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Socially useful video games

Video games are one of the most common forms of entertainment forboth children and teenagers in the United States. Research hasindicated that over 97% of American children and teenagers play videogames. Due to the popularity of these video games, sociologists havebeen forced to investigate the benefits and negative outcomes ofplaying the video games. There are various types of video games suchas the violent video games, video games that encourage unity,cooperation or even helping others (Gunter 77). Whereas numeroussociologists and the public in the United States have argued that amajority of the violent video games have a negative effect on thebehaviors of the players, there are also people who argue that thereare various social advantages associated with certain video games.

The problem that the research paper focuses on is whether videogames are socially useful to the teenagers. There is a huge body ofresearch on the benefits of video games to teenagers. Whereas someresearchers agree that video games are somewhat useful socially tothe players, others detest to this assertion and state that videogames are harmful to the teenagers. Video games are mainly commonamongst the youths or the teenagers in the United States (Steinberg40). It is evident that video games have adverse effects on theplayers whether positively or negatively. Research has indicated thatan average teenager in the United States spend approximately 7 hoursa day playing video games on average. This raises the issue on thesocial benefits that such video games might have on the teenagers.This is a problem concerns various stakeholders in the development ofthe children and teenagers. The parents are at the focal point of theproblem as they try to raise children and teenagers who are sociallyacceptable. The teachers and instructors who spend enormous time withthe teenager are also concerned about the social benefits of playingvideo games (Kirsh 74). The effects of the video games might be ofgreat concern to the government as a stakeholder in the developmentof the teenagers. It is evident that is video games would have anynegative effects on the social aspect of the teenagers thegovernment would be at the center of correcting such deviantbehaviors which might be criminal in nature.

The primary goal of the research paper is to find out therelationship between the video games and the social aspect of theteenage players. Considering the enormous amount of time thatteenagers spend on the computers playing the games, it is abundantlyclear that the games have social effects on them. This research paperwill seek to find out whether there are any social benefitsassociated with video games. It is clear that majority of theteenagers play video games for the purposes of entertainment.However, it is vital to look deeper and find out whether the gameshave any usefulness in terms of the social status of the players(Steinberg 89). For instance, the research paper will seek to findout whether the video games improve the communication skills andinteraction skills amongst the players. It is also the goal of theresearch paper to find out the various negative effects that areassociated with video games especially the violent video games.

There is enormous data and research that has been collected withregard to the effects of video games on teenagers. It is notable thatthe research cuts across both sides with some of the researchersstating that the video games are socially useful while others beliefthat video games are harmful to the teenagers. After thedocumentation of numerous research papers and articles with regard tothe negative effects of the video games, researchers are nowconcentrating on the social usefulness of video games. There arenumerous cases that have been cited with regard to the negativeeffects of video games amongst teenagers such as Sandy HookElementary School case. The gunman, Adam Lanza, was found to be anaddict of shooter video games. This research has made the video gamecompanies to adopt new modes of games that are interactive,non-violent and have been identified as having social benefits, aswell as aiding cognitive development of the players (Anderson et al.,124).

The existing research indicates that there are indeed some socialbenefits associated with video games. To start with, it is evident amajority of the video games that have been produced in the last fiveyears are extremely interactive and require cooperation and unity toplay. This is an extremely important element that enables teenagersto develop socialization skills as well as cooperation skills.Players are required to interact and play as a team in most of thevideo games. This enables the teenagers to develop interaction andcooperation skills. It is also clear from research that there arevideo games that call for the players to assist or help other peoplein order to be declared winners (Steinberg 155). Such games have beencited as extremely helpful in terms of developing the social skillsof the teenagers. Such games involve rescuing people who have beenabducted by zombies or other fearful creatures. Such teenagers are ina position to help the people in need in real life situations.Teenagers face various conflicts while playing the video games andresearch has shown that such teenagers can apply these social skillsto solve real life problems.

The perspective social learning theory was applied by theresearchers. The social learning theory by Albert Bandura posits thatteenagers learn behaviors through observation and imitation. It isclear that majority of the teenagers learn through observing variousaspects on the video games (Taylor 108). Teenagers behave and act onthe basis of what they observe and also imitate the actions they seeand do while playing video games. The social development theory byVygotsky was also applied by researchers. According to Vygotsky,people learn through social interaction for their cognitivedevelopment. The social interaction part is extremely vital in thesocial role that video games play in teenagers.

