Monday, November 5, 2012

Video Games and Violence

As children and adolescents, people try desperately to figure out who they are and what their role in society is. In this sensitive and critical point in their lives, it is crucial that they do not get the wrong view of roles in society. One way that children learn roles is throughout childhood play. What do many children do for play?
Play video games.
Video games are one means of giving children the wrong view of roles in society. Just like any other form of mass media, video games have become instruments in developing the identities of children (Dietz).
The roles they learn from these games influence their outlook on:
·         different personality traits
·         gender role expectations
·         violence
The Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior. 2011. Section 02 & 03 F11 Psy 1001Web. 2 Nov 2012.

In this post, I’m going to focus on violence. Instead of passively viewing violence, such as in television, the children are actively involved in it. Video games most often portray men with a stereotypical gender role, as a sexually aggressive figure who fights for the girl, probably using violence.
Young boys play the roles of this character and get tied up in it. They play these games and see this image of a man and believe that the image they see is the image they should become. Their role in play and their role in the game shapes their identity as they figure out their role in society. The players may start acting more aggressively as they try to fulfill the role as a “successful man” (Ferguson).
Some people argue that video games are good because:
·         they are an essential source of intrinsic reinforcement
·         they can help those who play them to improve hand-eye coordination
(Loftus and Loftus).

It is true that they can help reinforcement. However, what they are reinforcing is not always beneficial to them because there is more being reinforced than is blatantly obvious. Even if they have a good message to them in general, there are subthemes that are being engrained into their minds and having a negative effect on them.
It is also true that they improve hand-eye coordination. However, there are much better activities that also improve hand-eye coordination and do not have negative impacts on their socialization.
Video games are negatively impacting the youth of today and their perception of the world as they grow up. And violence is only the beginning.
Chelsea Zollinger

Obesity, Children, and the Media

This epidemic, known as childhood obesity, began in 1980; this is when the percentage of obese children in America began to rise significantly (Cuttler).  But as of 2002, that percentage has doubled from 7% to 16% in children between six and eleven years of age and for twelve to nineteen year olds the percentage has more than tripled from 5% to 16% (“Childhood Obesity”).  So now people are wondering what happened?  What has changed over the last 30 – 40 years that has caused the children of America to put on so much excess weight?

Fashion has changed since the 80s; the music has too.  America has seen several different presidents in the last 30 years and there have been new laws passed in Congress.  But there is one change that has truly influenced how we live in this country: the media. 

There are two ways that the media has an effect on childhood obesity: children are spending more time watching television instead of being physically active (Juster, Ono, and Stafford) and many of the ads on the television are advertising for foods that are high in calories and low in nutritional value (“Childhood Obesity”).  This surplus of food advertisements in the media has a huge influence on a child’s food intake.  The research that has been accumulating since the 1980s suggests there is a definite link between children’s viewing of food advertisements and the increased rate of childhood obesity (“Childhood Obesity”).  This link is made even clearer once you realize that the average child is now seeing more than 40,000 commercials every year compared to 20,000 in the 1970s (Roberts and Foehr).

But somehow there are many people who still believe that the media is not the main cause.  Many people in society believe that the only cause of the obesity epidemic is that kids are  not getting enough physical activity (Mota).  The point that these studies are missing is what the children are doing instead of getting physical activity; they are sitting at home watching TV for four or more hours each day (Roberts and Foehr).  And while they are watching those four hours of TV they are being bombarded with media that is all about food (and it’s usually not promoting fruits and vegetables) (“Childhood Obesity”). 

So next time you go to watch TV, pay attention to what you are being shown and determine whether or not you want the children of America to be exposed to such high concentrations of food related media.

Can Facebook Make You Blue?
“Facebook depression” may have been a term you’ve seen. Or, perhaps like me, you only had this sense that Facebook leads to depression, but didn’t know where you had heard it. The fact is, since the release of a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics claiming Facebook can lead to depression (O’Keefe), reports of “Facebook depression” have been circling around the news. “With in-your-face friends' tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times, Facebook pages can make some kids feel even worse if they think they don't measure up” reported NBCnews (Tanner).

This would be concerning, if it were true. However, not long after the release of AAP’s report, a study done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found no link between Facebook usage and depression. The conclusion of the report includes these words: “At present, advising adolescent patients or parents on the risks of “Facebook depression” may be premature” (Jelenchick). Additionally, a recent study was released in the International Journal of Research Studies in Educational Technology, which found no relation between Facebook use and depression in Filipino adolescents (Datu).
With the release of the AAP’s report, it was also noted that Facebook depression would especially affect those teens that already had a low self-image. In this sense, it could be argued that Facebook can be detrimental to adolescent mental health. However, in another study conducted by, among others, the researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison study, it was found that students tend to post “statuses” indicating depression. As such, the study suggests that “social networking sites could be an innovative avenue for…identifying students at risk for depression” (Moreno).

So before you shut down your Facebook page to avoid depression, consider the data. If you are a mentally healthy, at least somewhat social human being, post and browse away.

Diana Tanner

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Isolation of Video Games

In an August 2011 New York Times article titled “The Kids Are Not All Right,” Joe Bakan wrote, “A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study reports that children spend more hours engaging with various electronic media -- TV, games, videos and other online entertainments -- than they spend in school." This simple statement makes a powerful impact--are the children of America spending more time plugged into the tv than they are at school? 
Since children’s primary opportunities for socializing occur at school, it’s a likely possibility that they really do spend more time with virtual friends than with real ones. Excessive video game use may be encouraging or even creating antisocial behavior in children. Parents, teachers, friends, and siblings need to combat this by making an effort to spend time with the children in their lives, enabling the kids to learn good social skills and acceptable behaviors.

