NCT Movie: The Churn


NCT Essay: Computer and Video Games

The introduction and development of technology has provided society with a number of valuable tools and resources. Although video games can offer a great range of opportunities for teaching, learning and brain stimulation, there is evidence to suggest that the advancement, popularity and excessive use of video games have the capability of negatively influencing the mental, emotional and physical health of young people.  This essay will highlight the issues associated with the excessive use of computer and video games and the implications on the developing minds of young people.

Research conducted by the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University, found that the addiction to video games increases the mental issues in young people. Video game addiction includes the compulsive playing of games, an obsession and focus on gaming achievements, isolation from friends, family or other varieties of social communication. The study which was undertaken for over two years, found that of the 3000 children surveyed, one in ten were addicted to video gaming and the doctors hypothesized that these gaming addictions would open up the opportunity for other addictions in later life. The affects of video and computer gaming is illuminated by the idea that “when children became addicted, their depression, anxiety, and social phobias got worse, and their grades dropped” (Sherry, 2006. p420). A leading council from the American Medical Association’s are attempting to have these behaviours officially classified as a psychiatric disorder, to raise awareness and to assist sufferers in accessing insurance coverage for treatment (Anderson, 2007. p8).

A number of today’s video games are especially targeted at young boys and many of these games focus their attention on violence, whether it is through fighting, weapons or verbal abuse. Laboratory evidence from the Psychological Study in the Journal of Law and Economics indicates that these games heighten physical and emotional reactions related to violent, criminal, and antisocial attitudes (Ward, 2010).  Public attention and debate has been sparked by a number of game induced tragedies and John O’Toole from the Federal Bureau of Investigation links the perpetrators to having a long history of excessive exposure to violent video games. This includes the mass school shootings in America and the case of a 21 year old that failed a game level, lost control and shot himself. The characteristics of the criminals who conducted the mass school shootings in America were described by as young people who “spent inordinate amounts of time playing video games with violent themes, and seems more interested in the violent images than in the game itself” (O’Toole in Anderson, 2007. p3-4).

Going hand in hand with today’s violent video games are the many forms of inappropriate behaviour. Generally, crime is accepted and promoted with the major objective of many games being to commit illegal acts such as burglary, running from police and killing innocent bystanders with a myriad of weapons. The themes go beyond violence and stretch into beatings, profanity, sexual material and criminal activity. Australian Childhood Foundation chief executive Joe Tucci holds major concern for the wellbeing of young people who are exposed to violent video games and believes that children as young as six are displaying inappropriate sexual behaviour due to the saturation of violent video games and are learning inappropriate attitudes towards women and ethnic groups in particular (Tucci in Rowlands, 2011).A recent study by The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has found that “popular M-rated video games contain a wide range of unlabelled content and may expose children and adolescents to messages that may negatively influence their perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours” (Thompson, 2006. p402).

Whilst there is evidence to suggest that many video and computer games can be used as vital learning resources and tools, the large majority of computer and video games waste significant amounts of time and cause more damage than benefits. These major impacts of excessive video game use have been linked to learning issues, fatigue and loss of concentration in schools. Researchers found in a recent study that video game usage and poor results at school were linked. A survey undertaken by young people aged from 10 to 19, found that kids who played video games spent 30% less time reading and 34% less time doing homework (Weis, 2010. p132).

Despite the development of video games which involve physical activity and movement, it has been found that they encourage children to stay indoors rather than seek exercise outside. It is also suggested that these games do not make significant difference to the health of young people. Due to the excessive use of video games, children are more likely to gain weight due to the lack of physical exercise. According to recent research from the Society of Nutrition, made direct links between the playing of computer and video games and overeating and it was found that adolescent boys are more likely to eat more food whilst playing video games even if they aren’t hungry (Maddison, 2011. P156). This is known as mindless eating and is a contributing factor to childhood obesity. This idea is reinforced by “Screen activities are thought to encourage sedentary lifestyles in young people and draw them away from health-promoting activities” (Maddison, 2011. P159).

Despite the positive connotations of certain video games and their ability to stimulate the brain, computer and video games can paint unrealistic pictures of reality or the way things are supposed to be.  This idea is reinforced by the issues associated with the excessive use of these games and the themes which are explored and positively portrayed by the games. Violence, sexual material, crime, blood and gore and fighting are all themes commonly instilled within popular video games and are all damaging and influencing the behaviours and health of impressionable young minds.

Word Count: 951

Reference List

1-      Anderson, C. (2001). Violent Video Games Effects on Children and Adolescents. Psychological Science. 12 (5), p353-359.

2-      Maddison, R. (2011). Effects of active video games on body composition. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 94 (1), p156-163.

3-      Sherry, J. (2006). The effects of violent video games on aggression. Human Communication Research. 27 (3), p409-431.  

