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The popularization of personal computer not only brings much convenience to people’s study and work but also changes people’s way of entertainment. In recent years, as a form of entertainment regarding computer as intermediaries, video games gradually become one of the main entertainment activities for people especially the young generation. With the development of the internet, video games, in addition to console game, also includes online games which get great popularity in the last few years. As for some children and adolescents, video games can be considered as their main activities when using computer (Subrahmanyam et al. , 2000).
According to research, the average age for a certain video game is about 26 (Yee, 2006), with a great number of young players. In view of this phenomenon, many researchers have taken video game as their research emphasis and studied its impact on children’s and adolescents’ development from different perspectives. This essay is going to argue that video games have a positive impact on people in a number of aspects. In particular, video games can make contributions to people’s ability enhancement, psychological health and education.
Firstly, video games can help people enhance their innovation ability, cognitive ability and problem solving ability, which are very important in personal development (Wan Roali et al, 2007). Video games play an incomparable role in intelligence development. Video games are always designed with challenges and tasks associated with certain circumstances. In other words, the mission players need to complete in the game can be considered as the simulation of real life. Players, in order to upgrade or achieve stage clear, need to observe game rules, clear objectives, make relevant plans, use knowledge to solve the problems, and summarize game techniques in the playing process. Within different contexts, players are supposed to keep trying to find solutions to different problems. Cognitive psychologists believed that cognition process can be considered as problem solving process as well.
Therefore, during this process, innovation ability, cognition ability and problem solving ability are practiced and improved (Wan Roali et al, 2007). As a result, when meeting troubles in real life, video game players can rely on their problem-solving experience accumulated in virtual world to overcome difficulties and achieve success more easily. In addition, according to research, compared with people who never touch video games before, video game players can do a better job in the basic process of spatial cognition. They are able to track the target in a faster speed, accurately perceive the changes of objects stored in visual short-term memory, flexibly switch from one task to another, and make mental rotation more effectively (Boot et al. , 2008). This positive impact of video games makes great contribution to people’s intelligence development as well as corresponding trainings provided for special groups.
Some researchers proposed that video games will make people’s capability degenerate, especially communication capability (Groves & Anderson, 2017). Video game players, who spend a long time facing computer every day absorbed in virtual world, will gradually lose interest in real life and feel indifference about what happened around them. In addition, they have few opportunities to communicate with people face to face, which to some extent have negative impact on their social interaction. For a long time, as a result of the social impairments caused by poor communication capability, people will feel lonely in real life and immerse themselves into the virtual world, which lead to not only psychological problems but also social problems bringing shocks and challenges to ethics, morality and legislations. For instance, lack of communication with peers, adolescents may be misled by violent games and even take part in criminal activities (Groves & Anderson, 2017).
However, there are some research showed that people’s communication skills can also be practiced and improved through playing video games as a result of team work and exchange of experience via social network (Bailey et al. , 2006). Being different from traditional communication ways, the development of the internet provides people opportunities to communication online, which brings much convenience to life. The effectiveness of online communication in video games is similar to face-to-face communication. In addition, nowadays, more and more video games put emphasis on creating interactive platforms which enable players to develop online social network within games. This provides more opportunities for people to communicate with each other and to some extent satisfying people’s needs for connections. According to Yee’s (2006) research, significant connection with other players is one of the most attractive things about video games because they can feel a sense of belonging.
Secondly, video games have positive impact on people’s psychological health through creating positive emotion (Liang et al. , 2014) and relieving stress (Durkin & Barber, 2002; Reinecke, 2009). The reason why video games can generate attraction to people is that player’s psychological needs can be satisfied in some degree during the game-playing process. This satisfaction can make up for the desires and willingness which cannot be achieved in real life and increases personal happy experience. According to research, the competition and the opportunity to win the game are the main motivations of video game playing. In addition, video games can also help people to play the roles they experience in real life without any restrictions. As a result, they will feel excited during the playing process. This satisfaction leads to positive emotions such as excitement and happiness (Liang et al. , 2014). Apart from what have been mentioned above, video games provide a virtual world where people can escape from reality as well as the troubles. Video games can be considered as an activity where players can get rid of the negative emotions in real life. Compared with TV, video games are more interactive so that players keep receiving stimulation and making some reactions. In this process, they need to give their full attention to the video games, which to some extent restrains their memory of terrible things in real life and reduce negative emotions at the same time ((Durkin & Barber, 2002). Some violent video games are extremely helpful for people to release negative feelings and recover from pressure, which contribute a lot to their psychological health (Reinecke, 2009).
