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Are video games really that bad?



By Varenya Sharma

“Thank you, Ravi and Ananya. I now invite Kavita and Madhuri to the stage,” the announcer said. Kavita jerked up. She hadn’t really been paying attention until her name was called. She had been waiting for her turn for the last half an hour. And so, this was bound to happen. Then, she took a deep breath and jogged to her position on the stage.

“Your topic is – ‘Video games are bad for children’ Kavita, you have to speak in favour of this statement, and Madhuri, you, against it.”

Kavita glanced at the announcer. He looked tired. Madhuri hummed and tapped her fingers on the podium. After that, she looked at the seats where the audience was supposed to be. But, there was no one there because of Covid-19.

“Kavita, you may start now.”

“Video games, especially those with violence and themes unsuitable for children can have bad effects on us,” she started.

“First of all, it is very easy for kids to become habitual to video games. This can lead to academic setbacks and health issues. Further, it can make them socially awkward since they are not able to spend time in the real world.” Here, she used her fingers as quotation marks, and then continued, “Now, games with violence lead to violent and aggressive behaviour. Sometimes, when a child is unable to clear a level, they feel irritated.”

She glanced at Madhuri who was expressionless and continued, “I would like to add that too much of anything is a problem. Too much of a game like chess is a problem, too much of social media is a problem and too much of video games is also a problem.

“And of course, if you play video games, you need to be careful. In case you chat with or make friends with strangers while playing video games on the internet, remember to never share your personal information with them,” she finished.

“Thank you Kavita. Now, Madhuri, you may begin.”

“Kavita, you have said that too much of anything is a problem. What you have failed to mention is that doing any activity can be beneficial. This is also the case with video games. Studies show that video games can improve hand-eye-coordination, problem-solving skills and make our ability to process information sharper.

“They also work well as hobbies and stress busters when played in moderation,” she said.

“Additionally, in the pandemic, with kids not being able to go out much, video games have become a big source of fun for people of all ages. They are also a safe way to stay connected with friends. Like Kavita said, we also need to be careful. It is always best to keep your screen time in check though; it is getting harder nowadays. It is ok to play and relax. You just need to keep certain things in mind before you begin. Thank you.”

Both Kavita and Madhuri smiled, satisfied with their performance. They walked off the stage.

“Since the last round is over, I would like to invite our esteemed judges to the stage to share their kind words along with the names of the winners”, the announcer cheerfully said.

Kavita was happy because she would finally go home. She blinked and shifted her attention to the judges.

“…I especially like how it was brought up that too much of anything is a problem, but doing any activity moderately can have its benefits,” one of the judges said. The only tie in this competition is between Madhuri and Kavita.

All the contestants were sitting in the first row and Madhuri and Kavita were two seats apart due to social distancing.

Madhuri turned to Kavita and said, “Want to play video games today? We can do it over zoom…”

Kavita happily nodded.