The Effect of Videogames on Student Achievement

free essayVideo games are a unique material, worth being studied. They play both negative and positive role on people engaged. Parents usually tend to think that video games have a negative impact on their children. They accept the point of view that video games corrupt their children’s brains and prevent them from achieving future success. People usually blame video games as their children may become aggressive and violent due to numerous violence scenes seen in games. However, many scholars are stating that video games have a positive effect also. This positive effect can be more valuable rather than the negative once.

In order to establish the impacts that video games have on children, it is necessary to define the meaning of the notion in question along with their types. According to Sigmund and Fletcher (2011), video games are unitary category that can play both positive and negative effects. There are different types of video games. Sigmund and Fletcher (2011), stated that “the category of ‘video game’ is what Wittgenstein (1953), called a ‘family resemblance’ concept” (Sigmund and Fletcher, p. 224). Video games can be casual and those that are played by non-casual players. The scholars also defined “problem games”, which are focused on single problem, and “world games”, which are aimed to resolve multiple problems (Sigmund and Fletcher, p. 224). There are different types and sorts of video games available. Video games can be largely divided into real-time-strategy games, first-person shooters, adventure games, sports games, god games, platform games, role-playing games and others (Sigmund and Fletcher 224).

Games of different genres can play both negative and positive role. A game can motivate a player or on the contrary demotivate. A gamer can develop addiction to the game or can just play it once and forget about the game after. Thus, it is very important to establish the effect that video games have on students.

People usually state that, in general, video games have negative effects. First, the students can become violent once starting to play video games. Second, the students can become socially isolated. Third, the wrong values are implanted through those video games. Fourth is the escape from reality and fantasy. Fifth, video games can affect students’ performance. Sixth is the increase in student’s concentration. Seventh, video games are alleged to causing harm to students’ health. Eighth is bad language along with behavior, which students usually adopt, when playing online games. Ninth, video games increase students’ depression and disturbance level. Tenth is the attention issue when playing video games.

Often, parents claim on the violence that games contain. It is a well-known fact that violence in video games affects students. They become more aggressive in their everyday behavior and show depressed mood. Violent video games decrease the students’ social role in the society. The following situation comes from the nature of violent video games. Most of violent video games are based on the reward system. Students are encouraged with the rewards they gain, while playing violent video games. The more violent a student, the more levels he/she will manage to pass while plying the games. The process of shooting, mass murder, battle royals is not controlled and allows students to experience the violence in his/her own eyes. Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Smith and Tosca (2008), stated that “79-85 percent of all video games contain violence, and only 5 percent contain extreme violence” (Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Smith and Tosca 240). According to Signorielli (2005), “second-grade children who played a martial arts game were more aggressive than children who played a motorcycle racing game” (37). However, there is a difference between children’s addiction and adults’ addiction. Students are prone to a short-term influence of video games rather than children, who are more prone to long-term influence. This can be explained with the fact that a students’ mind has formed already and allows him/her to pick out the good from the bad. Dowd, Singer and Wilson (2008), have indicated the meta-analytics results regarding negative effects of video games. Thus, video games are “negatively associated with helping or prosocial behavior (r=-.19)” (Dowd, Singer and Wilson232).

Students can also become socially isolated because of video games. The situation with social isolation appears when a student has bad memories from the childhood. This can be some kind of derision, inability to communicate with people. Thus, video games can play a role of retreatment from reality, in which a person builds his/her own reality and lives it. Some unpredictable experience from life can play a role of a trigger for one to go to a shell and find a consolation in the world of video games. These can be an unsuccessful experience in personal life, frustrated professional life or a personal weakness, which cannot be taken a grip on oneself.

Violent video games can often affect one’s consciousness and teach the wrong values. They can be rudeness, revenging along with the aggression. A gamer choosing negative game character is usually likely to offend people, treat women not properly and think that they are weaker and have no rights. Negotiation and other nonviolent solutions cannot be the appropriate way to handle such person.

Video games can be so fascinating that can even let a person to escape from reality and live in the world of fantasy. The situation has the consequences making a person weaker. This person will be not addicted to real life and will be sensitive even to the simpliest situation. According to Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Smith and Tosca (2008), a narrative can appear in games. They defined four ways, in which it can be appeared. These are evoked narratives, enacted, embedded and emergent narratives (Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Smith and Tosca 200). All these narratives create a space for a gamer, in which he/she can build his/her own reality that will be different from real reality.

