I've had a very strong opinion about video games for a while - they're completely worthless, addictive (thanks a lot gamification), and unproductive. Sound negative enough? Well good, I meant it that way. I deal with so many youth that lack so much in the areas of communication, confidence, leadership, and enthusiasm. These young people could be so much better...but they waste so much of their time in front of screens, gaming away their lives.
Well, I've had a change of heart (not a total change of change of mind). Cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier has helped me understand the positive effects of video games.
Daphne explains how fast-paced video games affect the brain. She delivers surprising news about how video games, even action-packed shooter games, can help us learn, focus and, fascinatingly, multitask.
Even in her own life, she credits video games as the primary influence in her becoming the avid reader that she is today. She explains, "I doubt that I'd have ever become such an avid reader without this influence, and I most certainly credit this change in my interests in leading me to be more intelligent and successful today than I would have been otherwise."
We both agree that some video gaming can be detrimental - citing the 80 hour a week basement-dwelling MMO addicts (you know a loser kid like this), however, some video gaming in moderation (even up to 20-25 hours a week and ), given it's not interfering with the more important things, is healthy.
Paul Hill, Ph.D.
I design, plan, and evaluate economic development programs for Utah State University.
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