Theoretical Framework Video Games

September 22, 2017 | Author: Diego Magana | Category: Adolescence, Violence, Video Games, Psychology & Cognitive Science, Behavioural Sciences
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Theoretical Framework

Rebeca Orellana Nestor Ramos Erick Oliva Guillermo Salazar Carlos Solórzano Jonathan Mendoza Diego Magaña

Tito Martínez September 24th, 2015 Escuela Cristiana Oasis

Do Video Games Affect Teenager’ Personality in Santa Ana? There has been a lot of debate on how videogames affect teenagers’ personality and other areas, or if it does not affect it at all, but the matter has never been truly settled. While we can say that videogames definitely affect teenagers’ life, we are not yet capable of determining exactly how they affect it. There are several positions about this issue, and we will explore them in depth in the following theoretical framework. We are basing our research on the following hypothesis: “The effect videogames have on teenagers’ personality is related to the amount of time they spend on them and the type of videogames they play.” We hypothesized that, while inherent personality traits and other factors might be important, the variables that have the most notable effect on teenagers’ personality, and in other areas of their lives, in Santa Ana are the amount of time they spend playing videogames and the types of videogames they play. The videogame industry has been steadily growing in recent years. Nowadays, with cultural globalization, it is very easy for the video game market to be present everywhere, as is the case in Santa Ana, where it is now normal for young people to have a console of any brand for their entertainment. Knowing how susceptible to outside influences teenagers are, it is important to know the influence of video games have on the personality of teenagers in Santa Ana. Many teenagers nowadays like to play videogames, and we think it is important for them to be aware of the effects that spending too much time and energy on videogames can have on their personality and other areas of their lives. For example, we would like to find out if videogames actually have an effect on teenagers’ personalities, and if the effect varies from one type of videogame to another. Also, it would be interesting to know if videogames affect other areas of their lives such as school performance, social skills, etc., even though it is not the primary focus of the investigation.

Understanding the effects of videogames on teenagers is important because they have become a major part of many teenagers’ lives, and understanding the effects they have on them is necessary to avoid, or at least diminish, the detrimental effects they can have on them, especially because the teenagers of today will be responsible for our planet when the current generation of adults leave this world. When we play video games we lose track of time because we don’t notice the time we are spend on them, and we neglect other things we have to do, like, as a student, doing the homework assignments and studying. Some data about this problem suggests that most teenagers spend more time watching a screen than any other activity besides sleeping. Teenagers, because they are still growing up, maturing, and forming their personality, are rather easily influenced by videogames if they spend enough time on them, especially children under the age of ten. Many researchers believe that excessive gaming before age 21 can physically rewire the brain. Studies have shown that there is a relationship between aggressive outbursts and time spent playing violent videogames. Teenagers who play violent video games for long periods of time develop a more aggressive personality and usually react with violence to outside stimuli. Excessive exposure to violent video games makes teenagers’ personality more aggressive. In our society it is something common, even today, to say that video games are bad influence for young people because they make them violent, but normally such views lack true knowledge about video games and psychology. Several experts suggest, based on recent studies, that videogames do not actually have that much of an effect on teenagers by themselves, but rather that combined with certain personality traits previously inherent to some teenagers they can have an effect. For example, a teenager that has low tolerance for agreeableness and conscientiousness, is prone to violence, and has high neurotic tendencies will be more affected by violent videogames than someone who does not have these traits. Interestingly, competitive videogames were the ones that caused a more noticeable increase in violent behaviour. This position argues that it is not the videogames themselves that affects teenagers, but rather how their personalities tolerate and integrate the violence present in these videogames. Of course, there are still people who maintain the position that violent videogames produce violent changes in the teenagers’ psyche, regardless of personality traits and other factors. The Pew

