Violent Video Games: A Necessity or Not So Much?

In regards to violent video games and its effects on the human brain, I wanted to research and find out more on why and how video games such as Halo and Call of Duty can be beneficial to young adults.

As humans, we are certainly not perfect. There are times when we will think thoughts and later become ashamed or even embarrassed for thinking them. We will make plenty of mistakes and we will (hopefully) learn from them. At the age of a young adult is where we tend to make most of our mistake and young adults in particular are in the midst of a developing mind and often have trouble expressing their emotions and/or thoughts.

Because of the growing pains young adults endure, a lot of the time there is no outlet to release some of the frustrations that they might feel from a relationship with a significant other, a family member, school, etc., which is why it may not be a bad thing for violent video games to be permitted. However, in my opinion, there should be a balance between playing video games and spending time with family, friends and on school work. If one becomes too “tunnel-vision” on violent video games, this could lead to future problems.

However, if violent video games are played responsibly, there are a lot of benefits to it.

“People who play video games such as Activision Blizzard Inc.’s ‘Call of Duty’ are better able to multitask, perform cognitive tasks such as rotating objects in their minds and focus and retain information better than non-players,” said a research professor, Daphne Bavelier, in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester in New York.

What is most interesting, according to a study that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is that non-gamers also improved their multi-tasking and cognitive skills after researchers assigned them to play a violent video game for as long as two hours, five times a week for two months. The results of this study were that the benefits lasted for as long as a year.

Not only was there one study produced in the matter of positive benefits from violent video games, but the American Psychological Association also performed a study. In regards to this study, playing video games may also help children develop problem-solving skills. Apparently, “the more adolescents reported playing strategic violent video games, such as role-playing games, the more they improved in problem solving and school grades the following year.”

So, even though there is a big controversy as to whether or not violent video games should be allowed access, it seems as if playing these types of games can actually produce more positive benefits than harmful effects.

What is your opinion in relation to my previous post about the harmful effects on video games and this post? Are violent video games necessary and beneficial to have in our society if young adults use these games wisely?

Violent Video Games: A Necessity or Not So Much?

Shedding Light on the Pros: Dating Through Social Media

For the future blogs to come, instead of stressing the negative qualities that social media carries, I will now take the topics that I have previously discussed and shed light on the positive qualities that social media has to offer. So, for this particular post, let’s begin with dating!

Last week, I focused on how dating can be detrimental to our culture by using social media to date and meet other people. I focused on how we use social media to find out and pretty much background check the person we are interested in. I focused on a lot of the cons of dating through social media, but let’s explore the pros and why we actually do this.

For one, I think that we can all agree that many of us use dating sites such as Match or certain social media sites because it’s easy. In this busy, chaotic world that we live in today, it’s not realistic to snap our fingers and have our dream man or woman appear in our lives. It’s also not common that we will find “the one” if we decide to go out clubbing or to a bar just that one time. It takes a lot of time and patience to date. There are seven billion people in the world, so by having social media and online dating sites, it can make the dating process a lot easier to find someone that you may be compatible with. For instance, those who have social media like Instagram and Twitter, sometimes people put their relationship status, job occupation, college, or interests in to their bio, which is something that anyone can see whether the account is private or public. Just by the information in the bio, it may or may not spark our interests in this person.

As for the “background checking” that I previously and negatively mentioned in my previous post, this may also be a good thing (to a certain extent). Now, we don’t want to overdo the social media stalking that many of us are guilty for, but there is certainly no harm in checking out a person’s social media accounts to get a feel as to who they are. This process may save some time in the dating world because who wants to waste their time going on a date with someone who, for example, acts like a jerk on Twitter? Not I.

Of course, we all want the fantasy of having that romantic/funny conversation of how we met our significant other by, for instance, bumping into each other in the park, making awkward eye contact in meteorology class, or simply by having to go up to him/her because you needed to meet that person for some reason. However, it’s the 21st century and things are a lot different now more than ever with the (good and bad) gift of technology and social media. Although we dream about having those moments of meeting our partners, it’s time to accept and embrace the world we now live in. Although it may seem embarrassing to have met someone through social media or a dating site, it is now a big chunk of part of our culture. A happy meeting and a happy ending don’t necessarily need to come out of a romantic/funny story. We can have that same romantic love story even through the face of our computer screens.

Shedding Light on the Pros: Dating Through Social Media

Relationships and Dating: Then vs. Now

We Hope. "Take a good look adams kovacs 1960.JPG" 1960. Public Domain.
We Hope. “Take a good look adams kovacs 1960.JPG” 1960. Public Domain.

At that age where every little girl (and boy) fantasizes about love, out of curiosity I asked my grandfather how he met my grandmother. “She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen,” he said, “We were in a candy shop, and while she was picking out what she wanted I went up to her and asked her to go out to dinner with me. The rest is history.”