            Everyone is affected by an overuse of video games, but children are especially susceptible. What children learn during their first several years of life is critical to their ability to develop and grow in a normal way. If, during this important time, they spend more time playing video games than they do socializing with others people, like family members, it will negatively affect the way they are able to befriend and interact with others. We’re going to end up with a generation of children with excellent hand-eye coordination and no social skills whatsoever.

          It would be dangerous to oversimplify this issue, since different forms and types of video games promote and teach different things. But it would also be dangerous to assume that educational video games can take the place of personal relationships. In light of new research in support of educational video games, it becomes increasingly easy to let children spend more and more time in front of a screen, cut off from all others forms of human life. Despite the potential educational value of some video games, children need to spend time with others to create a healthy balance in their developing lives and susceptible minds.

The Future of Children, a website published by Princeton University, has posted some interesting research on this topic and related subjects. In one online journal titled “Children and Electronic Media,” Barbara J. Wilson wrote, “Some media messages can teach children positive, pro-social lessons, while others can lead children to be fearful or even to behave antisocially.” Based on this information, it’s safe to say that the amount of time children spend playing video games needs to be carefully monitored and balanced with plenty of interaction with other people.
While video games can teach children everything from math and science to coping mechanisms and friendship, an overabundance of electronic face time can rob children of valuable social learning experiences and harm their ability to progress. 

By Katherine Cutchins

Friday, November 2, 2012

Works Cited

Arthur, Will. “The Blogger.” 25 Jan 2011. Online Image. Flickr. 4 Nov 2012.

Barbara J. Wilson. “Media and Children’s Fear, Aggression, and Altrusim.” Volume 18 Number 1 Spring 2008. Web. 3 Nov. 2012.

Be Smart; Be Well, , prod. Childhood Obesity: What Is It?. 2009. Web. 5 Nov 2012.


Cuttler, Leona. "Childhood Obesity: Facts and Concepts as a Foundation for Policy and Action."

The Center for Child Health and Policy at Rainbow. Ohio, . Lecture.

Datu, Jesus Alfonso D, Jana Patricia Valdez, and Nino Datu. “Does Facebooking Make Us Sad?             Hunting Relationship Between Facebook Use and Depression Among Filipino         Adolescents.” International Journal of Research Studies in Educational Technology 1.2       (2012): 83-91. Web. 28 Oct. 2012.

Faizha, Keyla. Childhood Obesity. 2011. Early Childhood EducationWeb. 5 Nov 2012.

 “F logo.” Online image. Web. 2 Nov 2012.

Jelenchick, Lauren A., Jens C. Eickhoff, and  Megan A. Moreno. “’Facebook Depression?’ Social             Networking Site Use and Depression in Older Adolescents.” Journal of Adolescent Health (2012): n. pag. Academic Search Premier. Web. 30 Oct 2012.

J. Ferguson, Christopher. Video Games and Youth Violence: A Prospective Analysis in Adolescents. Springer Science+Business Media. 2010. Web. 2 Nov. 2012. <>.

Joel Bakan. “The Kids Are Not All Right.” Web. 3 Nov. 2012.

Juster, F. Thomas, et al. "CHANGING TIMES OF AMERICAN YOUTH: 1981-2003." Institute

for Social Research University of Michigan. Michigan,

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Loftus, Geoffrey, and Elizabeth Loftus. Mind at Play. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1983. Print.

L. Dietz, Tracy. An Examination of Violence and Gender Role Portrayals in Video Games: Implications for Gender Socialization and Aggressive Behavior. University of Central Florida. 1998. Web. 2 Nov. 2012. <>. Admin. Photograph. Web. 3 Nov. 2012.

“Media Impacts Children’s Self-Image & How They See Others.” Web. 3 Nov. 2012.

Moreno, Megan A., Lauren A. Jelenchick, Katie G. Egan, Elizabeth Cox, Henry Young, Kerry E. Gannon, and Tara Becker. “Feeling Bad on Facebook: Depression Disclosures by College Students on a Social Networking Site.” Depression and Anxiety 28.6 (2011): 447-455. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Oct. 2012.

Mota, Jorge. "Human Ecology." Human Ecology. 13 (2005): n. page. Web. 1 Nov. 2012.

< Volume-Journal/JHE-00-Special



O’Keefe, Gwenn Schurgin, and Kathleen Clark-Pearson. “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families.” Pediatrics 127.4 (2011): 800-804. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. Luiszena. “Addicted to Nintendo.” Photograph. Web. 3 Nov. 2012.

Roberts, Donald F., and Ulla G. Foehr. Kids and Media in America. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.

Shu, Jennifer. Foster care for obese kids: Drastic measure, preventable problem. CNNHealth

Living Well , 14 2011. Web. 30 Oct 2012.



Tanner, Lindsey. “Docs warn about teens and 'Facebook depression'.” Associated Press,             29 March 2011. Web. 30 Oct 2012

The Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior. 2011. Section 02 & 03 F11 Psy 1001Web. 2 Nov 2012.

United States. Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Childhood Obesity. Washington

D.C.: , Web. <>. Photograph. Web. 3 Nov. 2012.