The existing research has failed to clearly stipulate whether thesocial usefulness of video games is long term or short term. Most ofthe researches conducted involved the observation of behaviorsimmediately after the teenagers played the video games. Equally, theresearch has failed to find out the social effects of prolongedexposure to video games and addiction to the games.

The research question will be what are the social benefits of videogames amongst the teenagers in the United States?

Hypothetical answers

  • Video games are socially useful to the teenagers in the United States

  • Teenagers improve their interaction skills through playing video games

  • Teenagers develop skills of helping others in real life after playing video games

  • Teenagers can also develop communication skills through playing video games

Implications of the research

The findings of this research will be extremely crucial in informingthe various stakeholders on the importance video games. The researchwill educate the various stakeholders on the benefits of video gamesbesides entertainment. The research will also seal the gap that hasbeen created in the in previous research over the social effects ofprolonged involvement in video games.

Works cited

Gunter, Barrie.&nbspThe Effects of Video Games on Children: TheMyth Unmasked. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press,2009. Print.

Anderson, Craig A, Douglas A. Gentile, and Katherine E.Buckley.&nbspViolent Video Game Effects onChildren and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.

Kirsh, Steven J.&nbspMedia and Youth: A DevelopmentalPerspective. Chichester, U.K: Wiley- Blackwell, 2010. Print.

Steinberg, Scott.&nbspThe Modern Parent`s Guide to Kids and VideoGames. Lilburn, GA: P3: Power Play Publishing, 2011. Print.

Taylor, George R.&nbspPractical Application of Social LearningTheories in Educating Young African-American Males.Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2003. Print.

Popculture and teenage behavior

Popculture refers to a modern culture that is communicated through massmedia, and the target audience is the youth. It has ideas, images,and perspectives that are preferred and concur with particular groupsin the society (Brym et al., 56). There is a link between thisculture and the teenager behavior. The major problem is the influencethat it has on young people. Majority of the young people refer thisculture as a modern lifestyle. The group mostly influenced by popculture is the youth. The objectives of my research are to determinehow pop culture influences the teenagers. The other objective is toidentify the medium through which they access the culture and finallywho is to blame for teen misbehavior (Grunes 43).

Thepop culture does not only affect the teens, but also it affects theway they think of themselves, how they think, feel, do and associatewith others. The advertisements through the internet, mass, andsocial media have strongly influenced teen’s behaviors (Brym etal., 59). Although studies on the effect of this culture on the youthhave not been concluded, they have affected the society in variousways.

Myresearch question is how does pop culture influence teenagebehavior? I found that there is a relationship between the popculture and adolescent behavior. I plan to identify differentscenarios that have been affected mostly among the youth. The firstinfluence is how teens identify themselves. Self-definition is animportant characteristic that helps define a person`s maturation(Wolfeet al., 29).In general, it is how an individual sees himself. The self-definitionof young people is affected by their decisions. The choices they makeare influenced by pop culture that has become their lifestyle.Existing researchers on self-definition among the teenagers concludethat pop culture has an enormous influence. However, some disagreewith the assumption and instead argue that not every teenager defineshimself as a gangster even though they listen to gangster music(Grunes48).Further, pop culture acts as a guide that most teenagers use toidentify themselves. It makes them adopt characteristics andbehaviors of these pop celebrities. Some of the best behaviors thatteenagers acquire include self- respect and confidence. They assistthem to develop high qualities of mind as well as character.

Theother occasion that shows how pop culture influences teenager ways ishow the teen imitate the rock stars. Rock stars extend their musiccareers by establishing brands that are sold through advertisements(Brym et al., 63). These brands carry their logo and names. Whenyoung people see these celebrities, for example, Lady Gaga wearingher brands, they are influenced to wear them. These brands have beenrecognized by certain social groups among the teenagers to an extentthat one must own a particular brand to associate in these groups.Existing research shows that imitating rock stars distract theiraspects of development (Wolfe et al., 34).

