If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in dark room’s, munching on pills and listening to repetitive electronic music. (-Marcus Brigstocke) The effect that video games have on the minds of kids is a controversial topic in today’s media. To some people the act of sitting down and staring at a TV or computer screen for hours and playing a virtual video game is one of the worst waste of time and money someone can do, but to others video games are fun and helpful to the development of the brain. Playing video games does not negatively affect the growth and development of the mind. What is a video game? A video game is played with the use of either a gaming console (including a Playstation 4, or an XBox one), or on a PC platform. Video games come in many different types and genres, theses include horror, strategy, puzzle, role-playing games (RPGs), shooters, survival, adventure, and games that are used for educational purposes. The first real video games appeared in the 1970’s and early 1980’s in video arcades. Which were places where kids could go and spend a quarter and play a game. Since that time there have been many technological advancements in the gaming world. Large companies including Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo started to produce video game console that could be bought and played at home.(History) Nintendo was the first major company to release an at home gaming console in America and Europe with the release of the NES in 1983, Sony followed soon after with the release of the Playstation 1 in 1994, and Microsoft released its first Xbox in 2001.(Poh) Soon after the release of these consoles the gaming industry began to pick up steam as more and more people started to buy in home consoles and as time went on the video game industry got more and more technologically advanced. Games began to be produced that had better quality and that looked more and more lifelike as the years went on. As the graphics and game play advanced people began to wonder if the video game industry wasn’t getting too violent for younger generations of kids. (History) The big issue with video games these days is that people are beginning to think they are just too violent for younger kids to be playing. Most parents are skeptical at buying their kids that new Call Of Duty game, or that new zombie game because they believe these types of games will start to have negative effects on the way their child acts and thinks. Some researchers and parents say that video games are to blame for the decrease in a child’s academic performance. Some studies even show a violent video game can cause a kid to have violent thoughts, an increased heart rate, nausea, and dizziness. (25). It is also common for a kid to want to choses a more violent video game of one that has some sort of educational value to it, simply because in kids mind the violent video game is going to be more entertaining and fun then the educational one. The more time that a teenager spends playing a violent video game the more likely it is for that game to begin to rub off on the kid and for he or she to become more aggressive to those around them. Dimitri A. Christakis of the Seattle Children’s research institute stated children who watch or play a lot of simulated violence become almost immune to it, and are more inclined to act violently than kids who don’t play violent games. (25) Another big reason the some people say that video games are bad is because they are keeping kids indoors and not as active as they should be. Most parents would agree that for a child to spend too much time indoors sitting and staring at a TV or computer screen can be unhealthy to the development of a growing child. They say their kids need to be spending more time outside playing with their friends or just enjoying nature instead of sitting inside playing video games for all hours of the day. Playing video games on a regular basis has also been shown to distance a child from his or her family and the kid may begin to become socially isolated from friends and family. Not only do video games cause kids to spend too much time indoors but they can also cause kids to stop doing things like reading, and may even lead to a decrease in the amount of time used for doing homework and other after school activities, such as playing sports or participating in the drama club. Some games might teach kids wrong or demeaning values. These values are that men are stronger than women, that violence is always an option in life, and the value of the human life. A study done by Argosy University, a Minnesota school of professional psychology concluded that kids who play video games are more likely to argue and fight with their teachers and friends and have on average much lower grades in school. (25) Video games may help kids concentrate better over short periods of time but some studies show that playing video games may damage a child’s ability to concentrate over longer periods of time. One of the bigger arguments used against video games is the health issues they may lead to. Some studies have shown a correlation between childhood obesity and video games. Some games may even lead to a kid to have seizures because of the abundance of bright flashing lights that games contain. Most parents are afraid that playing video games on a regular basis might cause their kids to become lazy, and less active in school sports and work. Parents think that if their kids play too many video games they might start to slack off on their real world activities, like going to work. Video games may lead to an increase in childhood depression and aggressive or high risk behavior, such as getting into fights and hurting themselves or others. This is because video games introduce kids to things such as killing, maiming, rape, and other bad and horrifying things. Within the gaming world there is a category called Esports which stands for electronic sports. Some people don’t agree that Esports should be considered an actual sport that compete in sporting events like the X Games. This is because according to some sports enthusiast it doesn’t contain the same criteria as other sports. It is argued that in a real sport the players have to interact with one another in person, that in order to be considered a sport it must have some level of human contact. It is also said it isn’t healthy to sit around all day in front of a TV or computer screen for hours on end and call it a sport. Some professional athletes agree that esports should