Are Video Games Good or Bad for Society? [We Ask You]

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Video games have now been with us for more than 40 years, and in that time they’ve evolved from simple concepts brought forth by muddy visuals (such as the Atari classics) to complex and involving gameplay made real by detailed visuals (such as the best games of 2012). In recent years they’ve also grown from niche hobby to mainstream fodder, especially with the emergence of casual games, and consequently casual gamers.

Strangely, video games have always been a source of controversy. In the early days it was parents worrying about kids spending all their money in arcades, and now it’s a whole range of issues which we’ll be outlining below. It’s high time we, and by that I mean both gamers and non-gamers alike, have a serious, even-tempered debate about the effect video games are having on society. If any. Which is the subject of this week’s We Ask You.

This Week’s Question…

We want to know, Are Video Games Good Or Bad For Society? On the surface this is a simple question with only two possible answers. But that’s not how we want to play this. Think long and hard about what effect you feel video games are having on individuals, relationships, and society as a whole. To help kick-start your gray matter, let’s look at some common beliefs about video games.

Video games are blamed for encouraging real-life violence, specifically gun crimes where one person goes on a rampage. They’re blamed for promoting inactivity among children, which will inevitably lead to obesity. And they’re blamed for dumbing down society, as most youngsters would rather play the latest Call Of Duty than read a book.

They’re the negatives most people opposed to video games will spout whether asked to or not. But there are also positives. Video games can improve hand-to-eye coordination. They can help children learn new skills, such as problem-solving and those associated with cognition. And competing against others can help foster social skills against different types of online gamer.

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Those short lists represent merely a soupçon of the pluses and minuses attributed to video games. And it’s time to see which side of the fence the MakeUseOf readership sits on. Do you believe video games are good or bad for society as a whole? Can the blame for any of the current ills of the world be leveled at video games? Are there any changes you’d like to see made within the industry? If so, what are they?

Don’t just answer with “Good” or “Bad,” instead let us know the reasons behind your thoughts, whether they are purely instinctual or keenly objective.

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail what You Told Us. One reader will be chosen for the coveted Comment Of The Week, getting their name up in lights, and the respect of other readers. What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to necessitate a discussion. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: jimsheaffer

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