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Is playing video games bad for kids' brains? One student argues that they are. Image: Newsela staff


It's an invasion! Nope, not an alien invasion – a video game invasion. Rather than studying for school or going outside, many kids are spending all their time playing video games. In fact, a 2011 study by research group NPD claimed that more than 9 out of 10 kids played video games — and that number has probably only gone up. It's not just kids either. According to Medicine News Today, more than 150 million people in the United States play video games for at least 3 hours per week. The continuous need to play video games has several negative effects on children and their growing minds and bodies. These effects can include stunting students' education, promoting violence and affecting their physical health.

Video Games' Negative Effects on Education
According to Google trends, Fortnite was searched significantly more than U.S. history within the last 30 days. Roblox searches were higher than biology searches. Minecraft was searched more than an SAT prep resource. Given the increase in searches for video games, it's clear that video games have become higher priorities than educational subjects.

Given the increase in the number of students who are searching for and playing video games, it is clear video game addiction is taking place in schools. With newly convenient availability to computers and tablets, it's easy for students to switch from educational sites to computer games. Personally, I see this very often. Video games are all kids want to do these days, at school and at home.

Adults say that too much television or screen time can make your brain lose cells. Believe it or not, this is actually true. Studies from the University of Montreal discovered that playing "shooter" games can harm the hippocampus area of the brain, killing brain cells. Damage to this part of the brain can also have effects such as increasing the chances of schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and depression. All of which make it harder to get a decent education.

Video Games Promote Violence
Not only are video games taking time out of education, but they can also promote violence. Popular video games, such as Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto, played by younger children, include guns and vulgar language. According to many studies, violent video games can increase aggressive behavior. A study asked some participants to play violent games in their lab, while others played nonviolent games, then they measured the behavior of each group in social experiments afterward. These studies show that playing violent games results in instant changes to behavior.
Many people know aggressive behavior can be caused by many mental health issues, and even physical injuries, however people do not know that it can also be caused by video game addiction.

Video Games Are Unhealthy
Constantly playing video games can also be negative for physical and mental health. It can deteriorate personal hygiene and cause migraines due to eye strain. Studies show that video game addiction also correlates with depression and substance abuse, which are problems kids should not be facing at such young ages.

It's unhealthy for children to stay indoors looking at a screen all day long. Instead of going outside and playing sports, kids are sitting inside playing sports connected to a screen. With video gaming being a popular entertainment method, it's difficult to realize all the negative effects it causes to the brain and body. It's time we take a closer look at these negative effects before mindlessly gaming all day.

Copyright © 2018 Newsela. All rights reserved.
Source: https://newsela.com/read/video-games-kids-brains/id/44828
Instructions
1. Read the article “Student Opinion: Video Games Are Rotting Kids’ Brains”
2. Write a SUMMARY AND RESPONSE essay based on the article. As part of your response, you must respond to the following prompt:

What are some ways that playing video games can be helpful or hurtful to children? Which is stronger—the good or the bad? Should any rules limit how much time children can play video games?

Please provide specific details and examples from the text and your personal experiences to help support your opinion.
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