not be considered a sport. They say it isn’t right for a person to be able to sit in front of a screen, mash buttons, and get paid the same that they do. They think a sport should consist of getting outside and playing in the mud and the elements, that sports should include being out of breath after a long and strenuous workout, and that sports should consist of spending long hours spending time with your teammates. But on the other side of the spectrum there are many people out there that say esports should be considered a real sport, and it should be given the same respect and credit as any other professional sport out there. They say that professional esport players put in the same amount of time and effort as athletes who play sports like football and baseball. Esport games include some of the same aspects of other more respected sports. Many esports games are played on a multiplayer platform. This means players are required to work together in teams to accomplish a specific task. Just like regular sports there are a form of playoffs that competitors must compete in to get into the championships. The world of esports can be a great option for kids who might not be as athletic as others or who might not have an interest in the conventional sports. Esports is an event that anyone can compete in no matter where you live or what your interest are. It is also possible for kids to achieve a career in esports. Some of the top competitors can earn up to one million dollars a year. Even though it is true that all an esport competitor must do is sit in front of a computer screen and play games the stereotype that an esport player is out of shape and only eats junk food isn’t always true. Most major esports competitors eat a strict diet of healthy foods, exercise or workout regularly because a fitter body can lead to a fitter and more active mind. People who compete in esports have to have extremely fast and agile reflexes to be able to do all the things they are required to do for a certain game. A recent study shows the average esport player can have better reflexes and mental capacity than kids who compete in regular high school sports. A pro esports player must be able to complete over 300 actions a minute. The ability to do this helps keep their mind and reflexes sharp ( BBC). It also shows that a pro esports player has to practice a lot to be able to compete on the world stage. The esports program isn’t a small thing either its current net worth is about 465 million dollars and it has a fan base of up to 205 million people and growing. More people watched the 2013 esports world championship then watched the Baseball world series. The top competitor in the 2014 esports world championship won a grand total of 10.9 million dollars. ( BBC) Those reasons alone should be enough to convince people that esports is a real thing and a real sport, and it is a real option for kids looking for a sport to play. While many parents and researchers agree that video games are bad for the development of a child’s growing mind, but some disagree with this. They say that video games can actually help the brain function and grow. Research shows that playing video games can actually help kids learn how to manage their time as they try to fit playing video games in their everyday life along with things including school, sports, and work. Video games also help players improve the skill of hand eye coordination. Games that deal with sports are good at doing this because a player must look at the screen they are playing on and know what button to press on the controller without looking at it. Players have to learn to trust where they are placing their hands. Playing some games like strategy or brain games can help the players brain function better during tests and also help the player get better at memorization skills. Other skills that playing video games can teach kids is how to multitask and strategize. An example of a game that teaches this would be the game Sid Myers Civilization. In this game players can choose to play in either single player or multiplayer, in both versions of the game a player must strategize where best to settle new cities and grow their empire. One of the main ways to win the game is a domination victory where one player controls all the capital cities, to do this a player must use strategy to decide the best way to attack their enemies. It also forces the player to multitask by giving them many things to do in one turn. In every turn the player must do things like decide what to build in their cities, controle their military to protect their empires land or to conquer new lands, and they have to keep their empire happy. Playing games also help strengthen and develop skills including quick thinking, accuracy, and they help to improve decision making skills. There are games that are used purely for the purposes of education and making learning fun. These types of games are used mainly in a school setting for teaching kids important skills such as reading, writing, and math skills in a fun and interactive way. Along with teaching kids these important skills there are some games that are used to teach kids about a certain career field. These types of games are called simulation games. This type of game gives the player as close to the real experience as they can without actually having the kids do those jobs. Simulation games are used in many schools, colleges, and career field to teach students or employees how to do a job in a safe but hands on way. The most common simulation games are flight simulators which teach students in flight school how to fly a plane without actually putting them or other in harm’s way. Some people argue that video games help cause kids to become antisocial or depressed, but that’s not completely true, recent studies show that around 60% of people who play video games play with friends in online multiplayer games and some still play split screen multiplayer, which requires at least two people to play together in one room on one TV. (BBC) Most multiplayer servers these days can actually host up to 100 or more players. There are very few places where kids can meet and play with kids form all over the world and who speak many languages. So saying that video games can cause kids to become antisocial is an old and outdated stereotype. And saying that games can lead to depression or anxiety isn’t completely true either some games can actually help players rid themselves of depression and anxiety. Some researchers say