GOT GAME? ? ONE GUY’S JOURNEY OF NO VIDEO GAMES ADDICTED OR NOT? CAN VIDEO GAMES TAKE OVER YOUR LIFE?
jacob lark I’m a regular kid in the 7th grade at Cedar Park Middle School. I enjoy band, football, and speed solving my rubiks cube. I’m also a gamer...that is, I love video games. Call of Duty: Black ops 2 Madden ’12 NCAA Football ’12 Need for Speed
From the Editor If I were honest, I would have to say that video games started taking over my academic life. Because of that, I became interested in video games (not as a gamer), but as a student...to see how video games affect the brain. I set out to uncover the controversy of positive and negative affects of video games. But more than just being a student of the research, I decided to become the experiment. In this issue of Got Game? I will share my own journey of a one month video game fast. Along with the journal of my journey, I will be sharing other findings to try to get to the truth of the affects of video games. I hope you enjoy this journey with me. (:
table of contents mindcraft How do video games affect the brain?
thinking outside the xbox Can kids actually have fun without video games?
designed to be addictive? How do video game makers design the games to be addictive?
my journey My month long journey of no video games
MINDCRAFT... do video games shape the mind? Video games have been known to shape your mind in many ways. Theyâ€™ve been changing how you talk, walk, eat and sleep. There are many positive results along with negative results.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Helps with vision/eyesight
Negative results of playing violent video games Obsessive gamers will eventually create bad habits for their brain. This could lead to aggressive behavior or mood changes They tend to be more anxious than those who donâ€™t Playing can lead to aggressive thoughts and feelings
designed to be addictive
Do the video game makers have a strategy to get us addicted? Taking a lesson from a dead psychologist, it certainly seems like they know exactly what they are doing to get us hooked.
B.F. Skinner was a psychology masters and doctoral student at Harvard in the 1930’s. He experimented with mice to determine animal behavior. He invented the “Skinner box” in which he put mice and observed their behavior. In order to get food pellets, the mice pulled on a lever. They eventually got into a habit of pulling the lever to eat, or get their reward. But Skinner wanted to take the experiment further. He chose to not reward them every time, but only occasionally after they pulled the lever so many times. This caused the mice to continually pull the lever to be rewarded with food. He also then decided to punish the mice with an electric shock if they stopped pulling the lever after so many seconds. All of this led to the mice continually pulling the lever, avoiding pain, and increasing pleasure. Getting you into the Skinner BoxVideo game makers are very familiar with the Skinner box and use the same methods to get us pulling the lever getting pleasure. In other words, they know how to get us hooked. First, video games create virtual food pellets for us to eat. These are rewards for our work. They could be virtual money, points, experience points, tokens, bonus levels, etc… Second, they keep us pressing the lever forever. Like the Skinner Box, they don’t give us rewards every time. If they did, we would probably become bored and stop playing. Instead, they keep us thinking that another reward is coming soon if we just keep playing long enough.
Also, they ease us in by giving us more rewards at the beginning to grab out attention and then the rewards become slower and slower as time goes on, causing us to play more and more to get the rewards. Also, play it or lose it. Like the Skinner Box that punished the mice with an electric shock, some video games punish the user for stopping or not playing for a while. For example in Farmville, the user will lose their crops if they don’t play for a while. Finally, video games get us to call the Skinner Box Home. They provide what we really want in real life, but never really get: Autonomy – which means that we have some say in what we do day to day. Complexity – which means it is challenging mentally. Connection between effort and reward – which means that we are rewarded for our hard work.
thinking outside the xbox
Thinking Outside the Xbox is finding different/creative ways to have fun in a way not involving video games. This means it is possible to think outside the xbox and it can be fun or even more fun than playing xbox. There are many ways to have fun and not play xbox. Personally I like playing outside or hanging with friends. There are many things you can do without video games. I found multiple websites listing all sorts of activities you can do. I as well created a list of 25 things you can do without video games.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Swim Boxing Running Bike Work out Learn Italian Go to a foreign country Read your whole S.S. text book Do your math HW (that was do a week ago) 10. Read all the Harry Potter series in a day 11. Color/draw 12.Paint your room 13. Paint the fence 14. Start a new fashion trend 15. Produce your new fashion trend 16. Learn how to cube 17. Learn How to cube FASTER 18. Learn how to cube FASTEST 19. Do something stupid 20. Blame your friend saying he broke my arm 21. Dig a bottomless hole and jump in it 22. Explore the woods 23. Get attacked by a bear in the woods 24. Live in the hospital for six months because of the bear 25. DONT PLAY VIDEO GAMES!!!!!!!
Y M Y E N R U JO
March 10, 2013
It’s my first day of no video games and
it has been very difficult but i have found ways to entertain myself. On the way to my grandparent’s house, I realized how much I missed video games. I wished I could’ve play minecraft. Fortunately I brought my rubiks cube. This may be a long 30 days so I’ll write every other day to fill the time.
