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


  1. I thought your post was great. You do a good job of addressing the opposing viewpoint and refuting it. You also thoroughly explain your argument. One suggestion I have however, is to change your first paragraph a little bit. You give a quote from Bakan, and then immediately following it you ask the question that quote just addressed. It feels a little redundant and weakens the quote itself. You have a solid argument overall and a well written post.

    -Hunter Rees

  2. Hunter--
    Thanks for the comment. I feel validated, and I appreciate the constructive feedback. I'll definitely revise the first paragraph! Thanks again!

  3. Your side of the argument is made very clear but you could include a bit more of yourself in there still. I think that the beginning is a bit of an awkward set-up. Make it more attention-grabbing and make it clear from the start what your topic is rather than beginning with the title of some article from some person. Overall though, a great post. Your visuals add some great aesthetic appeal and break up your text nicely too.

  4. I loved that you talked about the solution!! I applaud you. I did not find room in my blog to discuss a solution. Well done. You have causes, effects, and solutions. That's awesome.
    I'm not sure how the first post about school and videogames leads into isolation. You make the connection about socializing happening in school, but school wouldn't get longer if they stopped playing videogames. That study is probably unusable is your argument is about videogames and social ability.
    You could break up your paragraphs into smaller, easier to manage chunks for the internet audiences of today, and your pictures of kids playing videogames together takes away from your argument about videogames removing social time.
    I'm still impressed with all that you managed to fit. You even have a bit about why this hurts kids so much. You fit a lot in here. Well done.
    Ammon Mayfield

  5. Heather--
    Yeah, looking back I definitely agree about the beginning. One of those things that doesn't look bad until after you've already submitted it, I suppose. I'll definitely work on fixing that up in my paper. Thanks for the feedback!

  6. Ammon--
    Thanks! I appreciate that you noticed, it was tough to get it in there. As to the first paragraph, as previously mentioned, it does indeed need some changing and I'll make it more clear. Thanks for your feedback about the study and the pictures!

  7. I like the strong diction choices in your concluding sentences. Be careful to avoid slippery slope arguments. Video games won't necessarily lead to a whole generation of uncoordinated people. I don't know if I completely agree with your interpretation of the Princeton quote. You make a clear jump from how video games can affect children to saying that video games should be monitored and balanced. Guide your reader through your argument. I think you should talk more about how video games hinder the development of children instead of simply stating that it does.