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The Cyber Playground: Is Video Game Technology Good or Bad?

September 22nd, 2008

video-game-technology.jpgThis article by Patrick MacGougan explores the issue of whether the advent of video games and the Internet, which he refers to as the “cyber playground”, has been beneficial or not. Frankly, as a regular gamer since the days of Pac-Man, I was a little disappointed in the article. I would have preferred a more in-depth discussion of the pros and cons of video games and how they have affected us over the years. Nevertheless, this relatively superficial treatment of the issue does leave plenty of room for your comments should you happen to have relevant opinions or research that you would like to share.

It is common to look back at one’s childhood with rose tinted spectacles. The view that life is not as good as it used to be has been common, not just in this generation, but for years. It is clear to see that the way children are commonly playing has been changing with the development of more complex, more powerful video games. Whilst in the past, to explore different environments, one would need to physically move afield to areas away from the home, nowadays people can fly spaceships, fight aliens, control whole armies and do many more activities which seem unlikely in real life. How? With computers. Twenty years ago, it was unlikely that children in London would be able to play football with children in New York, whilst still at home. The Internet has made that possible.

For a long time, one important criticism with video games replacing regular children’s activities has been the fact that playing on computers and consoles provides nowhere near the amount of exercise needed to be healthy. Whilst the risks of injury are lower, this may attribute to problems with obesity. A number of gaming devices have been designed to increase activity, including the Nintendo Wii, which on its release in 2006 offered a complete alternative to regular gaming. The players could still explore and compete in scenarios beyond the imagination; however, with the Wii the player needs to physically move more, bringing in a small element of exercise. This, despite getting people moving whilst playing, does not compare to the exercise involved in a game of football, running, or riding a bike.

Cyberspace obviously hasn’t completely taken over everyone’s lives. People still play football, exercise, take walks in the park, and do other active movement that they did before computers. The Internet has, however, drastically changed the options for interaction. Internet dating, chat rooms, social networks and email have allowed people to meet, talk to and even see others all over the world. Not only the distance, but the fear factor has been taken out of meeting members of the opposite sex. Whether the changes in the way we communicate to each other are a good thing is, at the moment, down to opinion.

With more incidents of online harassment and pedophiles using chat rooms, it brings the safety of the online world into question. It brings in the point that, if we are using more technology in the homes to change our lives, we must consider whether it is beneficial to use this cyber playground, or the real world.

2 Responses to “The Cyber Playground: Is Video Game Technology Good or Bad?”

  1. comment number 1 by: emz

    hi there! you’ve got a really nice blog.. very informative:) i dropped on your ec today. hope you can visit my blog and drop and ec too.. happy wednesday!

  2. comment number 2 by: Karlonia


    Thank you for your comment. I have visited your blog and dropped my Entrecard.

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