Parents should keep in mind that not every video game is the same.

By Justin Chambers

Foothill High School student, age 17

Since the days of Pong and Ms. Pac-Man, the relationship between adolescents and video games has surfaced many questions among parents. Will this game bring out violent tendencies in my child? Does it help with fine motor skills? Are video games nothing more than a mind-numbing tool to distract children and keep them busy, or can they actually be used to sharpen the senses?

It’s 2013, and with popular belief being that California is the software capital of the United States, it’s hard to get away from video games and their advertisements, and nearly impossible to keep children away from flashing screens and new controllers.

According to pamf.org, a number of medical associations reported that “exposure to violent media can elevate aggressive feelings and thoughts, especially in children. These effects on aggressive behavior can be long-term.” This explains why many parents blame the media when their children get into fights at school or use foul language.

Although many modern day video games display graphic details and violence, some have actually proven to help the senses of both developing children and adults.

As said in an article on prlog.org, “the video games that children play require abstract thinking skills in order to succeed at the games. Some of the most positive effects that video games have on children are development of essential skills including resource management, multitasking, and on-the-spot thinking,”.

Parents should keep in mind that not every video game is the same. Although ‘Grand Theft Auto’ may not exactly display the most moral actions, ‘Just Dance’ doesn’t promote anything but dancing. If children play video games that are rated by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) as being within their age group, they shouldn’t develop violent and aggressive tendencies.

In conclusion, video games can be both harmful and beneficial depending on how they are played and monitored.