Video games have advantages and disadvantages; The positive side is that they can teach knowledge and improve physical and mental skills. The down side is they can be aggressive and make you spend too much time with them. In this article we explain all the pros and cons.
Today it is difficult to find a house that does not have any other console or computer. Both adults and young people spend several hours a day playing, either through the media named above or by other devices such as mobile or tablets.
Few people have stopped to think about whether everything surrounding the use of video games brings advantages to those who use them, or if on the contrary is only characterized by its disadvantages.
What is a video game?
It is difficult to find a general definition of what a video game is, each author who has described it focuses or punctuates some of its characteristics.
According to Wikipedia, we can define a video game as:
“An electronic game in which one or more people interact, through a command, with a device equipped with video images. This electronic device, known generically as a platform, can be a computer, an arcade machine, a console or a portable device as a mobile phone. Video games are, today, one of the main industries of art and entertainment. ”
Advantages and Disadvantages of players
Here are a list of 8 advantages and 5 disadvantages of videogames.
Among the advantages for the people who use them we can find:
1- Training and improvement of physical and mental abilities
It has been proven in some studies that if we play video games daily, we can improve our visual attention, be more efficient in changing tasks, be faster in tasks where we have to perform a visual search or discriminate objects by their shape / color.
Also among other benefits, it contributes more effectiveness in the follow-up of multiple objectives (Green and Bavelier, 2003).
Other researchers have conducted training studies corroborating that the practice of video games also improves the execution of divided tasks and mental rotation (De lisi and Wolford, 2003 quoted in Salguero, 2009).
2- It has therapeutic uses
Video games can be used in people who have both physical and mental problems. As for example in people who present problems of mobility in the arms, or that they find it difficult to be related; as is the case of people with autism .
It has also been used in a rehabilitative way in people who present problems of care , among others.
3- Use as didactic means
Video games can be a means of learning for people who use it because it is a different context and more playful. They are therefore a good means of motivation for children and young people , as well as for children who have learning difficulties or are even at risk.
Thanks to this means students can be motivated to learn by creating fun feelings (Salguero, 2009).
4. Fosters positive values
The games of consoles and computers also promote values such as solidarity, friendship, cohesion and a sense of belonging to a group. It is important for parents to take advantage of these benefits to improve family relationships (Reyes-Hernández et al. 2012, Reyes-Hernandez, 2014).
5- Use as leisure and entertainment
We need to get distracted so we do not feel stressed in our day to day or just to fight the daily boredom. For this reason, video games are a great means of entertainment because of the large number of realities they present (González, 2010 in Reyes-Hernández et al., 2014).
6- Develop empathy
Since there are a multitude of group games, players have to make decisions and know that they can have consequences, both positive and negative, on the other players in the game. Therefore, it is a means that facilitates the development of empathy (Levine, 2009 Reyes-Hernández et al., 2014).
7- Increase the sense of competence and self-esteem
The use of video games also creates feelings of self-esteem and competition in players game after game. As you overcome the different challenges and levels, you feel better about yourself and able to meet the following objectives.
8- Encourage teamwork
In team games, players will also develop group work skills as they sometimes have to be united to overcome some challenge.
In addition, it also allows them to develop other abilities such as quick thinking to act satisfactorily in the face of problems presented to them or even work under pressure to avoid losing the game.
Disadvantages of using video games
In addition to the aforementioned advantages, we also find possible disadvantages and negative effects on people who use it:
9- They can create addiction
It is common to hear that there are people who are addicted to video games , however, and despite the studies that have been done about it, to this day cannot prove that playing with video games can create addiction.
Salguero (2009) talks about that some people at a given moment, acquire a pathological fixation by an object or activity. Even so, we have to analyze the person and ask ourselves why he has reached that point.
In addition, we also have to point out that there are activities that are tremendously entertaining and absorbing, so you can spend more time than usual.
10- It increases the aggressiveness of the player and they are violent
Some games are very aggressive and violent. Sometimes, this content is not only limited to physical aggression but also enters ideologies. There is a wide range of research in this regard in which a clear conclusion is not reached as to whether video games create or increase aggressiveness in their players.
Some argue that its effect is short-term (Barlett, Branch, Rodeheffer and Harris, 2009), while others argue that it has a long-term effect on players (Anderson et al., 2008).
The child who has fun with games that are violent can lead to negative effects in their socialization with other equals, leading to their lack of sense of belonging or social justice (Reyes-Hernández, 2006 in Reyes-Hernández, 2014).
We also know that video games cannot be discussed, which increases the use of violence as a solution.
12- They present a disproportionate image of the woman’s body
In many games, sex and sensuality is an important part of the plot or story. It is usually presented to the woman as a sexual object and with bodies disproportionate to the real ones.
This image can make it assimilate in the players that the body of a woman should be that and not another (Abanes, 2008 in Reyes-Hernandez, 2014).
13- It can affect the life of the players
If you do not have control of its use, it can affect our life in a negative way; thus affecting our school performance, the family and our day to day life in general.
Recommendations for parents and educators
Once we have presented the advantages and disadvantages of the use of video games, we need to develop a section of recommendations for parents and educators regarding the use and proper purchase of video games.
- It is necessary that we attach importance to the purchase of a video game to our son to the age group to which this game is directed, in addition to the plot and history that presents, with the idea of avoiding the violent ones and choosing those that are going to learning.
- As a general rule, we have to implement a usage schedule that does not exceed the daily time. For this, we will have to expose other alternatives to the console such as the sport, the park, etc. If you play the computer, we will also follow these recommendations.
- Whenever possible, it is important that we play with them, so we will know the different games that exist and those that they like (Sánchez, Reyes and Hernández, 2000).
- If adults also play at home, it is important that children play games that they can enjoy, that is, for the whole family.
Video games are the favorite toy for both children and adults in today’s society. In 2009, annual sales rose to $ 1.9 trillion.
On a global scale in the entertainment industry with an estimated $ 690 billion dollars, Americans topped the list of video game users. Followed by the Asia-Pacific region with 432 billion and Europe 14.3 billion (García, 2012).
Of the audiovisual entertainment consumption, the use of video games accounts for 35% of the total, ahead of the cinema box office, video films and recorded music.
If we talk about Spain, in 2009, about 10.5 million Spaniards used video games. Of this figure, 62.5% were men and 37.5% were women. There are more and more players between the ages of 20 and 34 and the presence of this toy has increased in homes.
In the case of computer players, its usual user are young people who like sports games, strategy, adventures and races. While in a console, the profile is for children up to 13 years old who choose one or another video game depending on how fast and the protagonist present (Godoy, 2009).
In this article, we have presented the most well known and common advantages and disadvantages of the use of video games. At present, there are many people who use devices with which they can play and yet few are aware of the disadvantages and negative effects they may have for the people who use it.
It is important that, from home and schools, priority be given to its benefits and positive effects. As it has been proven to positively affect all people who play video games both physically and mentally.
In fact, many teachers have started using video games to teach subjects such as math, language and English in their classes.
Even so, we must remember that both fathers and mothers, have to know the diversity of video games that exist. The end will be to buy the one that best fits the age range of your child, since many times we are not aware of what that game consists of or if it really is the most appropriate.
Finally, note that it is important from home to discuss the most suitable timetables for the use of video games, both for the child and for the adult in order to make good use and maximize its benefits.