Why they Game

Written by:
Solomon Murphy, 9th Grade - Duval High School

   Should students be able to use gaming apps at school and home? This question is very controversial and is constantly being debated among families and educators.
   Gaming apps are played to learn, be social and to relax. Three very popular gaming apps are Agar.io, Minecraft and Fruit Ninja.
   You can play the games on phones, tablets and computers. These games are played 24/7 at school and home which bothers some people. Are these games good or bad?
    Some believe that game apps really are not all beneficial and do not help kids. Many believe they are not educational because kids are not really learning that much.
   There are other general issues that concern the exposure to violence in gaming. Are there connections between violent outbursts by young people and the games they play online? This is a constant discussion.
   There is also a major concern about the overall amount of time young people spend on game apps. In the article, “Experts Concerned About The Negative Impact of Tablets on Young Children” James Fudge writes, "They [experts] think all this extra screen time may take away from activities that do promote brain development.”
   Many people also believe the games are sexist and say men do this while women do that. For example, games dealing with the military the main characters are generally male.
   In real life men and women fight alongside each other across the world. The games perpetuate the stereotype that women as soft and men are leaders and tough.
   There are also those who believe these these apps are good because they help young people relieve stress and learn. The three games mentioned earlier, Agar.io, Minecraft, and Smashy Road, are examples of good gaming experiences for youth.

alternate textMinecraft is a building game that lets the user to create what he or she wants. It helps students express themselves. It also empowers students to take control of the setting of the game.

alternate textAgar.io may not seem educational, but it is teaching students about bacteria and its everyday life. It also represents Charles Darwin’s expression, “Survival of the fittest.”

alternate textFruit Ninja simply actsas a stress reliever for young people. In the game you use your skills to cut fruit to earn points and achieve levels. It does promote hand-eye coordination while being fun and challenging.

   These games help escape peer pressure, family issues,and other things that stress kids out. Sometimes it is just an escape from endless homework.    The National Teacher Association states, “That playing these apps prevents kids from doing dangerous activities like smoking.”    Children need to play and society understands this is another way for children to learn. While some games have little educational value there are those that do.    Students need traditional and nontraditional ways to learn. Gaming apps do serve a purpose for youth. They are not something be dismissed, but to be integrated into their learning environment.    Most importantly, they just may help children handle stress in a new and productive manner.
Game on.