I truly believe that the psychological development and skills that children receive while playing sports can be achieved by playing video games. Maybe those skills won’t be as advanced as a child who physically plays sports but nonetheless they would have it. A Forbes article entitled, “New Research Emphasizes Gaming’s Positive Impact on Psychological Development” by Jordan Shapiro proves that video games help promote positive psychological development in children. He writes, “The study points out that video game play satisfies the same criteria for “positive youth development,” as traditional organized activities such as sports teams, arts, clubs, and hobbies: “(1) intrinsic motivation, (2) concentration and cognitive effort, and (3) cumulative effort over time to achieve a goal.” These three points are also attributed and associated with playing sports. I don’t see why playing sports video games can’t enhance these skills so that they can be transferred to the actual sport.
For many years people have felt that children who played video games were socially awkward. They assumed that they were locked up in the house all day playing senseless games. In fact, playing video games promotes social interaction. In Jesse Meixsell’s article, ” Video Games are good for you: The positive Effects of Video Games”, Meixsell says, “The assumption is that kids who play video games often are subject to social withdrawal and may develop an addiction. Studies prove the opposite, that when introduced to games at a young age, in a group, video games can be a great source of social interaction. Gaming at a young age can help develop critical thinking skills. In other words, kids who pay attention to a string of events in a video game are very likely to apply this to their real lives later on.” Meixsell’s article also speaks about the physical advantage that video games promote which is also what I wanted to write about in my paper.
Competence, autonomy, and relatedness are the three invisible needs that Ben Reeves says gamers search for when they play video games. These are there needs that people who don’t play video games also need and desire. In his article, “Why People Play Video Games”, Reeves acknowledges that playing video games is work. It requires a certain amount of attention and focus in order to achieve the goal desired. He writes, “Aside from the physical benefits of gaming, video games excel at setting clear goals and showing a player’s progression towards those goals”. Like many of us already know, educational video games are not very interesting. But Reeves does mention that video games can be the building block to a better future.
With this article, I hope to support my point that video games can be used to help children with social skill like setting goals and solving challenging problems.
I thought starting off with McGonigal’s book, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, was a great way to start off this class especially for people like me who didn’t think beyond the enjoyment of video games. I was very surprised to hear about all the research that had been done on video games. After reading her book, I was convinced that McGonigal was on to something when she said, “games that are designed to improve real lives and solve real problems” (McGonigal).
The article entitled, “Want to Be Smarter? Play Video Games” by Erika Anderson analyzes the main points of McGonigal’s book in reference to video games making us better people. The main point in this article that I would like to focus on is where Anderson writes about collaboration skills. She writes, “In order to be successful in multiplayer games, players need to form alliances, work together toward common ends…”. This is the very thing I am trying to prove. Children can learn these valuable skills from playing sports video games.
There has been a stigma attached to children watching television and playing video games. Some people say that it promotes violence and obesity. Why are children wasting their time playing video games instead of being more productive? The article entitled “Virtual competition: video games, children and sport” by Anthony Sibillin supports the idea of using video games as a means to promote healthy physical and social lives for children. The article states, “…a 2002 cross-national study involving British and American children found that highly active boys were also heavy users of technology based entertainment …”. The article also says that sports based video games can be used to promote better performance in sports; “the golfing skill of putting is one of the few sporting skills to be shown to successfully transfer from screen to green. Significantly, a 2001 French study showed the transfer was greatest when the video game was played with the intention of improving the actual skill rather than for simple enjoyment…”.
The article helps me prove my point that there should be a fight for children’s time. The problem is not eliminating video games, they are here to stay. What we need to be focusing on is how to capture the attention of children with educational based video games which will serve as a supplement to what they learn in school and in a social setting.
The article “The Impact of Participation in Sports on Educational Attainment: New Evidence from Germany” by Thomas Corneliben and Christian Pfeifer is about how sports can encourage education and lead to better lifestyles. The author of this article writes about the physical education system in Germany and how the children there cannot graduate secondary school unless they finish “Gymnasium”. Clearly they view sports as being more than physical education. They understand that is is necessary in order to have a well rounded child. The article states, “First, the better health status of athletes could increase productivity and lead to more investments in human capital, because healthier people will probably have a longer life span and, hence, a longer amortization period. Second, sport does not only train functional skills like dexterity and balance but it also teaches soft skills like taking orders, leadership, teamwork, performing in a regulated system, and socialization…form the character of young people because it teaches behavioral habits like motivation, discipline, tenacity, competitive spirit, responsibility, perseverance, confidence, and self-esteem, which cannot always be acquired in classroom” (4).
This article states exactly what I’m trying to prove in my article. However they claim that watching t.v. are considered are habits. I am hoping that I will be able to either prove that children can learn all these things from video games or that video games promote these skills and habits.