4-      Rowlands, L. (2011). Children display inappropriate behaviour due to sexual and violent ads, music videos, games . Available: Last accessed 16th Sep 2012.

5-      Shute, V. (2011). Chapter 10. In: V, Shute. M, Ventura. Y, Kim. L, Wang Assessing learning in Video Games. Sydney: UNSW Press. 1-30

6-      Thompson, K. (2006). Content and Ratings of Mature-Rated Video Games. Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 160 (4), p402-410.

7-      Van Horn, R. (1999). Violence and Video Games. The Phi Delta Kappan. 81 (2), p173-174.

8-      Ward, M. (2010). Video Games and Adolescent Fighting. The Journal of Law and Economics. 53 (3), pp611-628.

9-      Weis, R. (2010). Effects of Video-Game Ownership on Young Boys’ Academic and Behavioural Functioning. Psychological Science. 23 (9), p126-139.

Week 8: Essay Tools.

Now that I have chosen my topic, I have begun to brainstorm arguments and ideas. I have been trying to utilize a number of different tools to organize my information. The first is ‘Bubbl’ which is a useful mindmapping tool which has enabled me to expand my ideas further. I have developed some of the major ideas which are shown in the midmap.

Week 8: Essay Development.

At this point of my essay progress, I am taking a negative approach to the topic, and will be highlighting the negative effects that excessive video game use can cause. There are a number of different elements to the topic which include mental health, the impact on education, the inappropriate exposure to adult themes and the unrealistic ideas which video games can portray. Mental health is a major concern as there is evidence to prove that video games contribute to mental health and general health issues. There is also evidence to suggest that children who have has extensive exposure to games have had learning difficulties which include fatigue and lack of concentration in the classroom. The inappropriate exposure to adult themes can easily influence and corrupt children to believe that these issues are reality and can often cause increased aggression and violence.

NCT Essay Topic.

I have selected the topic regarding the extensive use of computer/video games and the impacts they have on young people.

Following some research, there is evidence to suggest that violent video games can be linked to aggressive, addictive and anti-social behaviour. Video games can also expose young people to blood and gore, intense violence, strong sexual content and the use of drugs which can paint unrealistic pictures of reality to impressionable young minds.

Week 6.

The topic of censorship and the ‘clean feed’ was discussed in the lecture this week following the Australian Federal Governments attempt to censor the internet for all Australians. Some describe it as “the internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it” (Gilmore, 2007). Others say that it is a positive step, but I see a number of flaws in the argument.

Ideally, the filter is to prevent underage pornographic material from circulating the internet, however the filter will not prevent the people who are willfully making, accessing and trading child pornography material. It is being masked within the depths of the world wide web. Rather then spending millions of dollars implementing the filter into every Australian home, a greater emphasis should be put on police funding to infiltrate and prosecute the groups of people who are responsible for distributing and creating the material.

The filter has also been criticised as it will ban much more content than child pornography. It will block sites regarding euthanasia, abortion and other controversial issues. This is information that people have a right to access within their own home. I believe that the government is crossing the boundary of what is right and wrong to search on the website. “I don’t want to be told what I can and can’t look at because of what the government deem inappropriate” (Kreimer, 2006. p11).

Whilst the general idea has its benefits, the filter will not discontinue the main issue of ceasing the spread of child sexual abuse material. Instead, controversial material will banned under government discretion and millions of tax payers dollars will be spent with no positive results.

Kreimer, S. (2006). Censorship by proxy: the first amendment, Internet intermediaries, and the problem of the weakest link. Social Science Research Network. 2006 (11), p9-16.

Tutorial task 6: Political participation via the internet.

There are a number of different avenues to engage and participate in political issues.

Signing an e-petition:
Petitioning is one of the traditional channels to male requests direct to Parliament. It is a formal request signed by at least one person and placed before the Parliament with the object of persuading the Parliament to take some particular action. The e-petitions are available on the Queensland Government website and are easily accessible to all memebers of the public.

Respond to a professional blogger at a major news site:
Major news sites have varying methods of response or opinion. Many use social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter to give opportunity for feedback and blog sites give the opportunity to post a comment.                                                                                                                                                                                                       

What is Barak Obama up to today? Can you send him a message about the importance of freedom on the internet?:
There are a few different avenues for contacting Barak Obama or other people of the same stature. Most modern day politicians utilise social media sites and general daily duties are often updated on sites such as Twitter. General comments and questions can be sent via the White House website.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

What are the Australian Government’s plans to censor the internet (the so-called “Clean Feed”)?:
The Australian Federal Government is pushing forward with a plan to force Internet Service Providers to censor the Internet for all Australians with a content blocking system known as ‘clean feed’ with the aim to block access to child pornography and inappropriate content.

