There's no doubt that kids and teens love video games. From first person shooters and racing games to puzzles and brain teasers, video games are notorious for drawing the attention of youngsters everywhere. Many parents and teachers worry about the negative impact video games may be having on our kids, however, with some going so far as to say that video games are quickly leading to the downfall of modern society. In an effort to back up their claims, concerned adults cite video games as the primary cause of everything from increased violence in kids to an epidemic lack of motivation, but how many of these claims are based in fact, and which ones are myths? Find out below!
Many modern video games are designed to be extremely social, and as much as 60 percent of adolescent (and adult) gamers play with friends on a regular basis. In fact, studies show that even single-player games are most commonly played with friends or family in the same room, actively engaged in the game play.
The military does, indeed, use video games for specific types of training, but the context of the training is often ignored when citing this as evidence that kids and teens who play video games are being subconsciously trained to act more aggressively. Military training involves specific goals, and the soldiers who undergo the training understand those goals, and react to the game accordingly. This is an important and notably different context than a kid sitting down to play a game for purely entertainment purposes.
There is no evidence to suggest that playing video games, in itself, decreases motivation for other activities, as long as reasonable boundaries are put in place surrounding game time.
The most common argument against video games is that kids and teens who play them, specifically video games that depict violence, are more likely to become violent and aggressive themselves, but this claim is statistically unfounded. In fact, according to federal crime statistics, violent juvenile crime is actually at a 30-year low. The number of adolescents who play video games sits at roughly 90 percent, on average, which is why many violent juvenile offenders also happen to be gamers.
On the contrary, studies show that people who play video games (both adults and adolescents) use creativity on a regular basis while navigating game play. Video games have also been shown to increase problem-solving abilities by allowing players to find creative and resourceful ways to work out problems and create solutions.
Studies show that kids and teens are easily able to separate fantasy from reality when playing games or engaging in other forms of media. In fact, this ability to make a distinction between play fighting and real combat is even seen in primates, and no evidence exists to suggest that playing video games causes desensitization to violent or aggressive behavior in real life.