Guest Columnist EducationNews.org
If you're thinking of buying video games this holiday season, you're not alone. In the U.S., video game sales will surpass music sales in 2008.
They've already surpassed movie sales worldwide.
Who's playing all of these games? Contrary to what you might think, it's mostly adults. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the average gamer is 33 years old. One-fourth of all gamers are over age 50.
Surprisingly, boys under age 18 only make up one-fourth of the market. However, they are the group most likely to suffer the destructive effects of video games.
On average, boys are spending more than thirteen hours a week playing video games. As a result, they're spending less time outdoors playing and exercising. Perhaps this is partially why they are four times more likely to be obese than they were thirty years ago.
Research consistently confirms that the more time boys spend playing video games, the more likely they are to do poorly in school—regardless of age. At a time when boys are already underperforming in school, video games only make the situation worse.
Many recent studies suggest that playing video games saps the motivation of boys and disconnects them from the real world. Advancing to a higher level in a video game becomes more important and more real than doing well in school. When it's easy to get a sense of achievement in the virtual world, why work hard for achievement in the real world?
Violent video games are especially harmful. A definite link has been established between violent video games and antisocial behavior. Games like Grand Theft Auto and Halo can make your son more aggressive.
So if you're thinking of buying video games for your son this holiday season, you might want to reconsider.
Bill Costello, training director of Making Minds Matter, teaches parents and teachers the best strategies for educating boys. He can be reached at www.makingmindsmatter.com or email@example.com.
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