Video Games – Are They Educational?
In most homes, there’s at least one game console, and if not more, most families have at least one computer in which to play games. Gaming is, in many ways, a pastime rather than a serious pursuit. Games are different from work, which typically is done for profit, and from fine art, which is generally more an expression of aesthetic and/or political elements. But gaming is by no means a pure pastime, nor should it be treated as such. Rather, games have social and communal aspects, with significant educational and recreational values associated with them as well.
Computer games are often associated with teenagers, but there are hundreds of millions of people who play games every day on their computers. These millions of players have developed a common language and community based around a number of widely popular computer games. Games like Mario Brothers, Centipede, Pac-Man, Reader Rabbit, Tetris, Solitaire, and dozens of others have brought a great deal of attention to a variety of issues, including gender equality, economic development, and political empowerment. However, just because they have widespread appeal does not mean that video games are wholesome, or that they are inherently good. Rather, there are thousands of computer game titles which, though they may entertain, can also cause a great deal of harm to society in large and small ways.
For example, countless instances of sexual harassment have been documented over the years, ranging from inappropriate touching to actual sexual assault. Video games which promote violence against women, encourage discrimination against people of different races or ethnicities, glorify or encourage illegal drug use, or are pornographic in nature have the potential to harm children, teens, and adults in innumerable ways. These harmful influences of computer games can range from subtle to severe, but they can have a profound effect on both the player and his or her fellow gamers. For this reason, it has become increasingly important for parents to be aware of the potential negative influence which computer games can have on their children.