Research Center reported in 2008 that more than 90% of games rated as appropriate for children 10 years or older contained violence, including games rated "E" for everyone. (Most researchers define violence as the ability of a player to intentionally harm others in a game.) There are some people that say that the effect videogames have on teenagers is dependent on various conditions. This position argues that the effect videogames have on teenagers varies from teenager to teenager and depends on three main elements: personality, situation, and motivation. As mentioned in the first position, some teenagers are more prone to be influenced by certain types of videogames than others. Videogames also have different effects depending on the situation in which they are found. When the console is found in the teenager’s room, the exposure to violent videogames is higher. Some situations, like a competitive situation, are more prone to cause violent behaviour than others. The last variable is the motivation, or reason, that causes teenagers to play videogames. Some teenagers might play videogames to escape from reality, because they provide a safe haven from the harsh reality they live in, others because they like to see violence, and the reasons go on and on. The effects that videogames have on teenagers are affected by these three variables, at least according to this position. Recent investigations conducted by Dartmouth University has caused some experts to believe that videogames do affect teenagers’ life, and not just promoting violent behaviour, but also on other areas of life such as substance abuse, delinquency, and promiscuity. According to this new study, playing character-based videogames, especially those with anti-social characters, translate to increased risk-taking behaviour and proneness to searching for immediate gratification. For example, this type of videogames cause teenagers’ to become more reckless, which in some cases causes teenagers to be involved in car accidents or get pulled over by the police for reckless driving, or they can also cause teenagers to become involved in illegal activities such as delinquency and substance abuse. Another scientific study showed that playing video games excessively stops the development of the part of the brain that helps us to relate to other people, and also studies have shown to have less grey matter than people who do not play video games. According to this position, videogames have a myriad of negative effects on young teenagers.

The effects of videogames on teenagers are not limited to their psyche; they can also affect their physical health. Players who delve too deeply into their electronic worlds can face various health risks, ranging from deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots, to severe dehydration. Another study also suggests that spending too much time playing video games deteriorates cognitive control and abilities, and it also has some sort of relationship to ADHD and other such problems, which makes it more difficult for teenagers to achieve higher grades at school. Some scientists say that playing violent video games is detrimental to teenagers’ mental health, like becoming socially isolated, moody, irritable, attempting to hide gaming activities, and, as a student, neglecting schoolwork and struggling to achieve acceptable grades.

We have only discussed the negative effects of videogames so far, so now we are going to present some positive effects of videogames on teenagers’ lives. One example of a positive effect that videogames have on teenagers is the improvement of visual and spatial skills. Usually, teenagers who play videogames are better at spotting targets, tracking movement, and have a wider range of useful field of view. Interestingly, these effects have been found to only be provided by action video games, not all types of video games. Videogames can also be used to teach. Most people think that videogames serve only as a distraction, some going as far to say that they are just a waste of time. However, videogames have proved to be very efficient teachers. When playing videogames, teenagers are presented with a series of problems that they have to solve. Educational games boost learning, and action games can improve vision and spatial skills. Video games have also been used successfully to teach children self-care skills for asthma and diabetes. And then there's the primary reason people play video games: They're relaxing. Gentile thinks the flickering screen and varying sound levels trigger a primitive brain response. "One of the reasons I think we find television and video games so relaxing is they provide the attention for you. It forces you to orient to the media. You don't have to work to pay attention like you do in [a] classroom lecture," said Gentile. This shows that video games also have positive effects on teenagers, not just negative effects. Videogames are not the only cause for personality changes in teenagers. Other forms of media, such as television and the internet, also affect teenagers’ personality. "The most interesting part is there

is really no research that suggests video games have a different effect than TV or movies. It has empirically never been shown," said Markey. "Any media is supposed to engage us emotionally, and video games are a form of media, a form of art even." We cannot determine with absolute accuracy if videogames are the cause of a teenager’s personality change, there might be other factors involved, but we do know that they have an effect on their lives, however small it is. I think we can safely say that videogames do affect teenagers’ lives, even though some positions (not discussed in this framework) say that they do not. Videogames have become a major part of teenagers’ lives, and something that plays a major role is bound to have some effects, whether they are positive or negative. There are many views about this issue, but there is not a unanimous view on the matter yet.

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