Video games can affect the students’ performance. This issue is very important because “real” gamers often have low attention in their real life. They are engaged with the gaming process all the time. Whatever place they attend, they will always think about the game they are busy with at the moment. Their learning performance is constantly increasing and they are not capable to perceive the information that the teachers give students on their lessons. Although, some scholars state that video games decrease a student’s concentration. These two issues are inversely related with each other.

As mentioned above, video games can cause harm to students’ health. The reason is that a gamer is always involved in the gaming process. That is why a gamer plays games practically days and nights. They can forget to do their domestic responsibilities, eat etc.. Thus, it affects students’ health. A person gains slumberous feeling, under eye puffiness among other symptoms.

Students tend to fill their word stock with bad language along with behavior, when playing online games. They communicate with each other and often use swear words which eventually becomes a habit, when a person carries swear words over the gaming world to reality. Coon, Mitterer, Talbot and Vanchella (2010), stated that video games can harm a student’s brain and prevent the student’s intelligence. They stated that “for example, early video games, such as Pong or Pac Man, offered simple, repetitive visual experience” (Coon, Mitterer, Talbot and Vanchella 313). However, current video games are more complex and aimed at resolving multitasking problems and quick thinking.

Video games increase students’ depression and disturbance level. Addicted students often show social phobias. Thus, their school performance becomes more effective as they are dipped into the world of video games.

Attention also becomes an issue in question when referred to students’ video games addiction. Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Smith and Tosca (2008), discussed social learning theory in regard to video games. They stated that video games require full attention of the player, which can cause a person a decreasing his/her attention in real life as well (Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Smith and Tosca 228)

Despite all the negative effects that video games have on children it is also easy to define those positive effects of video games as a counter argument. First, video games can play a certain practice role on students, when playing them. Second, online video games can help a student be aware of the online world along with continuous developing computer technologies. Third is that students can train their traits, especially their leader traits along with work team and communication. Fourth, video games make the process of study easy and more enjoyable. Fifth, video games can promote students’ creativity. Sixth is the increasing of student’s decision making tempo. Seventh is the increasing of students’ self-confidence along with their self-respect. Eighth, video games can aim a student to be a perfect cooperative worker. Ninth, sporting video games can require a student for outdoors activity. Tenth, students have the opportunity to form a habit to resist violence while playing certain video games. Eleventh, violent video games can play a releasing role for students’ aggression and disappointment. Twelfth, video game is a good substitute to those outdoors activities that may cause a physical hurt of a student due to their violence.

Scholars have proved that video games can help students to establish the unique skills, which cannot be gained during the studying process. Miller (2008), stated that “findings showed that human brains secrete a substantial amount of dopamine during video game playing” (188). Video games can stimulate a release of dopamine while playing. “Practice stimulates the human brain to activate certain neuro-cognitive pathways that help enhance skill acquisition” (Miller, p. 188). Students often discover such skills as obeying the rules, ability to solve the problems and increase their logic in order to find the appropriate solution. They can also develop their visual-motor coordination, three dimensional skills, ability to plan and manage operations and people, synchronous following, multitask capability along with operating multiple options, quick thinking, capability to analyze the problem fast in order to its quick solution, punctuality, strategy and foresight, situational awareness, developing reading and mass skills, insistency, pattern recognition, evaluating skills, inductive argumentation, memory mapping, concentration, improve ability for tactical recognition of visual information, ability to find reasonable explanations for the certain act, opportunity to take risks and not be afraid of them and ability to be challengeable. Gamers are usually aware of how to cope with frustration along with team cooperating. Most of these skills cannot be gained during the process of study, because teachers give theoretical patterns only. Video games allow students to apply gained skills on practice while playing video games.

Computer designers set new trends within the online world. Thus, the gamers are often the first consumers of the product. This allows students to be creative in their real life and offer new excellent solutions in their performance.

Video games provide a good base for simulation of students’ leading traits. These can be strategic video games, platform games, labyrinth games and other video games, which require involvement of more than one person. Such games teach students the leading skills, because they require constant communication with every player and ability to negotiate.

