THE BLOG
11/07/2013 01:27 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Impact of Video Games on This Generation

Let's face it, most people of this new generation will grow on video games as I did. Video games have become the new normal in media as television and movies were in the past, and the video game industry will continue to rake in the profits.

Many parents seem horrified by video games for a number of reasons, but they fail to recognize that there are some positives from the games as well. For example, video games encourage problem solving skills and logical reasoning, which in fact allows children to solve puzzles creatively, both literally and figuratively. Video games have been shown to increase hand-eye coordination and motor skills, and even has been shown to improve quick thinking.

According to researchers at the University of Rochester, games simulating stressful events are a useful tool for real world situations, and allows the brain to make quick decisions, something necessary for a child's development. One of the benefits of video games that seems to be rarely talked about is aiding in learning how to type. Video games provide an incentive structure for typing, as better typing ability allows greater performance in the games. Not only this, but it allows for greater reading comprehension and inductive reasoning through these means.

Knowing this then what are the harms of video games? It seems like the cons of video games are more prevalent in the mainstream press, as typically the audience is geared toward an older segment of the population. That being said there are certainly harms, as a report by the Surgeon General stated that video games can make children more fearful and less sensitive to pain. Does that mean that children are at a far higher risk of being violent if they play video games?
Well no, as the violent juvenile crime rate in the U.S. has decreased as video game sales have gone up. The arrest rate for juvenile murders has fallen from 71.9 percent between 1995 and 2008 to 49.3 percent, and during this time period video games sales increased tremendously. Despite that it is quite possible that children will not have the same type of social development if they spend a large amount of their time playing video games which can be concerning. Video games, in fact, decrease violence, but there are still concerning factors within video games such as decreased attention, lack of physical activity among others.

So what should one's relation to video games be in this ever changing world? To have an absolute response in either direction is detrimental to a child's well being. Parents should encourage their children to partake in physical activity of course and focus more on education than video games however video games can become part of this. There are many educational video games, and games that encourage physical activity and to slowly ease a child into this only serves to benefit them. This way the child will learn that video games are not a taboo, but at the same time not become dependent on them as many children are today. With video games, as with most things in life, there must be a balancing act between reality and a virtual world.