Computer Games & Brain development
It has been found that computer games tend to damage brain of teenagers by stunting the developing mind. These computer games are producing dumbed-down generation of children far more disposed to violence than the previous generation. There is tendency to lose control over oneself.
Using the most sophisticated technology, the level of brain activity was measured in hundred of teenagers playing a Nintendo game and compared to the brain scan of other students doing a simple,repetitive arithmetical exercise.
Professor Ryunta Kawashima and his team at Tohoku University in Japan found out that the computer games only stimulated activity in the parts of the brain associated with vision and movement.
In contrast, arithmetic stimulated brain activity in both the left and right hemispheres of the Frontal lobes. This area of the brain is most associated with learning, memory and emotion. The Frontal lobe has important role to play in keeping an individual’s behaviour in check. This lobe of the brain continues to grow until the age of about 20.
Whenever you use self control to refrain from doing something you should not do, it is the frontal lobe that is hard at work.
We know that children often do things that they shouldn’t. its because their frontal lobes are underdeveloped. The more work done to thicken the fibres connecting the neurons in this part of brain, the better the child’s ability will be to control their behaviour. The more this area is stimulated, the more these fibres will thicken.
Thus, the students who played computer games were halting the process of brain development and affecting their ability to control potential anti social element of their behaviour. The implication is that we may be going for an increasingly violent society. These students would certainly be different than those who are doing things like reading aloud or learning arithmetic.
Prof. Kawashima was in fact involved in research to investigate the level of brain activity in children playing video games expecting to find evidence suggestive of hidden benefits for the children playing computer games and was startled by what he discovered.
The activity of the brain was mapped by giving the students minute doses of radioactive substance through intravenous drip which allowed a computer to map a complex picture of their brains at work. A subsequent study was conducted using magnetic resonance imaging.
Though it is often thought that only left hemisphere is active for mathematical work and that the right hemisphere is stimulated by more creative thinking, the professor found that arithmetic produced a high level of activity in both the hemispheres.
It was also found that arithmetic exercises also stimulated more activity than listening to music or listening to reading. Reading out aloud was also found to be a very effective activity for activating frontal lobe.
Children need to be encouraged to learn basic reading and writing. They should be asked to play outside with other children and to interact and to communicate with others as much as possible. This is how they develop, retain their creativity and become good people.