Video games make the studying process easy and enjoyable. Computer designers are constantly trying to find the ways for developing different types of video games. These video games are aimed to help the students with their process of study. There are many students who do not want to achieve the knowledge or are unable to understand the way a teacher is presenting information. That is the purpose brain games have been developed for. They can be used by teachers to attract students’ attention and make them learn the topic. Parents can also use brain games to encourage their children for the learning process. Brain games have the properties of a simple game. However, they let a person to receive the information on a subconscious level.

Video games can promote students’ creativity. In order that lots of different types of video games are available at present days, such variety gives a person who is involved in the playing process a space to increase his/her own abilities. Creativity is one of the main abilities that can be developed while playing a video game. A gamer is usually involved in two or more games with different types. This variety helps a person to become more creative and use this ability in his/her daily life. For example, a creative person can achieve more professional success. This helps a person to offer the most interesting suggestions in the shortest time and be in a good position at work.

Video games can also increase students’ decision making tempo. The speed that the gamers play a video game is constantly increasing at each level. In order to become successful and achieve the top level, a gamer should learn to make quick decisions.

Playing video games positively affects students’ self-confidence and self-respect. Each victory in the game contributes to the players’ self-confidence especially in online games since each gamer has his/her own rating that can be seen for the other gamers.

Video games can aim a student to be a perfect cooperative worker. There are different types of video games. Most of them require involvement of other people, thus, people learn to work in teams, because this process requires a continuous communication and ability for cooperation. Thus, students learn to understand the nature of other person and negotiate decisions to achieve the common goal.

Sporting video games can require a student for outdoors activity. Sport video games can encourage students to attend gyms and practice some kind of sport in reality while playing a certain sport video game. For example, a martial art video game is often perceived by its players as fascinating due to speed, self-reaction, fighting. It can easily encourage every student on activities at sport clubs. Therefore, the above is a good example, which can cause students to choose sport be a part of their life rather than hanging out on the streets with the people who may have a bad influence.

The students have the opportunity to form a habit to resist violence while playing certain video games. Every student is to understand all the responsibility that he/she has in life. Even when a student is addicted to video games, he/she can perfectly understand the difference with the impact that violent video games provide on a person. Even if the student is angry with someone, he/she understands that video games can be a good substitute, in which he/she can release all the violent manifestations that he/she may achieve while communicating with people from the real life. Video games can also teach a person to resist these violent manifestations, understand his/her own characters and not allow them to appear.

Thus, violent video games can play a releasing role for students’ aggression and disappointment. In order to the fact that a student’s mind is less sensitive to addiction of video games, violent video games often play as a substitute factor where students can release frustration, disappointment and other negative emotions, which they might gain in their daily life. A student can like different shooting games, martial art games etc. According to Dowd, Singer and Wilson (2008), the impact of violent video games is “positively associated with aggressive behavior (r = .21), aggressive affect (r = .16), and aggressive cognition (r = .18)” (Dowd, Singer and Wilson232).

Video game is a good substitute to those outdoors activities that may hurt a student and cause violence. Different genres of video games have been developed. Students often choose sport games, oriented on golf playing, soccer, tennis and others. This prevents students from drugs and different violence that can be faced in real life, because they are busy with their “unreal” rife where they spend most of the leisure time.

Thus, it is difficult to predict what impact a video game can have on students. However, it is up to a teacher or a parent to decide whether they will be involved in the learning process or not. The reason is they can guide a gamer to play that particular game that will bring positive effect on him/her. Parents can try to pay more attention to the kid’s life. For example, if he/she is addicted to video games, they can start play with him/her. Thus, they will have the opportunity to share common goals in a kid’s unreal life. This will bring them closer to each other. Once it is done, each parent can easily find approaches to release a kid from that dependence. If a parent cannot manage to handle the issue, he/she can always offer a child to change the video game for another one, which will have a positive impact on the latter. In this situation, a child will be able to listen to a parent and consider his/her offer, since a parent will be conceived as a partner.

Video games can have both positive and negative effects on students. Many scholars have stated that video games have more positive effects rather than negative. Computer developers also support the issue which can be seen on the number of brain games available at present days. Video games can teach a person those unique skills that cannot be gained during the studying process. Students can use video games simulators, in which they can train their skill practically. Scholars also defined that violent video games can play positive role. They can be used as games, in which students release their aggression and not affect people in real life. However, people should not forget about those negative effects that video games have on students. These include: violence, social isolation, wrong values, escape from reality and building of the world of fantasy among others. Therefore, eligible approach here would be to to create more video games with positive effects and dispose those once with negative effect.