Monday, August 28, 2006
Computer Games Aren't Bad For You, and The Internet Is Good For You
The text's statements on computer games are doubtful. It states that "an increasing number of studies show that playing violent games, like watching violent TV, increases hostility and aggression." However, more than half of studies looking at the connection between media violence and violent activity failed to find any significant link (Pinker 311). The spread of video games has mirrored the fall in the violent crime rate. Nor it is clear that the greater appeal of software applications to boys than girl is a problem. Newborn boys show a greater affection for mechanical contraptions than newborn girls in their first day (Alford and Hibbing 2004), so how are similar observations later on surprising? Likewise, the the Columbine shooters played “Doom” lessens when one learns the last game they played was bowling (Moore 2002).
Following the text's advice on the Internet can impede development. The author focuses on negative aspects of electronic communication, such as increased loneliness and exploitation. Then what to make of these quotes: "I'm from a medium-sized city, I've still found it hard to find good company..." (Chirol 2006) and "The Internet makes this far easier in today's world." (Curzon 2006)? They are statements of domain experts on how Internet communication has allowed them to experience the advantages of geographical nearness (tdaxp 2006) that is required for expertise in a talent domain (Csikszentmihalyi 1996, Gardner 1997).
A focus on negative aspects of new technology is harmful, especially when combined with an incomplete literature review or pessimism. The Internet is good for you, and video games don't hurt. At least, that's what scientific research tells us.
tdaxp. (2006). The Creativity Anarchy. Paper for Creativity, Talent, and Expertise.
Alford, J. and Hibbing, J. (2004). The Origin of Politics: An Evolutionary Theory of Political Behavior. Perspective on Politics, Vol. 2 No. 4, 707-723.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper Perennial.
Curzon, G. (2006). Personal communication.
Chirol, I. (2006). Personal Communication.
Gardner, H. (1997). Extraordinary Minds. New York: Basic Books.
Moore, M. (2002). Bowling for Columbine. MGM Distribution Co.
Harris and Klebold actually skipped bowling class that morning. Just the first of many factual errors in Moore's movie.
Posted by: Adam | Monday, August 28, 2006
Thanks for the correction, Adam! (This is a good reason to post things before handing them in -- it's more fun to make mistakes in front of peers :-) )
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, August 28, 2006
A similiar theme is in the book "Everything Bad Is Good For You" by Steven Johnson (same author as "Emergence").
He also blog at http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/
Posted by: purpleslog | Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Thanks for the link. Johnson's blog looks interesting, though its frustrating that he doesn't break his posts down by subject.
I also recommend Adam's vidcast on the subject  
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, August 30, 2006
We should draw an imaginary line between games and real life. Many people have problems with crossing that line and that is why relaxation has become a paradox.
Posted by: Chupacabra | Monday, July 25, 2011