Moreover,pop culture influence teenager behaviors by promoting violence.Existing research shows that young adults who listen to pop musicthat relate to violence are mostly involved in disagreement withpeople surrounding them (Grunes 52). Contrary, not every teenagerlistening to music and playing video games related to violenceencourages violence. Parents who have teens who love pop music shouldmonitor their youth to ensure that they are on the safe side. Theexisting research fails to demonstrate that the majority of the teenshave been jailed due to violence. They are influenced by the behaviorof these celebrities. Information technology has advances leading tothe introduction of computer games that feature famous rock stars.Majority of these games promote violence and by imitating them, theyend up in jails (Grunes 63). On the same point, they end updeveloping characters that are different from their parents and thepeople who control their lives.

Moreover,the culture promotes sexuality. The element of sexuality is evidencedin the pop culture. Teenagers find themselves committing sexualityacts as seen in pop culture. The actions of these celebrities areweird, and the youth adopts these practices as a way of expressingmaturity (Brym et al., 67). The images in pop music trigger thethoughts of teenagers towards sex. At their ages, they are not matureenough to handle the sexual activity experiences, and this affectsthem later in life.

Thecircumstance that surrounds the relationship between pop culture andteenager ways is how they interact with the world. The first mediumthat facilitates interaction is mass media. It comprises oftelevision, cinemas, radio and magazines among others (Taffel 76). Teens get access to pop culture through mass media where they learnmore about rock stars, their lifestyles, and characters. Forinstance, reality television shows have brought to light mostcelebrities.

Thesecond medium is through social networking services. Social mediaservices like Instagram and Facebook has changed the way teenagerscommunicate. Advancement in technology has revolutionized ways thatyoung people read, interact and play games. The development of musicsites such as YouTube has improved the means of accessing musicthrough the internet (Taffel 79). The sites allow for viewing,downloading and storing music for future watching. Teenagers are upto date with the current music that has been released exposing themto lots of information that is beyond their age.

Bodyart is another element used by teens to express self. In the past,body art were used with meaning. However, in modern days, youngpeople are interested in body art that do not signify any sense (Brymet al., 71). They are influenced by rock stars that have tattoos,piercing, and funny hair styles. They express and associatethemselves with these celebrities and their arts.

Researchon the relationship between pop culture and teenager ways has beenexplained using a number of theories. The first theory is sociallearning theory. It helps explain both desirable and undesirablebehavior results. Further, the theory argues that both cognitive andenvironmental factors affect behaviors (Bandura 52). These behaviorsare acquired through observation, paying attention and adopting.Teens learn the behavior of rock stars and thus tend to behave likethem. The second theory is of planned action. It explains that thechange in behavior is determined by whether individuals view thebehavior either as positive or negative (Wolfe et al., 46). Bothinternal and external factors determine the level control. The thirdapproach is the transitional teen’s theory. It explains how theyouth distant themselves with parents and spend more time withfriends. At this level, they share same experiences with friends andthey can change according to what they are exposed to by their peer.

Therelationship between pop culture and adolescent behavior issymbiotic. This is because teens of today have information at theirfingertips. They grow up having access of the pop culture throughinternets and mobile phones (Brym et al., 77). Existing research hasshown that pop culture influences teens both positively andnegatively. Further, studies have concluded that teenager`smisbehavior such as drug abuse, smoking, violence and poorperformance is as a result of exposure to pop culture through massand social media (Taffel 83). However, the existing research fails topoint out that apart from the influence there are also other factorsthat cause teen violence and drug abuse. These factors include familyabuse and poverty. These studies demonstrate that pop culture shouldnot be blamed for teenage misbehavior.


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Bandura,Albert. SocialLearning Theory.Morristown: General Learning Press, 2013. Print.

Brym,Robert J, and John Lie. Sociology:Pop Culture to Social Structure.Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.

Grunes,Barbara. Investingin Our Future: A National Research Initiative for America`s Children.S.l.: Diane Pub Co, 2011. Print.

Taffel,Ron. BreakingThrough to Teens: Psychotherapy for the New Adolescence.New York: Guilford Publications, 2010. Print.

Wolfe,David A, Peter G. Jaffe, and Claire V. Crooks. AdolescentRisk Behaviors: Why Teens Experiment and Strategies to Keep ThemSafe.New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010. Internet resources.