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TMCNet:  Not all video games are bad [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]

[December 23, 2013]

Not all video games are bad [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]

(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) VIDEO games have been receiving a lot of bad publicity lately, especially due to violence related events.

The repertoire of many video games involves violence in some or very small aspects. The lack of social involvement with society that affects gamers has also been a cause of distress to senior generations.

In addition, the sedentary lifestyle of habitual gaming and 24- hour non-stop playing has also affected the health of current generation, especially in terms of obesity. It also distracts children from more important things as it takes up an awful lot of hours.

These seem to indicate that there are a lot of bad influences video gaming has brought upon society. Is that truly the case? As human beings, we have a tendency to be tunnell-visioned in perspective. What I'm saying is that not all video gaming is bad. There are some merits to such activities.

Gaming has become a huge industry in the world. Japan, United States, and Europe have hosted many corporations and studios. Graphic designers, animation engineers and even music orchestrators have their jobs in the gaming industry. Millions of dollars are invested by major corporations in the gaming industry.

Sony, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Rockstar are multi-billion dollar companies with a lot of shares in stock markets that help propel the world economy. In Malaysia, the gaming scene is not as huge as in the West, but is relatively big in the Southeast Asia region.

Video gaming also helps in learning. What now? Some of you may agree and some may differ, but there are certain aspects of gaming that help in educating children.

Language is one aspect of learning that video gaming has helped. My experience has seen a good improvement of vocabulary in my children. Some of the vocabulary that they picked up from games really took me by surprise. Words like rendezvous, colonised, astounding, astonishing, anonymous, telepathy, gigantic, resourceful, covert operation, solemn, mesmerised and many more were easily acquired by my 10-year-old boy.

Video games have also proven to be much better than watching television. This is because video games are interactive, the players have to think a bit and analyse the situation they are in. It involves problem solving, planning, estimation and analysis of the moves or actions of both the player and his opponent.

Gaming can inculcate motivational skills as most games inspire players to strive and reach more difficult levels, presenting challenges at each stage. Some games also propagate teamwork where characters must work together to help each other to complete a particular mission.

Studies by leading researchers have also shown that video and computer games have many benefits. Games help children who are ill or have injuries. Absorption in a game distracts the mind from pain and discomfort.

Two weeks ago my youngest son who was so terrified to be circumcised, was altogether calm and cool throughout the process when given an iPad.

Many medical departments use computer games as physiotherapy. In addition, games help those who are recovering from physical injuries to regain motor skills and coordination.

Games are benefiting students and practitioners in the medical field. A study published in Archives of Surgery said surgeons who regularly played video games were more skilled at performing laparoscopic surgery. According to Dr Jeffrey Taekman, the director of Duke Safety Centre Simulation and Patient Safety Centre, "serious games and virtual environments are the future of education".

Gaming is part of life. The first- generation video game players have become adults and carry their passion to adulthood.

Yet gaming is just like any other activity in life: too much can be harmfu. The world of gaming is changing so parents need to be well informed: read up and help children choose beneficial games.

Many games are based on history, city building , governance and so on. Such games indirectly teach children aspects of life on earth.

Without realising it, they are actually practising to face the future challenges in life. Parents just need to be aware of what their children are doing and ensure they are able to gauge right from wrong.

(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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