It Only Does Poorly in School ...

I came across a recent Associated Press article about a study done on the effects of a video game console (in this case, the Playstation 2) on a child's academic performance.  Most of the same information in the article can be found in a similar one here.  Demonizing the video game industry is nothing new, but some of the evidence against it is of dubious quality at best.  Kids who have video game systems play more video games than those who don't?  How did we not see that before?!

To show just how "professional" this study was, the researchers chose to exclude girls from the study because they would not "produce meaningful results."  So, essentially they're saying that they limited their test group so that the data would better suit their claim.  I'm not a behavioral researcher, but isn't the point of a study (aside from coming to obvious conclusions) to gather data which is then used to make a reasonable conclusion?  It seems to me like they did the opposite: made a conclusion and then hand-picked data to support it, ignoring blindingly obvious factors.

The only redeeming part of the study is that one of the researchers admitted that there isn’t “necessarily something inherent in video games that negatively affects kids.  It’s an activity that detracts from time that could be spent on schoolwork.”  They also pointed out that it seemed to have no effect on math and problem solving skills.

These claims that video games lead to poor academic performance on young people universally is irresponsible at best.  I've been playing video games for most of my life, and I've been a well above average student, too.  No amount of video games prevented me from graduating at the top of my class in high school.

As for those kids who are truly sacrificing their learning for entertainment (not just video games), that's where personal and parental responsibility come in.  After all, most of these "cultural epidemics" we seem to be having in this country aren't because of evil products.  It's because of people who are too lazy to take responsibility for their own actions and show a little self-control.


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