Opposed to the opinion mentioned above, some researchers pointed out that the psychological pleasure brought by video games may lead to loss of self-control and different levels of addiction (Bailey et al. , 2010). When facing troubles in real life, people may be naturally absorbed in the virtual life where they could achieve satisfaction and escape from the reality. If situation gets worse, they may spend longer time on video games while forgetting their real life. In addition, people are able to choose their roles in video games at their own will. As a result, video games can easily create virtual and unrealistic selves which may be confused with real selves. When the real selves are not satisfying, people will put their heart and soul into the virtual world while giving up their real life (Bailey et al. , 2010). This kind of addiction is extremely hard to get rid of.
Currently, video games addiction, caused by a combination of various factors, is already a key concern for researchers and many effective solutions have been proposed to solve this problem. In this process, both video games addicts and people around them should make some contributions because it is not realistic to totally rely on addicts themselves. It is important for people around video game addicts to help them control playing time with timetables and relevant policy of reward and punishment (Liang et al. , 2014). In addition, players themselves are supposed to enrich their everyday life with the purpose to live in reality rather than virtual world (Liang et al. , 2014). Through trying something new in real life and make some achievements in some fields in order to get self-satisfaction and confidence, video game addicts will have less interested in the virtual world.
The final reason to support this essay’s argument, video games have positive impact on people’s education. Some researchers believed that the combination of video games and education has not only factorable manoeuvrability but also positive effects (Bourgonjon et al. , 2015; Squire, 2014). Gillispie and his colleagues (2010) found that the application of video games in education contributes a lot to student achievement and attitude in mathematics. The positive impact of video games is achieved mainly through simulating student’s learning motivation. With the fun and attraction of video games, students are more interested in learning contents and able to actively put more efforts in study. For instance, many well-known video games, like CS and Civilization, produce positive emotions and stimulate learning behaviours through task-based, goal-oriented, interactive and challenging plots within virtual environment (Squire, 2014).
Moreover, people can also acquire additional knowledge through video games such as different cultures and subjects (Bourgonjon et al. , 2015). Bogost and his colleagues (2005) pointed out that video games can be regarded as a kind of cognitive tool. Certain knowledge, techniques and experience acquired from one game can also be applied into other games within different background and fields after transformation. After a series of practices, these knowledge, techniques and experience may also be applied into everyday life to solve real problems in similar situations. For instance, there are many video games developed on the basis of Chinese Kungfu stories in the market, which enables players to know more about Chinese literature and arouse their interest in Chinese culture. The application of video games, as a new attempt, receives many sceptical views from researchers in different fields. Some researchers held the opinion that video games may reduce the effectiveness of education because they will distract learner’s attention with rich contents (Groves & Anderson, 2017). When video games are applied in education, students may be attracted by the plots, visual effects and some other less important contents instead of the main knowledge provided to be learned. As a result, the effectiveness of video games application in education field will be reduced to some extent. In addition, some bad information in video games, especially violent games, will also mislead learners and even lead them astray (Wan et al. , 2007). Influenced by violent information, people may become more aggressive and even commit crimes.
These concerns have been clearly considered by supporters of video games application in education. As a result, they proposed that it is important to improve the content quality of video games with the help of government and teachers (Bourgonjon et al. , 2015). Government could support the development of educational games in various approaches while teachers put more efforts in video games selection in order to provide high-quality knowledge to students. With the purpose of education, special video games need to be designed by game producers in order to provide high-quality information to learners and effectively stimulate their learning motivation. Currently, video games have been applied in education in many countries and already achieved positive effects on improving student’s learning motivation as well as learning outcomes. In conclusion, video games, although bring many harms to people’s life, have positive impact on people in different aspects as well, including ability enhancement, psychological health and education.
In the first place, video games are conducive to improve people’s innovation, cognitive and problem solving ability, which is helpful for their career and everyday life. In the second place, video games can create positive emotion and relieve stress so that players can get rid of negative emotions and maintain psychological health. In the third place, video games contribute a lot to student achievement and provide additional knowledge out of school, improving the effectiveness of education to some extent.
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