Why Do People Play Computer Games Psychology Essay


Video and computer games, like many popular, entertaining and addicting kid activities are looked down upon by many parents as time-wasters, and worse, parents think that these games rot the brain. Also, the media and some experts readily blame violent video games as the reason why some youth become violent or commit extreme anti-social behavior. But many scientists and psychologists find that video games actually have many benefits. Video games may actually teach kids high-level thinking skill that they will need in the future.

Video games give your child’s brain real workout. In many video games, the skills required to win involve abstract and high level thinking. These skills are not even taught at the school. Some of the mental skills trained by video games include hand-eye coordination, fine motor and spatial skill. In shooting games, the character may be running and shooting at the same time. This requires the real-world player to keep track of the position of the character, where he/she is heading, their speed, where the gun is aiming, if the gunfire is hitting the enemy, and so on. All these factors need to be taken into account, and then the player must then coordinate the brain’s interpretation and reaction with the movement in their hands and fingertips. This process requires a great deal of eye-hand coordination and visual-spatial ability to be successful. Researches also suggest that people can learn iconic, spatial, and visual attention skills from video games. There have been even studies with adults showing that experience with video games is related to better surgical skills. Also, a reason given by the experts as to why fighter pilots of today are more skillful is that the generation’s pilots are being weaned on video games.

Sometimes the player does this almost every second of the game giving the brain real workout. According to researchers at the University of Rochester, led by Daphne Bavelier, a cognitive scientist, games simulating stressful events such as those found in battle or action games could be a training tool for real-world situations. The study suggests that playing action video games primes the brain to make quick decisions. Video games can be used to train soldiers and surgeons, according to the study.

It can test your hypothesis and Inductive reasoning based to James Paul Gee, Professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he said that playing video games is similar to working through a science problem. Like students in a laboratory, gamers must come up with the hypothesis. For example, players in some games constantly try out combinations of weapons and powers to use to defeat an enemy. If one does not work, they change hypothesis and try the next one. Video games are goal-driven experiences, says Gee, which are fundamental to learning.

Simulation, real world skills. The most well known simulations are flight simulators, which attempt to mimic the reality of flying a plane. All the controls, including airspeed, wing angles, altimeter, and so on, are displayed for the player, as well as a visual representation of the world, and are updated in real time.

Video games introduce your kid to computer technology and the online world. You should recognize that we are now living in a high-tech, sophisticated world. Video games make your kid adapt and be comfortable with the concepts of computing. This is particularly important for girls who typically are not interested in high technology as much as boys.

Video games allow you and your kid to play together and can be a good bonding activity. Some games are attractive to kids as well as adults, and they could be something that they share in common. When your child knows more than you, he can teach you how to play and this allows you to understand your child’s skills and talents.

Finally, and this is controversial, violent video games may act as a release of pent-up aggression and frustration of your kid. When your kid vents his frustration and anger in his game, this diffuses his stress. Games can provide a positive aggression outlet the same way as football and other violent sports.

Video games also can teach important skills or address serious issues, Organizations such as Games for Change promote the use of games for education and social action, and often involve kids in the creation of games they can use to express themselves on important issues and current events. Some medical professionals, such as Doctor Kourosh Dini, also feel that “age appropriate multi-player video games can allow children to learn how other people think. A key aspect of empathy. Games can also help a child become more comfortable with new and ever progressing technology.”

Recent studies have shown that video games can have a positive or negative effect on how players behave. Depending on the content. Pro social games can increase empathy, co-operation, helping and emotional awareness, while violent games can diminish these traits.

Video games are not all violent, but most of them are, and many of them are pretty gruesome. It has been estimated that up to 89% of games contain some violent content. People are concerned that violent games might be causing young people to become violent and there is some evidence to support this. Studies have shown that violent games can increase physiological arousal, increase aggressiveness thoughts and emotions, increase aggressive behavior, and reduce helping behavior (where people become less likely to help other).

