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Parents and teachers must allow children and teenagers to watch TV shows and play video games. This realization was made possible by integrating the insights found in these two articles: Watching TV Makes You Smarter and Fallout. Steve Johnson provided a well-developed argument on how TV shows can help children improve cognitive skills. However, Tom Bissel’s experience with playing video games provides an encouragement, and a warning on the impact of video games. Parents and teachers must allow children to watch TV and play video games because of its intellectually stimulating benefit, however, they must choose age-appropriate content and teach time management skills.
Intellectually Stimulating Content
It is easy to dismiss the importance of watching TV and playing video games because of how parents and teacher compare these two activities with other time honored learning programs. For example, learning a new language, or studying Algebra is far more beneficial than watching a popular soap opera on TV. Judging from the long-term impact of watching TV, and studying the basics of Algebra, it is easy to conclude that the latter can help students acquire the necessary skills needed to succeed in the workplace.
The same thing can be said if one will compare the measurable results of learning a computer language, so that the student can create software that will in turn help a specific problem in society. At first glance it is more beneficial to study the basics of computer science as compared to playing video games. However, success is not just the end result of acquiring knowledge. Success is also the byproduct of developing the skills to solve problems. Watching TV and playing computer games can help develop a child’s cognitive capabilities. These activities may not provide the required knowledge needed to build buildings or cure cancer; nonetheless, watching TV and playing video games can help the child process complex problems, and develop a solution for them.
Researchers made an interesting correlation between watching TV and reading books, and they said the following: “Think of the cognitive benefits of conventionally ascribed to reading: attention, patience, retention, the parsing of narrative threads. Over the last half-century, programming on TV has increased the demand it places on precisely these mental faculties” (Johnson 172). Although it is true that watching TV and playing video games can be mentally stimulating activities, it is important to remember the value of selecting shows and video games that can help children accomplish the said goal.
In other words, not all TV shows, and not all video games are beneficial for the cognitive development of children and teenagers. It is not prudent for parents and teachers to give children and teenagers unbridled freedom to choose what to watch and play. The TV shows and video games they will choose may be high in entertainment value but inappropriate when it comes to cognitive development.
On the other hand, the ability to choose age-appropriate content is comparable to the utilization of effective learning tools to enhance the learning process. Consider for instance the insight cited earlier, about the ability of TV shows and video games to mimic the mental exercise provided by reading a book. From this point of view, one will be able to develop learning strategies that can harness these capabilities. Therefore, TV shows and video games can be considered as an attractive method to encourage children and teenagers to study a particular topic.
Learning the Discipline of Time Management
The benefits of using the TV set and video games to deliver age-appropriate content have become more evident. TV shows and video games have one advantage over books, and conventional classroom teaching techniques. It is the use of images and interactive technologies that engages different aspects of acquiring problem solving skills. Consider the difference between delivering a lecture about the importance of certain engineering skills, and the ability to teach the same topic using video games to actually build a structure through a simulation-type computer game.
Nevertheless, it is important for parents and teachers to teach the value of developing time-management skills. TV shows and video games are intellectually stimulating activities, and can help parents and teachers utilize an effective content delivery mechanism. However, there is no substitute for acquiring information that can help students develop practical solutions to every day problems and socio-economic challenges. One game addict unashamedly revealed spending seven hours playing a video game, and missed an important historical event that he could have witnessed if he had the discipline to turn off his Xbox 360 (Bissell 3). Children and teenagers must set aside time for school related activities.
The idea that TV shows and video games are detrimental to a child’s cognitive development is no longer one hundred percent accurate. An overview of popular TV shows and video games that are available in the market will lead to the conclusion that the opposite argument is true. In fact, sophisticated TV shows and well-crafted video games provide the same intellectual stimulation as reading a book. However, not all video games, and not all TV shows possess the same quality content that can help children and teenagers develop problem-solving skills. It is imperative to choose age-appropriate TV shows and video games to achieve this purpose. It is also important to develop time-management skills in order to set aside time for school related activities.
Bissell, Thomas. Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter. New York: Random House, 2010. Print.
Johnson, Steve. Watching TV Makes You Smarter. English 201 Advanced Rethoric, 2013. Web.