal disorders are the main diseases caused by constant sitting in front of computer playing games. Also, children do not get their daily vitamins to norm with improper nutrition. Therefore, it may lead to even more severe disorders in the future.
One of the most outstanding features of the most present computer and video games is violence. Constant playing games with a high level of violence always cause aggressiveness in children. Usually, some violence display is the reason for providing violent or aggressive actions in the future. Currently, some computer games should be legally prohibited for certain age groups. Violence is not the only issue in playing modern computer and video games. Since every game has a certain plot, they all are unique. At the same time, some game plots are based on the current society lifestyle and issues. Thus, in some computer games, a player is the absolute main character and can do everything that comes in mind, for example, go to the bar and order alcohol, or flirt with some easy females, or kill not a monster, but a human character.
The vast majority of computer games are designed for mature consumers. Nevertheless, they are popular mostly among children and teenagers. For the last several years, the number of young people, who constantly play different violent games, started providing violent actions and even murders in real life. The constant level of their aggressiveness and the high level of testosterone cause constant hidden stress, which leads directly to the serious brain shift. Playing several hours per day causes damages in the children’s subconscious, and, in the end, their brains stop to distinguish the computer game world and the real world. Therefore, many young people start killing real people or living beings, considering themselves staying in the game. Close relatives, friends, or just average people start to be seen as enemies from the computer and video games, which must be disabled or killed.
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Many present computer games are highly designed, and every item in it looks like a real one. Thus, such a beautiful realistic picture can aggravate the whole situation and the child’s brain will start to consider the real world as a part of the game since children become very interested in the game world, and deep inside they want always to stay in it.
Such a desire is one of the game addiction symptoms. Currently, many children and teenagers become highly addicted to their favorite games. Usually, addiction can be caused by unsatisfying conditions in real life. Poor relations with family members and peers, unsatisfactory living conditions or social status, or mental trauma can be the main reasons for isolating oneself from the outer world and finding a mental satisfaction in various games, where everything is real and fake at the same time. At some point, children try to escape the real-world problems with the help of computer games.
Moreover, children became dependent on computer games unintentionally in most cases. Usually, children play alone in the closed room and often they become socially isolated. Constant playing violent computer games cause social behavior weakening. Spending most of the time in front of the computer without proper communication affects communicative skills and speech habits. Therefore, without proper help, communication issues can develop into serious mental and speech disorders. Additionally, computer games addiction can be the basis for starting to use drugs or having problems with alcohol.
In most cases, computer games addiction is followed by desensitization. Such kind of sensitivity loss is a response to the daily watching violent scenes and images. Desensitization is a hidden issue that cannot always be detected at the beginning of addiction symptoms developing. Also, desensitization is one of the main reasons for a psychiatrist's help necessity. Since a young person stops to consider blood, the inward parts of the body, and other similar images as an ugly and inappropriate one, there is a high possibility of a current mental shift and providing extremely violent thoughts and actions towards other people or living beings. The more time children spend playing computer games, the more socially isolated they will become in the nearest future. Moreover, with the lack of proper communication with family members and peers, together with voluntary isolation, the development of mental illness is highly possible.
Together with the abovementioned issues and problems, one can add problems with the school performance. Spending too much time playing computer games always negatively affects learning skills and school performance. Instead of absorbing new and useful information, children addicted to playing computer and video games show poor learning skills and striving for new knowledge deficiency. In some cases, computer games may help with developing proper brain activity; however, spending several hours daily on various violent games shows the decreasing of learning ability.
Young children’s brains absorb and maintain a bigger amount of new information than adults. With computer games partial or full addiction, children usually show no signs of interest in learning useful new information. Commonly, children play one or two computer games they like, and new information appears mostly in the beginning. Therefore, children deal with information and actions they need to learn once and only repeat it almost mindlessly in all following levels.
Seeing the only interest in playing violent computer games instead of watching useful documentary movies and reading books can develop into severe decrease in mental brain activity. Thus, isolating themselves from new information will affect the learning process at school and have a negative impact on future development and career.
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Even though computer games help with attention focusing, when it comes to the learning process at school, children addicted to computer games show bad learning performance in general. Since they do not pay the whole attention to the learning process and the vast majority of their thoughts are directed to the computer games plots and tasks, getting bad or average marks is their only option with this kind of behavior and attitude.
Also, present computer games do not require showing creative or personal independent thoughts. Therefore, children do not need to think anymore, they should solve simple tasks half mindlessly. An abovementioned confusing game world with reality also can be considered in this particular aspect. Thoughtless task accomplishments in computer games may be transferred into the learning process at school. Children try to carry the studying process not using the whole brain resources.
Taking into account all the aforementioned, one can say that the amount and the severity of the negative effects of various computer video games on children are significant since it concerns every aspect of children’s life. Enormous playing violent games always have a great negative impact on every young person addicted to it. Mental and physical health always suffers from the severe consequences caused by daily computer games playing. The most serious consequences are irreversible mental shift or brain damage, and getting a chronic or severe physical illness. Problems with possible violence in children behave and attitude is most outstanding due to the various difficulties of their coping.
Solutions to Solve Problems with Children and Computer Games
New and visually improved computer games are constantly coming to the market, and thus, children, who became addicted to games, have more reasons to sit constantly in front of their monitor screens. The main solution can be found with controlling and censoring the whole game market on all levels. Since the vast majority of all computer games are illegally produced, all state governments should provide proper monitoring for everything related to the computer and video games producing.
The key to solving the problem with the current children’s computer games addiction is parents. In almost all minds, parents are considered to be the main role models for their children, thus, socially and physically active parents set an example of a proper lifestyle. When a child is satisfied with his own life and relations between family members and peers are on good and high level, he or she will never try to escape the reality in computer games. Sitting the whole day in front of the computer’s monitor will definitely have a negative impact on mental health, as well as on the physical condition. In order to provide a healthy future life for children, parents should set a strict limit on computer games playing frequency and replace those sitting hours with various outdoor activities. Monitoring and providing control of the total amount of time children spend on video games, and prohibiting playing all kinds of violent games are the main aspects of a child’s proper and healthy growth.
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Since various types of computer games exist in the present world, parents and the government, in general, should pay attention mostly to violent kinds of computer games. Many computer games provide escaping from boring or unsatisfactory reality in mental and emotional aspects. Such an attitude towards coping with the real-life will always have a negative impact on the future life. Generally, children do not have their own strong identity, and developing themselves as a computer game character but not a real personality will lead to problems with communication, consuming drugs and alcohol, and learning skills disablement.
Parents and close relatives should realize that computer and video games may have a powerful impact on children, and therefore, in order to minimize the negative effects on physical and mental health, they should set the limits on the time spent and the content of games their children play. The issues of using computer games remain to be controversial. On the one hand, computer games have a huge variety of benefits for children since properly chosen games help them become more communicative, improve math and reading skills, etc. On the other hand, computer games definitely have an outstanding negative impact on children’s both mental and physical health.
Spending too much time playing violent games, children can develop severe irreversible changes in mind and body. Thus, possible mental shifts became more frequent for the last several decades with the development of various violent games. In order to prevent children’s possible mental illnesses and to terminate the possibility of computer game addiction, every parent should take a direct part in a child’s life and have a careful look at the way of spending free time in front of a personal computer.