Whether we admit it or not, we essentially live in a cyber world today. At least that is what holds for citizens of modern urban cultures where almost everything is computer-operated. For entertainment, more than anything else, ours is the age of video games. Not only kids but people of different age groups, including may middle-aged people, love to spend a good deal of time playing games on their computer or mobile devices. Over the years, concerns over the damaging effects of video games on the physical and psychological health of their users have grown.
Mostly, concerns are raised over the violent nature of many games, their potential for inculcating a violent attitude in the user’s personality. What then are some of the main qualities that would keep critics happy besides arresting the interest of players?
One main feature of games winning critical appreciation is the absence or minimum use of violent content. For kids in particular, violent video games have been criticized frequently for potentially leading to violent behavior sooner or later. While there is no consensus among the researchers over this claim, a number of studies have concluded that violent video games either encourage violence directly or more indirectly by desensitizing the children to the horrors of violence. In other words, they make kids get used to the violence in which they participate in the virtual environment.
At the same time, research has found that peaceful video games lead to happier children. Children playing games like “Lemmings”, for example, were found to be better able to come up with positive solutions for problems than those playing “Tetris”.
Secondly, video games that highlight amelioration of environment get positive feedback from critics. It was the eco-friendly nature of “Plan It Green” that won positive reviews from reviewers around the world, besides the game’s potential for boosting planning and mental mapping of events. It is common knowledge that our time is one of high value placed on green technology and education. For those looking for invention ideas for kids, green videogames may be a better bid due to greater sponsorship or funding possibilities by environmental-friendly businesses.
Another important consideration to keep in view is the rights of non-human living members of community – in other words, animals. Video games portraying violence toward animals may arouse criticism or even voices of protest. A recent example is “Grand Theft Auto V”, of Rockstar Games, which is being condemned for encouraging violence toward animals and animal rights advocates are asking for its boycott. On the contrary, up on its release in 2009, “The Sim 3” won great acclaim for being the most animal-friendly video game of the year.
Finally, the language used in a game matters a lot, especially with young children who are still in the learning phase of their language they use daily. Foul language and expletives are not received positively by critics, and those who are well-learned and care about positive values in children. Many researchers in fact regard foul language as verbal aggression and as damaging to a child’s personality as physical aggression, whether children are exposed to it via TV or via video games.
With speculations that video games may soon be taking over the American culture as the leading sport, leaving behind even the most popular sports, maintaining positive, constructive learning aspects of video games are the main concerns of critics and behavior experts. The above mentioned features are some of the several ways in which video games can be designed positively to cultivate desirable habits and thought patterns in children as they find themselves in a culture flooded with video games.
About the Author
Edward Lakatis run and writes for Idea Design Studio, an invention development company. He is passionate about all things related to invention, and helping other inventor’s realize their products’ potentials. More of Edward’s writing can be found on http://ideadesignstudio.com/