What place does censorship have in a democracy?:
There are many controversial and conflicting arguments for this subject. Blogs and forums are often the channel most often used for discussions such as this.

When will the NBN get to your place? What are the benefits?:
Work will commence within the next three years and it is estimated that the average time from work beginning to NBN services being available is 12 months. The benefits of NBN include telehealth, remote learning, videoconferencing, gaming, smart homes, working from home, media, entertainment, faster internet and interactive shopping.                                                                                                                                                                              

Find out who your local, state and federal representatives are. Send one a message:
Information on local, state and federal members can be found on the ‘member list’ on the Queensland Parliament website. Contact details are available and emails can be sent directly to their office.

Look up the Queensland or Australian Hansard to find the last time your local member spoke in parliament:
The current Member for Greenslopes is Ian Kaye of the Liberal National Party of Queensland. He last presented to parliament on the 13th of May 2012 when he presented his maiden speech.

Let your local member know what you think about their last speech:
As there is a strong emphasis on technology within modern politics, there is more than one avenue in contacting local members. The local member for Greenslopes can be contacted through his website and his Twitter account.                                                                                                                                                                       

Tutorial task 5: Social Media Survey.

In this weeks tutorial, I conducted a survey on social media. To vary the results, I distributed the survey via blogs, Facebook, Twitter and email. In my research, I have found many predictions that Facebook is slowly losing popularity over other social media sites so I decided to direct a question directly at the preference of site. Surprisingly, 96% of the people surveyed said they use Facebook the most, with 62% using it ‘extremely often’. I recently read an article which stated that the biggest concern was hacking or the release of personal information. However, 94% of the people I surveyed were responsibly managing their profile and weren’t concered. I found that 83% of people found bullying and pointless status’ the biggest annoyance. I was quite surprised with the findings, and conflicted with several articles regarding social media sites.

Week 5.

During this weeks tutorial, we discussed whether our personal use of Facebook was going up, down or changing to a different platform. When I first began using MySpace as a 15 year old, I used it as a form of communication with friends from school. When I made the change to Facebook two years later, I used it for the same reason. Looking  back, I wasted a signficant amount of time on social media when it was unnecessary. As I have become older, my uses of social media have changed. I relied quite heavily on Facebook as an exchange student for a year, and was the only form of communication between myself and Australia. I began using it not only for sharing photos and keeping in touch, but as a way of connecting with home.

It has been predicted that Facebook will be the next victim of churn and like MySpace, will fade out and be replaced by the next best thing. The article ‘Internet giants can earn with ease, it’s the churn they must fear’ by Paul Sheehan presents the  idea that “No brand is safe. Dominant one decade, irrelevant the next” (Sheehan, 2012. p15). This highlights the main concern that social media sites face, and the fight to be at the top of the social media chain.

The constant battle between social media sites has seen the demise of sites such as MySpace and Yahoo, and the rise of new social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. However, it has been predicted that in five to eight years, Facebook will disappear in the way that Yahoo has and is described as being “cannibalised by Twitter” (Sheehan, 2012. p18). The length of success of these sites are unpredictable which was shown through the fall of Facebooks market value which fell from $US104 billion to $US55 billion overnight (Sheehan, 2012. p 15).

I have found Facebook to be the most useful social networking site as it has more than one use. However, with the advancement of new communication technologies, existing social media sites that relied on their popularity and individuality are beginning to fall below the standard levels of change and ‘churn’ in todays technology.

Sheehan, P. (2012). Internet giants can earn with ease, it’s the churn they must fear. SMH. p15-16.

Week 4: Blade Runner.

In this weeks lecture, the film ‘Blade Runner’ by Ridley Scott was used as an example of cyberpunk as it is what gave cyberpunk science fiction its visual representation, and has become the definitive cyberpunk movie.

One of the most prominent themes within the film is the idea of creation without responsibility and of man being destroyed by his own creation.This is shown through Tyrell, who creates the Replicants. Mankind fears them so much that they ban them from Earth and Batty defies his creator’s instructions and returns to kill him. Another theme is free will and obedience which is shown through Batty’s enlightenment and Deckard’s eventual decision to rebel, taking Rachael with him.

Our lecturer posed the question as to whether Deckard is a human or a replicant and there are a number of references throughout the film to suggest that he is in fact a replicant. The first suggestion is his apartment being full of photographs and replicants generally like them as it provides a tie to a non-existent past. Another tie is his reluctance to respond to whether he passed the Voight-Kampff test himself. There is also a scene when Deckards eyes glow red as the replicants eyes do. One of the greatest arguments to suggest that he is a replicant is shown through the beatings from three different androids of superhuman strength, without any visible impairment on his reasoning skills, physical fitness or overall health.

Giuliana, B. (1987). Ramble City: Postmodernism and “Blade Runner”. October. 41 (1), 61-74.