Children’s brains and video games

Ever had the urge to try a video game either now or when you were a child? They were not as prevalent when many parents were growing up but today children all over the world are spending hours on end in front of the computer or TV playing them.

Many have wondered if playing video games influences the development of children’s brains. Wondering if there was brain development related to the shocking brutality that many of the games possess and now a study may prove many of those correct.

Researchers from Indiana University through using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) mapped out the parts of the brain that are stimulated when children play video games. One group played a violent game while another group played a game that was as equally exciting but non-violet. The adolescents played for 30 minutes after which the doctors collected the MRI information.

Those playing the non-violent game had activity in the frontal area of the brain. This being the area associated with inhibition, self-control and concentration. Those that played the violent game had no activity in the frontal area of the brain but the game activated their amygdale. This is a part of the brain associated with emotional arousal, mainly anger.

These results are disturbing for many reasons. This part of the brain is the least cerebral and the most animal-like. It is where the most basic of instincts reside for example instincts that deal with survival, feeding and procreation. Of course this part of the brain has its importance. If you are starving your amygdale pushes you to find food. If you are being chased this part of the brain tells you to protect yourself the fight or flight mode – run for your life or stay and fight for it.

But what is worrisome is the amygdale has no capacity for logic, objective decision making or reason and cannot express tolerance, love or understanding. Now how will you feel knowing your child along with millions of others are over stimulating this area of the brain for hours and hours on end. Is it concerning, it should be.

Why, well other research has shown repetitive thoughts and repetitive actions reinforce whatever thoughts or actions you are practicing thus raising the percentages that you will repeat that same action or thought in the future.