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What are the Negative Effects of Video Games on Society?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 10 Nov 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
What Are The Negative Effects Of Video Games On Society?

Q.Are the 'ratings' enforced in video game stores? How are video games negatively changing our society? Are less children involved in after school activies? How many adults social lives are ruined by video games?

(Miss Amy , 15 September 2008)

A.

You’ve asked some interesting questions, one factual, the others more philosophical.Video games stores do enforce the ratings on video games, although there might be some that don’t. If they fail to and are caught, they could face prosecution, in a similar way to shops that sell alcohol to those who are underage.

Many of the issues covered by your other questions were covered in a government review into video games and technology headed up by psychologist Dr. Tanya Byron. She pointed out that as we tend to keep children at home more in their free time rather than playing outside – a safety issue – they’ll use that time on video games to push boundaries and take risks they might otherwise have taken differently in play outside. As to any change in numbers among those who take part in after-school activities, figures don’t appear to exist. However, with more parents working than in previous generations, most schools at the primary level have after-school clubs that are generally fully subscribed. For those in secondary school, it’s hard to tell.

As to the social lives of adults being “ruined” by video games, that’s a very nebulous question. If you mean they spend their time playing video games rather than socialising, then the idea of ruin is very subjective. As adults they have a choice as to what to do with their free time, and some wouldn’t consider playing video games to be a waste of time or ruin. In some regards, there’s a strong generation divide about video games, with older people not seeking the point of them, and those from their 30s downwards generally embracing them.

There’s been a lot of talk wondering whether video games have had a negative societal impact and possibly responsible for the increase of violence. While it’s true we seem to read constantly about the increase in stabbings and street violence than ever before, crime statistics seem to be falling, and no studies have found a direct correlation between video games and real world violence. In fact, most people seem to distinguish well between the virtual and real worlds. There will always be exceptions, inevitably, but they seem to be very few and far between.

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