Why playing video games is good for you |The Educational Benefits of Video Games and Why They Aren't Ruining Society
Benefits of Video Games | Thesis Paper
There are plenty of arguments mad against video games; however, there are actually a plethora of benefits for the young (and not so young) adults playing games. Since today’s society no longer values stories passed on orally, video games have taken the place in modern lives that use to be filled with fairy tales. Video games have the ability to teach morals, they allow children to foster a sense of independence in a safe, closed environment, reinforce the fact that all actions have reactions, increase confidence, and allow individuals to create, and maintain relationships through long distances.
Elders Arguing Against Technology
Parental organizations and politicians have banded together to try to ban children's access to certain video games, that they view to be “too violent.” (Anderson) The internet has a saturation of articles spouting the risks and dangers of allowing children to play video games for too long. However, there is a possibility that once again the older generations are blaming new technology for the imperfection they see in our changing society. In an article published in Psychology Today, Peter Gray reminds his readers that Plato warned against plays and poetry because they are a danger to youth. Elders argued against writing, because it would damage the ability to remember things, and later, when books became more economical, that novels were demoralizing the dainty minds of women. This fear of the new was played out once again, when televisions began to invade American homes. Similar arguments were made against each new technology that they would be physically, psychologically, and socially damaging. (Gray)
Video Games are Modern Day Fairy Tales
Tolkien is characterized as one of the most influential, if not the most, prominent fantasy writer. His books are considered the modern day forms of written fairy tales. (Jaquelyn and Celia) His definition of what a fairy tale is lies more in where the story is set than if fairies are actually present, “The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords.” (Tolkien) By Tolkien's definition a fairy tale does not have to include fairies, but simply be in a separate world that takes the reader or player to another realm so that they can enjoy adventure, and escape from their normal lives.
Daphne Bavelier: Your brain on video games
Video Games teach Children Responsibility
Video games have the advantage of replacing the oral stories that were used to educate children on the differences between good and bad, and to enforce the value of noble morals. With games that allow for a more open society, they also have the added benefit of teaching children responsibility for their actions through the decisions that they have made. Games such as Fable, show how good and bad choices will affect the story line, the character’s options, and even the character’s appearance. Every action within the game has a reaction, which makes for not only good game play, but also a not-so-subtle message about life. This ability to choose and make decisions is through giving thought to the adventure is an important reason that fairy tales have stuck around for so long, and why video games are likely to stick around for a while, as well. In Zipe’s book Why Fairy Tales Stick he talks about what make good literature for children, and the phrase ”video games” could very easily replace the word “literature” and still hold true. “Good literature for children provokes them to think seriously and critically for themselves, against the grain, and provides hope that they can find the moral and ethical vigor not only you survive, but to live happily with the social codes that they create themselves and enjoy to their heart's content.” (Zipes)
In a recent news article, BBC education news correspondent Hannah Richardson urges parents, teachers, and schools that “should be allowed to learn from personal mistakes.” (Richardson) Citing that this is an important process of growing up, and forming their own ideas and independence. Video games allow children to do just that; experience and process failure in a safe environment. They can try to jump over a gorge one hundred times before succeeding, but since they will not be physically hurt, they can have the stamina to approach the problem differently until they garner the result that they are after. This problem solving skill is necessary in most high level jobs, and it could be gained through working through an Algebra chapter, or in a child’s spare time through play.
Video Games give a Sense of Accomplishment
Video games can also give children and adults a sense of accomplishment that leads to real life results. According to Huffington Post, “And just 90 seconds of playing a game like World of Warcraft - where you have a powerful avatar - can boost the confidence of colleges students so much that for up to 24 hours later, they're more likely to be successful taking a test at school” (McGonigal) This rise in confidence found in playing an online game is not generally found in fairy tales, though few parents would attempt to limit their child’s exposure to traditional stories. “Unlike fairy tales, games can provide an empowerment that transcends the often-overt moral message of fairy tales, especially as they were redirected at controlling children in the Victorian age.” (Jaquelyn and Celia)
Video Games help to Reinforce Long Distance Relationships
So long as a game system can connect to the internet, there is the ability to build and maintain friendships. Video games can create and maintain social bonds through consistent collaboration and regular contact. Yes, some of these bonds are long distance, however, in our changing society with our ever shrinking world, this is not a challenge to “real friendship” like it would have been in earlier time periods. Xbox and Playstation have both realized the importance of long-distance socialization to their clients that they have begun to implement socialization tools into every aspect of their consoles, including the ability to use the chat function while playing games, or watching movies. (Crecente) In an article on Kotaku, Brian Crecente talks about how important the ability to socialize through gaming has been for him as an army brat. World of Warcraft is an online game that allows players to bond through teamwork of “raiding” dungeons and defeating monsters. I have friends who have become quite close with people in their online guild, or who create guilds of people that they know in real life, then use the game to reinforce their bonds of friendship. In today’s society it is common to move to a different town, or state across the country for school, a new job, or an old boyfriend. However, we know have the tools to keep in touch with old friends, while still blowing off steam while we blow up a doomguard.
As a generation of latch-key children, we often missed hearing fairy tales from our parents. Statistically it’s possible that most of us had two working parents, and the probability is high that they may have been divorced. We have inherited a country with a growing amount of debt, and to finish college our personal debt may rival that of our countries. We are a generation that needs our fairy tales, and momentary escapes from reality. Video games help users relax, connect, learn, and explore.
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Anderson, Jefferey H. "Weekly Standard: Violent Games Are No Fairy Tale." 1 July 2011. NPR.org. <http://www.npr.org/2011/07/01/137547360/weekly-standard-violent-games-are-no-fairy-tale>.
Crecente, Brian. "The Secret to Long-Distance Friendships Could be Online Gaming." 7 Feb 2011. Kotaku. http://kotaku.com/5753288/the-secret-to-long+distance-friendships-could-be-online-gaming. 29 Oct 2013.
Gray, Peter. "The Many Benefits, for Kids, of Playing Video Games." n.d. Psychology Today. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201201/the-many-benefits-kids-playing-video-games>.
Jaquelyn, Ford Morie and Pearce Celia. "Uses of Digital Enchantment: Computer Games as the New Fairy Tales." n.d. Georgia Institute of Technology. <http://lmc.gatech.edu/~cpearce3/PearcePubs/MoriePearceFROG-FINAL.pdf>.
McGonigal, Jane. "Video Games: An Hour A Day Is Key To Success In Life." 15 Feb 2011. Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-mcgonigal/video-games_b_823208.html. 28 October 2013.
Richardson, Hannah. "Children 'should be allowed to learn from own mistakes'." April 2013. BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22338343.
Tolkien, J.R.R. Tree and Leaf. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965.