These effects seem to be stronger in young people who already tend to be aggressive. It has been argued that more hostile or aggressive young people will be attracted to violent games, and that it is not the games causing the problem. However, even taking into account the person’s hostility, it is clear that exposure to violent games causes increased aggressive behavior (as indicated by things like the degree to which they get into physical fights or argue with teachers).

Desensitization to violence has been suggested as part of the problem. Desensitization is when someone gradually begins to feel that violence is normal. When games reward players for doing violent actions, it is easy to see how this could happen.

For most teens, playing video games is just another recreational activity they enjoy with friends. The concern is when video game playing becomes an addictive or isolating activity.

According to a Harris Interactive poll released in January of 2007, 23% of gamers surveyed reported that they felt addicted to video games.

Some teens are heavy users of only role-playing games (RPGs) such as World of Warcraft and multiplayer games such as Call of Duty in which they interact with other players in real time. Students will often neglect schoolwork and other aspects of their daily lives when they become immersed in these games. While it remains unclear whether this can be termed an “addiction,” the American Medical Association has identified “video game overuse” as a behavior, and may include it in a future edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Children who are heavy users of video games may also be getting less exercise and develop poor eating habits. Make sure that your teen is getting outside and not snacking too much on unhealthy foods while gaming.

If you are concerned about the amount of your time your teen is spending on video games, keep in mind that it is normal for young people to throw themselves enthusiastically into hobbies. Consider the effect your teen’s gaming is having on his or her life.

People can become addicted to games. Young gamers have shown similar symptoms to people who have drug or alcohol dependence. An ability to stop playing, and withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, agitation) if they go without access to their gaming “fix”.

Gamers also report that they play games to escape things like family or personal problems. In a similar way to people who use drugs or alcohol to escape their problems.

There have been reports of adults that play so much they neglect their families. There are even support groups for family members of people with an addiction to one game in particular.

Computer gaming is much maligned at times for the level of violence in some games and for the amount of time that is claims that could be put to more productive uses. Some advantages of gaming are that it has educational applications, increase visual processing of information and teaches problem solving skills.

Violence in games has an unquestionable negative effect on players, making them more likely to be violent themselves, according to Craig Anderson of the American Psychological Association. He points out that experiments in the lab and in the field, and longitudinal and cross-sectional studies have all shown this to be true. The interactive nature of the games makes them more influential in teaching violence that more passive media like television or books.

Time spent in front of the computer has increased fir kids 8 to 18, and media use now stands at an average of 7.5 hours per day, taking into account computers, televisions and other media, as reported in a study by the Kaiser Foundation. Much of the time is spent multitasking or combining TV and video games, for example. Half surveyed said they had a computer game console of their own on their room. In addition time spent reading has decreased.

Games have educational uses, for example, teaching economic skills like negotiating and purchasing strategies, and are used in college level economics courses to do so. For example, many games allow players to accumulate points or money and then purchase things that will advance their interest in the game. These features simulate markets, and in fact can become commodities outside the game.

Gaming teaches problem solving skills. Players are given a set of rules to follow and must figure out the best strategy for achieving the goals set in the gaming context. If the game has multiple players or teams, the problem solving is done in a social context, which teaches people to communicate and cooperate.

Computer game addiction generally refers to an excessive, unhealthy amount of playing computer games. Rather than engaging in the real world, an addicted user devotes the majority of his or her time to gaming. The addicted gamer often isolate him/herself from others, ignores more important responsibilities, and is often obsessed with obtaining higher status/rankings/achievements in his/her favorite computer game.

According to the DSM-IV (the current manual for classifying emotional, psychological, and mental disorders), No. Although there have been calls from some mental health professionals and parents to recognize computer game addiction as a “real” disorder, it has not been granted official diagnostic status. As more research on the effects of excessive gaming is conducted, many believe that it is only a matter of time before computer game addiction is classified as a compulsive behavior similar to gambling addiction.

Because there is no official diagnosis of computer game addiction, there is obviously no universally agreed upon list of symptoms. Psychologists and other mental health professionals initially adapted the diagnostic criteria for gambling addiction and used this as a rough assessment tool for computer game addiction. This classification approach is rarely used today and for better or for worse, it is essentially up to the individual researcher or clinician to define the symptoms of computer addiction.

