Video-Game Addiction

Nowadays, children and teenagers share a common platform of interests that is video games. Internet has revolutionized this industry, developing new types of games, creating new avatars, new strategies, new adventures, new roles, etc. How is it possible to stay apart from the fascinating and enticing world of video-games and not try one video-game?

Teacher Ilona Chiriac distinguished six types of video games: platform video-games which appeared in the 80’s with Mario; simulation games; adventure video games;strategy video games; shooting games and serious video games.

Why do children and teenagers devote so much of their time and attention to this type of games? There are different reasons for playing video games: these games give them the possibility of becoming heroes, of living adventures that thrill them, of creating avatars that they can manipulate, of building a virtual world apart. But sometimes the fact of playing viedo-games is a way of compensating something that is lacking in their lives, for example, when they play to create new social relationships due to the fact that they feel isolated; when they fight to show that they are good at something because their self-esteem is low.

Video-games can be understood as having two opposite sides: one negative and other positive. On the negative side, when children and teenagers play intensively, especially shooting and war video games, they gradually lose some important ethical feelings like the importance of the respect for other human beings and, even worst, become alienated in the real world. However, on the other side, it is possible to identify some positive aspects in video games: they develop quick reflexes in hand-eye coordination, focus in detail, development of memory and a fast response to conflicts. At emotional level, video-games can be a source of relaxation, where they can expel the tension they may feel; video-games can also work as a place where they can meet new friends and may feel integrated in a social group, which they might have problems in communicating directly to other people in their school; they can also improve their feelings of self-esteem when teenagers can achieve some tasks, or even reach the goal of the game.

What to conclude from all this? Online gaming can disclose some negative effects, but it can also assume other roles, as the effect of relaxation, some provide an educational orientation, others allow young people to easily integrate in a circle of friends. There should be a balanced use of video games, so that the negative effects don’t overrun the positive effects.

Bernardo Rodrigues
João Miraldo

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