The Effect of Videogames on Student Achievement
BY JONATHAN CRATON
In the past few decades, interactive electronic media has grown from virtual non-existence to one of the primary means of entertainment for college students. In more recent years, the Internet has completely changed the landscape of electronic media from something individual and static into something with the potential to be interactive and social. This article examines the effects of increased student usage of traditional video games as well as online games. The demographics of the typical game player will be examined along with effects on the individual development and sociological perceptions. This article ...view middle of the document...
The same trend is seen at the extremes, with around 25% fewer males admitting to playing more than 20 hours of videogames per week (UCLA Higher Education Research Institute, 2009).
The trend toward increased video game and other interactive digital media usage does not appear to be going away. The upcoming college students are even more likely to be tightly tied to their technology than students are today. The current generation is exceedingly comfortable with technology and electronic entertainment. One study noted that the average American youngster now spends one-third of each day with some form of electronic media (Escobar-Chaves & Anderson, 2008).
There is a large body of evidence which suggests that violent video games lead to increased aggression and even violence. There is some mixed evidence on the psychological effects of video game violence, but Craig Anderson (2003) offers overall implications that can be reached by looking at all studies that relate video games to risk factors:
Some studies have yielded nonsignificant [sic] video game effects, just as some smoking studies failed to find a significant link to lung cancer. But when one combines all relevant empirical studies using meta-analytic techniques, five separate effects emerge with considerable consistency. Violent video games are significantly associated with: increased aggressive behavior, thoughts, and affect; increased physiological arousal; and decreased prosocial (helping) behavior. (Anderson, 2003, Myths and Facts, para. 1)
In another study which considers available research on media violence, several relevant conclusions were reached (Anderson, et al., 2003). It was found that there are “sufficient studies with sufficient consistency” to back up several important findings (Anderson, et al., 2003, p. 93). Video game violence is linked to aggression in the short term. Cross-sectional studies have been able to show a correlation between long term exposure to video game violence and real world violence. A few longitudinal studies are also able to suggest that video game exposure has long term effects on aggression. It should be noted that Craig Anderson, one of the authors of this study has been criticized for overstating the data on video games and its link to aggression and violent behavior (Block & Crain, 2007).
A study in 2008 considers the correlation between increasing interactive digital media usage and unhealthful behaviors (Escobar-Chaves & Anderson, 2008). The researchers looked at five major areas of risky behavior. These include obesity, smoking, drinking, violence, and early sexual activity. These categories were chosen because the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified these areas among the activities that “contribute to the leading causes of death and disability in the United States among adults and youth” (Escobar-Chaves & Anderson, 2008, p. 148).
The study found that, in general, there is...