Depending on the research methodology and the definition of computer addiction used, estimates range from 2 to 10% of all children who play video games. More accurate and consistent estimates should be possible if formal diagnostic criteria for computer game addiction are introduced.

Because computer game addiction is a new development in the world of mental health, treatments are not as well established as those for depression, anxiety, anger, and etc. most interventions take a cognitive-behavioral approach, which involve changing how the addict thinks about the addiction (for example, recognizing cognitive distortions designed to convince the gamer that it is not a problem), and simultaneously changing his/her behaviors (for example, setting strict limits for play, taking care of other responsibilities before gaming, using game blocking software of devices, and etc.) treatment can take a variety of forms including:

Individual therapy

Individual therapy with a psychologist who specializes in treating computer game addiction or who has experience with addictions in general. Treatment is tailored to the individual player and is based on established psychological principals and interventions.

Family therapy

Especially if the addicted player is a child or younger teen. Computer game addiction almost always affects other family members, and the chance for recovery is increased if these members are involved in treatment and are working together toward mutually agreed upon goals.

Wilderness therapy

Wilderness therapy in which the addicted gamer enters an outdoor treatment program focused on survival skills, team building, goal setting, and developing self-confidence. The programs typically last at least thirty days and the participants have absolutely no access to video games and limited access to other technologies.

Although somewhat similar to the symptoms of computer game addiction, the negative consequences of excessive gaming are often divided into five main categories:

Social Consequences

As a computer game addict spends more time gaming, he/she tends to spend less time interacting with others in person. As such, he/she may lack face-to-face human contact, experience isolation and loneliness, and the loss of friends or relationships.

Academic/Career Consequences

Children and teens that are addicted to computer games very often experience falling grades and decreased academic performance and dedication. Completing homework, studying for tests, and efforts during school become very low priorities. Adults who are addicted to computer games may experience a similar deterioration in work performance, job dedication, and career aspirations.

Financial Consequences

Adults and teens may spend large amounts of money on new games, expansion pack, micro-transaction, service fees, and computer upgrades. In extreme cases, jobs may be lost due to poor work performance, playing while at work, and frequent absences.

Family Consequences

Computer game addiction often leads to deterioration in family relationships. Tension and conflict between family members escalates as requests to cut back or stop are ignored. The addicted player may initially deny that a problem exists, try to hide how much he/she plays, and accuse the other of trying to “control” his/her life. Parents of addicted children may disagree on how to address the problem. Which may lead to frequent arguments and conflicts.

Health Consequences

Computer game addicts may neglect personal hygiene, have poor sleep habits, give up healthy physical activities, and may make meal decisions based on quick and easy preparation so that gaming is not interrupted rather than dietary needs.

Emotional/Psychological Consequences

Those addicted to computer games may experience depressed mood, low self-esteem, social anxiety, low frustration tolerance, anger, and feelings of guilt and shame for not being able to control their gaming habits. Of note, it seems likely that difficulties in other areas can cause and be caused by computer game addiction.

Is computer game addiction different from video game addiction, online addiction, and Internet Addiction?

Yes, because computer game addiction refers to excessively playing games on a PC. Most often these games are of the MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) or the FPS (First Person Shooter) genre. Competing online with and against other players is a significant factor in what makes these particular genres more addictive than others.

Video game addiction refers to excessive play on computer, home consoles, or handheld system.

The terms Internet addiction and online addiction are occasionally used to describe computer game addiction, but more appropriately describe excessive web surfing, email checking, instant messaging, Facebook use, or downloading movies, images, or music

Do you think it is okay to play computer games?

Yes, most people can and do play computer games but in moderation. They play games for casual entertainment, as a way to relax, and to socialize with friends. However, there are those who are far more likely to become addicted to computer games. For these people, certain games (very often Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO)) appear to present a high risk for addiction and may need to be avoided or banned in order to prevent unhealthy gaming habits.




Approximately 250 words