Video Games and TV: Do They Make Kids Smarter?
An author makes a case that popular culture is beneficial for the mind.
TV as a Learning Tool continued...
"Video games can provide valuable hand-eye coordination and develop
skills of strategy and anticipation," says Farrel, author of How to Be
Your Own Therapist. "You can play chess and, perhaps, develop some
similar skills, but most kids prefer to be active and the video games fit the
Kevin Leman, a psychologist in Tucson, Ariz., and author of several books
including the recent Home Court Advantage: Preparing Your Children to Be
Winners in Life, says that Johnson's ideas are doing a tremendous
disservice. "We are pushing kids ahead emotionally for things that they are
not ready for," says this father of five, referring to some of the
tumultuous dramas on television.
"I think adults have taken the license to say 'it's no big deal and kids
can make their own choices,'" he says. But "kids are like a delicate
plant. We don't expose them to everything, we protect them," he says.
A Call for More Imagination Time
In Home Court Advantage, Leman calls for more creativity and
downtime over video games and television shows. "This is what is missing --
the time for kids to use their imagination," he says. "Kids today
cocoon at age 7 or 8, they sit in front of their computers and they log on and
talk to their buddies."
Leman believes that "benign old video like Centipede and
Pacman were pretty innocuous and entertaining; we are now blowing
people up and shooting semi-automatic and automatic weapons."
"There is a difference between being appropriately entertained with
something that's benign and something that is violent," says Leman.
A new study in the Journal of Personality adds some weight to the
claim that violent video games can increase aggression. The study of more than
200 college students found that those who had played more violent video games
as teenagers reported engaging in more aggressive behavior.
Of Violence and Video Games
Johnson tells WebMD that he believes "there is very little correlation
between fictional violence and real-world violence."
According to Johnson, "The television shows and video games have never
been more violent -- at least in terms of the specific bloodshed and gore that
they show. And yet we've just experienced the single most dramatic drop in
violent crime in U.S. history."