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YOUTH VIEW: Computer games have their uses

Comment by students at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds ANL-151025-114649001
Comment by students at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds ANL-151025-114649001

Video games rot the brain. Well, that is what a lot of people will tell you. They influence the mind to act differently and thus cause the child to misbehave.

To an extent, I agree this can be the case, but a lot of the views held, particularly by the older generations, are based on rumour – not fact.

How many have they actually played? How many people do they actually know who have played them?

Computer games can be educational, fun and child-friendly– not graphic, gruesome or addictive as some adults like to think.

We are the generation that has grown up with computers, phones and video games on our laps. Most people my age have a mobile phone. Most people my age have a console to play on after school.

By contrast, adults grew up with a small boxed TV and were forced to play outside, in the ‘real world’.

Yet this is all changing. The technology industry is huge in Britain. Companies like Apple and Microsoft are making it much easier to access the internet, and to access a mobile phone, than ever before.

Google has spent millions in trying to make the web much safer and more reliable for children but the long-term consequences of the internet are yet to be discovered. Whatever they are, the internet is the internet and we have it. Whether you like it, or not.

The popular image is that children who play video games often misbehave more and tend to act differently.

However, there is evidence that these games allow people to unleash their rebellious side – without stepping on to the street.

There is a dewy-eyed notion of children playing the park, but a more realistic thought, surely, is that for many teenagers, it is better to have a means of expressing their more rebellious side online than out on the streets.

For children like myself, who are isolated on the main road, miles from anywhere, computer games can be an essential form of communicating with civilisation. The fact that one minute I can be alone with nothing to do and the next minute I can be talking to my friends, running around an ‘open world’ online – while staying inside – is incredible.

To further my point, look at Minecraft. A game that was developed by a small company named Mojang and sold on to Microsoft. Now it is an educational tool for the classroom. Minecraft is being used in IT lessons as a way to strengthen team-building and help with coding. Inside the game you need to complete challenges as a group or whole class.

I think this is ingenious, as not only does it help with basic social skills, it is also a fun way to educate children. They learn through computer games and develop essential skills such as reflexes and communication. Without technology and the addition of high-speed fibre-optic broadband this would not be possible. We would still be living in the Stone Age – or the 1970s – which all seems the same to me!

-- George Cooper is a student at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds


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