Do video games lead to violence? A Meta-analytic Review
Violence in video games isn’t anything new as it has been a controversial topic for the past 2 decades or so where laws back then where much stricter. These days, with more lenient laws in place, it seems that the demand for violent video games are at an all-time high where the number of gamers have skyrocketed especially amongst the young adults. With this in mind, there are concerns that such games may increase the acts of aggression in players. But it is often that we ignore the positive effects it may have on an individual especially relating visuospatial cognition. The article examines multiple studies that have been conducted on both aggressive behavior as well as visuospatial cognition so as to better understand the full scope of such games may have on us while removing and correcting any publication biases that were observed which were proven to be quite problematic. Once corrected, the article concluded there was not enough evidence to support the hypothesis that playing violent video games is directly linked to aggressive behavior. Interestingly, the article further tells the reader to note that playing violent video games often resulted in higher visuospatial cognition. In addition, the author recommended to reframe the whole violent games debate by also looking at the potential benefits of such medium. (Ferguson, 2007)
Digital Game-Based Learning:
Recently, more number of schools and higher academic institutions are beginning to implement digital games into their curriculum in order to motivate students to actively participate in the learning process but some critics were quick to point out that it promotes isolation and anti-social behavior while others say that it just simply increases the cost with no proven benefit so that these institutions can give an excuse to raise their tuition. Three research studies were conducted at an American University to find out if there is any correlation with playing video games and academic achievements. Three different video games were added to the 1st year courses of Business and IT as well as the 3rd year courses of Economics and Management while keeping all the conditions identical while using ANNOVA, chi-squared and t test to measure the effectiveness. The results concluded that students in classes using games scored much higher regardless of their gender or ethnicity. However, there was a noticeable difference on the test scores when they took a look at the student’s age. Interestingly, students aged 40 years or younger seemed to have gained the most since their score were a lot greater than those who were older.( http://rickblunt.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/blunt_game_studies.pdf)
Can video games help in treating learning disabilities?
Another aspect where certain video games can potentially be useful is when treating children with dyslexia, i.e., those who have a difficulty in reading, which affects 10% of children. In a study published by the Journal of Vision(2014), they demonstrate that by playing 20 hours of action video games can hugely improve early visual and auditory predictors of future reading abilities in pre-reading children who are at risk of dyslexia where they test quick naming, letter recognition, auditory-phonological skills and visuo-attentional abilities. Prereaders were divide into groups of three who were at cognitive risk of developing dyslexia and were tested before and after they played action, non-action video games and/ or no-treatment for 60 minutes for the next 20 days. The observations were that those who played action video games had seen an enhancement in their temporal, visuo-spatial as well as visual-to-auditory attention skills which results into better language abilities and closely correspond with both visual and auditory-phonological reading predictors. These findings show that playing action video games can help children with certain learning disabilities while giving a new, fast and exciting way of doing so by giving them a sense of reward. (http://jov.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2144565)
Is video game addiction a serious problem?
Very recently the World Health Organization(WHO) classified gaming addiction as a mental disorder for the very first time which has caused some outrage on social media and all over the internet. Experts have long argued whether video game addiction should even be considered a mental health disorder. Critics have stated that this move just undermines the seriousness of other diseases/disabilities while proponents on the other hand find this move perfectly reasonable. Regardless of their decision, let’s look at one contemporary study by the Journal of Affective Disorders (2018) where they use an Internet Gaming Disorder Scale (IGDS) to measure game addiction. The study compared the IGDS values of game addicts with those of non-addicts in terms of their mental, physical, social-emotional health using self-report and survey methods. Results indicated males are more prone to becoming addicts while female addicts tended to have more somatic problems and sleeping issues. Addicts generally had poorer mental health, exhibit ADHD symptoms and also have emotional difficulties including but not limited to depression, anxiety and isolation. Moreover, they had a much lower impulse control and therefore were much more likely to view pornographic material on the internet. They concluded that those who met the IGDS criteria displayed poorer emotional, physical, mental, as well as social health, adding to the growing evidence that video game addiction is a cause for concern although note that this study used self-reported values and the sample used were undergraduate students.( https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016503271730112X