Monday, April 11, 2011

Youth Culture Update: Will Video Games Make Teens Depressed Geniuses?

Researching the affect of video games upon the teenage brain is a popular trend among researchers.  This week I read over two articles on the topic and it seems to me that there is no consensus among experts as to exactly what time in front of a screen will do to you. According to, “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids' total screen time should amount to no more than two hours a day.” (click here for source)  I find this ironic because most researchers, undoubtedly, spend most of their time in front of screens as well.  They report that, “Too much time playing video games may be bad for kids' mental health. In addition to depression, it can lead to anxiety, social phobia and poor school performance, report investigators from the Iowa State University” (Click here for source).  Did I just read that right?  Video games will melt your brain and eliminate your ability to form proper sentences?  I thought twitter did that.

On the other side of this debate, another so called “expert” reported that gaming increases IQ and creativity as well as the fact that, “Games can even teach students morals which they grasp more quickly than from books”  (Click here for source).  I’ve heard reports of educational uses of gaming (such as using the shooting game Call Of Duty which follow the course of World War 2 in a teaching environment as a tool to give those with a more interactive and visual learning style an opportunity to have another way of having historical information given to them) as well as the benefits gaming has on reflexes and coordination, however reporting that morals can be taught via gaming is something foreign to me.  Based on this research, some school are incorporating more gaming time into the school schedule.  I wonder what the American Academy of Pediatrics would have to say about that?

If we put all this research together, I suppose we would have morally superior super human geniuses with excellent reasoning skills and coordination but are depressed and socially awkward beside the fact that they occasionally drool uncontrollably.  I just wonder if maybe there are some more important things are researchers could be doing.  Maybe they should get off their computers and go play with their kids.  As a matter of fact…So should I.  I’m off.
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