Monday, December 30, 2013

The Plight of Little Johnny

This is something I wrote for Speech class, the assignment was to incorporate elements of story-telling to make the speech more interesting than just spouting off research. So, I give you, (Drum roll….) The Plight of Little Johnny: the tragic story of how video games affect children.                           

                                           HOW VIDEO GAMES AFFECT CHILDREN

            Johnny is a 9 yr. old boy growing up in America. He does well in school, he has lots of friends, he is a star member of the baseball team, he spends time with his family, finishes his homework, and is the model of a well behaved little boy. Until the day he unwrapped an Xbox given to him by Uncle Bob. It was an innocent gift until Johnny’s days become absorbed by playing video games.  He is becoming violent from playing gory games. He is getting fat, because he quit the baseball team, to have more time to keep playing video games. And worse of all, he is becoming addicted to the games.
            The reason Johnny is becoming so violent after hours of playing gory video games is because constant violence will alter your brain. The brain’s neurons are always changing, constantly adjusting to your situation and surroundings. If the brain is exposed to violence on a regular basis, the frontal lobes of the brain are affected and activity in those lobes slow down. The frontal lobes are responsible for controlling emotion and aggressive behavior. One study show that even 20 mins every day raises dangerous behavior from gamers. The young the gamer, the more the violence affects the brain. Surveys found children ages 7 through 12 routinely play games rated M for mature audiences. 71% of all videogames contain violence and 25% percent have extreme gore. Studies have found that young adults showed less activation in certain frontal brain regions after just one week of playing violent video games.
            Because Johnny quit the baseball team to keep playing video games, he consequently gained too much weight. Decrease in exercise and physical activity is one of the leading causes for child obesity. Research done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that kids from the ages 8-18 spend an hour and half every day playing video games.  A recent study suggests every hour children play video games may double their risk of obesity. Every week, there are 3 billion hours spent playing video games globally.  This means that video game usage is displacing the time children could spend in more physically demanding pursuits such as playing baseball in little Johnny’s case.
            Quickly, Johnny's life starts revolving around playing video games. When he isn't playing the games, he is thinking about playing them. It has consumed his young life. Although, it's not too surprising, because research shows that the younger the gamer, the easier it is to become addicted. Subsequently, Johnny's grades in school begin to fall, because he isn't turning in his homework. He can't concentrate during class because his thoughts are on winning the next level of the game. The definition of Addiction is "persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful." He knows that when he plays video games, instead of doing homework, his grades fall. But as hard as he tries he can't resist the games. Which leads to depression. Now Johnny plays the games to escape the hole he has dug himself into, to forget about his failing grades, to escape his growing depression. And all of this was predicted by Professor Gunter Schumann, from the Institute of Psychiatry. Professor Schumann, who did research on internet addicts, discovered more patterns of “abnormal white matter" on brain scans of internet addicts, compared with scans of non-addicts. The research showed that the "white matter" was blocking pathways related to emotions, decision-making, and self-control. And other studies said, once addicted to video games, children were more likely to become depressed, which leads to more addiction. Johnny’s future looking closer to the classic video gamer, living in his parent’s basement, playing video games 8-12 hours a day.
            Now, the once future Ivy League student reduced to a violent, fat kid who is addicted to video games. Is there any hope for poor little Johnny? His parents could send him to China, where they have over 200 military- style boot camps for overcoming video game addiction.  Or  his parent could start reducing the time he is allowed to play the games and  have interact with other people to start reversing the damages done by violent games. To help him lose the weight gained from inactivity, he can re-join the baseball team. Then Johnny’s parents can give him another hobby to fill his time to help him get over his addiction. It will take time, up to two years for severe addiction, but there is hope for little Johnny.

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