March 12, 2013
I’ve been practicing band every day and
it has been pretty fun but I have been wishing to play video games more often. I’m realizing how often I play video games way to much. I am looking forward to see how my “need” for video games has slowed down from this experiment.
March 14, 2013
I’m leaving my grandparents house today
and I had a great time with them. We recently purchased a new computer and I want to play video games on the HUGE screen so badly!!! But I will stay strong and complete this experiment without playing any video games.
March 16, 2013
The new computer is soooo cool and I am
very tempted to play video games. I’ve been finding other interest such as FaceBook or texting (which isn’t as productive homework or band but no one said it wasn’t allowed). Spring break is coming to an end and school is coming up. I am starting to getting used to the no video policy but I still miss them. I hope school starts on a good note and I’m looking forward to other quest presentations.
March 18, 2013
School has finally started which is good
because I get bored fast. I saw Hannah and Matthew’s presentation and they both did really good, so now I’m worried about mine. I hope I do well. I can’t wait for my presentation for two reasons: first, I want to get it over with;; second, I want to play XBOX.
Instead of playing games, I have been
going to youtube and watching tons of minecraft videos. This hasn’t been the best thing for me so I have added in the rules that I can’t watch games anymore.
1 1 ay
March 20, 2013
I have stopped watching minecraft
games and wanted to focus more on the idea of having a good balance of games. Just like eating balance or musical balance every thing is going to have a balance, whether you realize it or not. If your body has too much carbs and too little protein its not going to function well so you will need a balance, For example, if you have too little problem solving games and more violent games, you will be acting violent more than usual. It’s just common sense!
3 1 ay
March 22, 2013
Many games are supposed to be
addictive. In fact that is there goal;; to get you obsessed with it. Like I said before you have to have a balance so try to do it 30min. a day.
I have made a great pie chart to show a
Problem Solving Games
Building Games Violent Games Educational Games
5 1 ay
March 24, 2013
The days are going by quickly and I’m
starting to realize how easy it is to go without video games. It might be easy but there are challenges such as a friend asking me to play minecraft or friends talking to me about Call of Duty. Angry Birds is a finger tip away and I can’t wait till April 10. That being said I want you to try this challenge as well. This will establish good habits for video games. And potentially bring up grades.
7 1 ay
March 26, 2013
I can already tell an improvement in my
academic life such as grades and band. All this time I have been tricking myself into doing homework and band. I have time to do all of my homework and I have been practicing band more than usual which I guess is a great thing because we are having UIL. Mr. San Luis has been wanting us to practice more so I guess this was a great way to improve on my writing, reading and other subjects such as band or social studies.
9 1 ay
March 28, 2013
We ended up doing really well during UIL
and Mr. San Luis is very proud of us. I think I did a lot better than I would’ve if I had the distraction of video games with me. I really want to play video games but I know that it is better for me to not play. I have been very addicted with cubing lately but I guess its helping me keep my mind off of video games.
1 2 y a
March 30, 2013
I decided to keep my mind off of video
games by cubing obsessively. For example I watch all sorts of youtube videos about cubing. I’m asking friends like me to come and cube with me. I am learning all sorts of techniques to improve my time. And I guess it has been improving my time. I guess I’m dorky in that sort of way. But nerdyness pays off in the long run.
3 2 y a
April 1, 2013
Today was the STAAR test and it
was the most painful thing of my life. Its feels like that type of weather were you feel like you want to get in PJ’s and play video games until you fall asleep. BUT NOOOOOO!!!! I of corse can’t and I just have to cry myself to sleep because I can’t play video games. I thought of the most genius idea ever and soon it will haunt me in my dreams. : (
5 2 y a
Another miserable day like monday but
it wasn’t as bad because writing is my specialty unlike math. Unlike monday it doesn't feel like a time to game but it feels like a time to cube. Which I’m grounded so I have no intention in life. I guess home work can’t hurt. But it does work the brain. I love how quest is not necessarily optional but you can do it when you want.
7 2 y a
April 5, 2013
STAAR testing is over for a while and
it feels so great to finish. I am close to finishing my project. I really need to practice more on how I’m going to present. I have seen good and bad presentations and I’m sure the good ones practice.
9 2 y a
April 7, 2013
I am really BORED. I can’t wait for this
video game thing to be totally DONE! I was thinking, if I want it to be a full month I’m going to have to wait until the 11th. This ruins my life!!!!!! I mean when you’re told to run 30 miles and you will get a lollipop but then you have to do one more to get a lollipop that just ANGERS ME!! I guess I should have thought this through.
1 3 y a
April 9, 2013
This will be my last journal entry so I’ll
make it the BEST!!! I can’t wait till tomorrow. And I am REALLY nervous. I hope I do all right. I know what to expect and I hope I do pretty good.