that kids who are having a bad day or are depressed feel better after only playing one or two hours of games. This is mainly because video games can help a player get away from the pain and the struggle of everyday life and be somewhere completely different for a little while. Imagine sitting down and reading a really good book after a long day, while reading that book a person can forget about their day and just be somewhere else for a while. To some people video games have the same effect. They can also help players get away from the confines of a large city to a world with a lot of open space and where adventures are to be had. One game in particular that was designed for this reason is SPARX an role playing game developed in New Zealand to help fight depression. (BBC) Some video games are actually made to help keep kids fit and healthy which goes against the common stereotype that all video games lead to childhood obesity. Games like Dance Dance Revolution or the Wii fit games force players to get up move around and to exercise while playing the game, these games can even be played with friends and family. There are even certain gaming consoles like the Kinect that require players to be active while playing. These types of games and consoles can help by giving kids who might not have a safe outdoor environment to play in a way to stay fit and active. This is helpful to kids who live in an apartment in a metropolitan area. Just because these types of games exist doesn’t mean it is alright for a kid to sit inside and play games all day long, it is still important to a child’s development to go outside and play in the mud. It just means it isn’t always bad for a kid to play games, and that saying that video games are one of the leading causes of childhood obesity. The leading cause is still overeating and eating and drinking unhealthy foods. Even though gaming isn’t the leading cause of childhood obesity, most research shows that parents should limit the amount of time that their kids spend playing games. Another important aspect to video games is that they can help kids to sharpen or to even learn certain functions of the brain. One of these is the ability to make important decisions. All games in one way or another require a player to make some sort of decision where they must decide what to do to advance further in the game or to change how the game progresses. The ability to make good decisions is important in life because it can help someone decide what college to go to, what job they want to have, and how to wisely spend the money that they make. Decision making skills are also used while driving a car. Another skill that video games and improve that will help driving is eyesight, or perception. This is achieved by games requiring players to notice the smallest of changes in their surroundings. Research done in Canada showed gamers who played only 10 hours of games in a month could read two or more lines on an eye chart. (BBC) A video game can also teach a kid the important life skill of perseverance. In a game just like in life you won’t always succeed at your objective. Games teach players that when they fail they just can’t quit and give up but that they have to get back up and keep trying to achieve their goals and pass the level. This is a skill taught heavily in the game of Dark souls where the average player will die over 1,000 time in one play through but a player can’t get discouraged by this and give up, They have to keep fighting until they finally success and defeat the final boss. Perseverance is a very important skill to have in life because not everything is going to go to according to plan. People are going to fail more often than they succeed. People aren’t going to get the things they want on the first try but just because they fail doesn’t mean they can give up and stop trying, they must get back up and try again and again until they succeed. Video games are an easy way to teach this lesson to kids. Unlike the common thought video games aren’t only for younger kids and teenagers but they can be played by people of all ages even the elderly. Some video games are actually shown to help the older generations. People over the age of 50 can actually greatly benefit from playing video games. Playing video games can help keep their minds sharp and health and may even slow down or stop Alzheimer’s all together. Playing video games can also be beneficial to people who have had a stroke or heart attack, by helping recoup their minds. Video games can also help keep their eyes and hands sharp. Another upside to video games is they can give the player a fulltime career in gaming. A player can get a job playing games on media sites like YouTube or twitch. People can actually make these types of pastimes into a fulltime job and earn a living wage while doing it. It isn’t alway the easiest job to get because to be successful in this career a person must first have a working and successful YouTube channel already made. Video games have a large impact on the world around us, if a person looks at the controls of heavy machinery, they will see that almost all them are joystick controlled. The controls of drones and most other remote controlled vehicles are similar to the controls of a game console. There are many other ways in which the video game industry has affected the world we live in, for example it has added many ways for kids to interact with one another and to learn new skills. Even though there are many people who don’t agree with the video game industry and the games that they make aren’t going anywhere. It doesn’t matter if people like it or not they are here to stay and as the technology advances games will continue to get more and more of our everyday lives, whether people are playing them or just seeing advertisements online or on the TV. One thing that everyone needs to accept about the video gaming industry is there is a game out there for everyone. No matter what their likes or dislikes are there are games out there for them. So no playing video games does not have the negative effect some people say they do. In fact they can have many positive and helpful qualities that can help do things including improve learning skills, hand eye coordination skills, and many other important functions, They also help teach kids so many important life skills. Even though video games can help in many ways they can also hinder, so it is still important for a parent to watch and to limit how much time their kids play video games.