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Video games: there’s more than meets the eye

I love to play video games, but I also reserve the right to criticize them. Gaming may improve one’s ability to think reflexively, but the negatives may far outweigh the benefits.

Video games promote escapism. They separate us from reality instead of promoting responsible approaches to life.

Some players say they become more like the heroes they control in games, yet they dismiss the idea that one may be equally influenced by the villains.

However, failing to assume responsibility for both the positive and negative influences that stem from playing video games is both irresponsible and unreasonable.

Video games present violence with unrealistic consequences. Like most entertainment, they make it difficult for a person to face the cruel realities of life, where every action has real consequences. We typically don’t even notice the psychological influences video games and other violence-oriented media produce within us.

But according to research psychologist Dr. Craig Anderson, “Playing a violent video game appears to affect aggression by priming aggressive thoughts.”

Exposure to violence is problematic for many people. According to researchers, many people admit to having violent tendencies and mental problems, and those people say that images such as those in video games only exacerbate their illnesses.

A two-year study by forensic psychologists Kevin Browne and Amanda Pennell found that 10 percent of convicted prisoners admitted they had been influenced by violent media images.

Similarly, studies by the American Psychological Association found that video game violence is damaging because games demand a high level of involvement in violent acts.

Studies also conclude that time spent playing video games is linked to lower grades in school.

As a fellow video game player, I exhort all game lovers to get real.

To become the people we are designed to be, both morally and intellectually, we must seek truth through the renewing of our minds.

While it’s ok to be passionate about video games, it is equally important to recognize the dangers.

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