The Advantages & Disadvantages of Computer Gaming
By Mark Saga
Updated September 22, 2017
Computer gaming is much maligned at times for the level of violence in some games and for the amount of time that it claims that could be put to more productive uses. Some advantages of gaming are that it has educational applications, increases visual processing of information and teaches problem solving skills.
Violence in games has an unquestionable negative effect on players, making them more likely to be violent themselves, according to Craig Anderson of the American Psychological Association. He points out that experiments in the lab and in the field, and longitudinal and cross-sectional studies have all shown this to be true. The interactive nature of the games makes them more influential in teaching violence than more passive media like television or books.
Time spent in front of the computer has increased for kids ages 8 to 18, and media use now stands at an average of 7.5 hours per day, taking into account computers, television and other media, as reported in a study by the Kaiser Foundation. Much of the time is spent multitasking or combining TV and video games, for example. Half surveyed said they had a computer game console of their own in their room. In addition time spent reading has decreased.
Games have educational uses, for example, teaching economic skills like negotiating and purchasing strategies, and are used in college level economics courses to do so. For example, many games allow players to accumulate points or money and then purchase things that will advance their interests in the game. These features simulate markets, and in fact can become commodities outside the game.
Gaming teaches people to process visual information more quickly than non-gamers. In a society where visual media is pushing more and more information at the audience all the time, this can give gamers an edge in processing it.
Gaming teaches problem solving skills. Players are given a set of rules to follow and must figure out the best strategy for achieving the goals set in the gaming context. If the game has multiple players or teams, the problem solving is done in a social context, which teaches people to communicate and cooperate.
Mark Saga has been a writer and teacher since 1984. His writing about the US Navy has appeared at navyshipnews.com. Saga has also sold extensively on eBay and Amazon, specializing in books and paper. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and an Master of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University.