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The Harsh Truth: The Impact of Video Games

Common misconception about video games | Sadanov Mukhammad

Video games are one of the most misunderstood forms of entertainment. In one sense, it's easy to see why: if you haven't had much interaction with them, watching someone play one can be a pretty unsettling experience. Gamers can often give the impression that they're glued to the screen , absorbed in the digital equivalent of junk food. However, the reality is somewhat more complex.

For example, a long-standing claim is that violent games can cause players to become more aggressive in the real world. Video games often take centre stage in the constant media analysis of acts of aggression, with claims that not only do violent people play violent games, but that they were driven to some act of aggression because they play games.

Another claim relates to addiction. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) formally included 'gaming disorder in its diagnostic manual, the International Classification of Diseases, for the first time. It was a decision that ignited a furious debate in the academic community. One group of scholars argued that such a diagnostic label would provide greater access to treatment and financial help for those experiencing genuine harm from playing video games. Others argued that the scientific evidence for gaming addiction simply wasn't accurate or meaningful enough.

Another issue is social isolation. The stereotypical view of a gamer is a heavy-eyed, pale-faced teenager playing alone in their bedroom. It's understandable that something about that situation seems unhealthy or unnatural, but this view usually comes from a misunderstanding of what video games really are. From their initial inception, the aim of video games was to provide social experiences. Whereas in the first 30 or so years of their existence this was restricted to people playing multiplayer games in person, the advent of high-speed internet access means increasingly that these interactions are moving online. Rather than isolating people, online gaming has the potential to unite people in many new ways and to form close-knit communities based around common interests and hobbies.

Another criticism aimed at video games is that they're a meaningless waste of time. There's a games are the root cause of many societal ills, yet also consider them to be pointless. Why play certain illogicality to the notion, in a way: somehow, we are able simultaneously to worry that them when you could go outside, or engage in more culturally fulfilling art forms? But this comes from a misunderstanding about the creative power that games possess.

Finally, video games are more than purely entertainment. Now, in part because of their power to draw us in, video games are actually being utilized in the course of scientific study. The best examples achieve two things:

They act as fertile ground for gathering valuable scientific information, while at the same time providing an exciting gaming adventure.


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