Isn’t that the perfect story of how two people met? I mean, I know this was in the 1960s, but still, these types of love stories aren’t all that common anymore. If you ask many adults now of where they met their partner, it is not uncommon that he/she may say “Oh, we met online!” Where’s the romance in that? There definitely are some benefits that come along with meeting a significant other through social media, but it’s scary at the same time to think that this is what the future may entirely consist of.

Dating is exhausting, and it’s understandable as to why no one even goes out on a formal date anymore. Though even when we do, before our date we look through their social media accounts to get the scoop on what their interests are, the types of pictures they take (perhaps to get a better understanding as to what type of person they are by taking that picture?), and who they hang out with – sort of like a background check, right? And yes, when we think about how this is the process people go through while they are interested in someone else, we’ve all done it… so don’t act so innocent! But it’s natural to us in this new dating world because social media is such an enormous part of our culture.

Not only are we background-checking our dates and seeing what they’re all about, but we’re also comparing our romantic lives to the likes of others, which is another flaw that social media contains. On Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever other social media outlet you have, we use it to “show off” our lives, if you will. By putting the certain pictures of our choosing up on these social media outlets, we are choosing what information that we give out to our followers or friends. For instance, everyone has that a guy or girl who puts constant pictures of their significant other on their account for everybody to see. Because I’m young, with every relationship picture that is posted on, say, Instagram, there will sometimes be a comment under the picture that says “relationship goals” with a heart emoji next to it. And this is where our problem lies when it comes to social media and relationships because those who are single envy that couple in the post.

It comes down to perfection. Everyone wants the perfect partner, the perfect relationship, and the perfect life, and even though this isn’t realistic, the reasoning behind this theory of perfection, most of the time, is through the posts we see through social media. We don’t realize that this so-called “perfect” couple who posts constant pictures on Facebook may actually have an unstable relationship in reality. There could even be abuse between those two people. However, no one sees this potential bumpy downside to this couple because it’s hard to see and believe that reality with their smiling faces staring back at you through the face of your phone screen.

Social media will always be prominent in our society no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves that there will be a change in eliminating it. In business, school, or whatever jobs we may have in the future, social media will always play a big role. However, we can control how we choose to operate our dating life. We can control how we use our social media accounts. Evidentially, it’s up to us to change the way dating is within our culture.

Relationships and Dating: Then vs. Now

Should Violent Video Games be Banned?

JohnnyMrNinja "Tex Playing Video Games" 2005. CC-BY-2.0
JohnnyMrNinja “Tex Playing Video Games” 2005. CC-BY-2.0

There has been a lot of discussion about certain video games and whether or not they should be banned – especially after these games being linked to multiple school shooting perpetrators. For instance, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He was known to have isolated himself in his room with garbage bags covering his windows, letting no light in. Inside this room, he would play hours of violent video games, such as Kindergarten Killers, Call of Duty 4, and Gears of War. Although it is reported that Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger’s at a young age, investigators believe that his constant hours of video game playing was definitely a contributing factor to the shooting.

For those of you who feel that video games should stay permitted, may I ask why? Is it not alarming that some people purchase Call of Duty or Halo because they want to hypothetically kill others? What is the point?

Dr. Vincent Matthews and his colleagues at Indiana University, who have studied media violence many times before, have performed a study by looking into the brains using fMRI (functional MRI) scans of 28 students who were randomly selected to play either a violent, first-person shooter game or non-violent game every day for a week. To also add, none of the participants had previous experience with gaming.

After discovering that those who played the violent video games showed less activity in areas that involved emotions, attention and inhibition, Dr. Matthews said, “Behavioral studies have shown an increase in aggressive behavior after violent video games, and what we show is the physiological explanation for what the behavioral studies are showing. We’re showing that there are changes in brain function that are likely related to that behavior.”

In another study, investigators discovered people who played a violent video game for three consecutive days showed increases in aggressive behavior and hostile expectations each day they played. This study is the first to show long-term effects from playing violent video games.

“Playing video games could be compared to smoking cigarettes. A single cigarette won’t cause lung cancer, but smoking over weeks or months or years greatly increases the risk. In the same way, repeated exposure to violent video games may have a cumulative effect on aggression,” said Dr. Brad Bushman, co-author of this study.

Even after countless studies, many believe that violent video games should still be accessible. Many still believe that violent video games are harmless in our society when they can actually cause damage and play a significant role in school shootings. Is it truly a necessity to have these types of games in our society… in our lives?

Should Violent Video Games be Banned?

Destroying ISIS Through Social Media

Illegitimate Barrister. "Flag of the Islamic State" 2014. CC BY-SA 3.0
Illegitimate Barrister. “Flag of the Islamic State” 2014. CC BY-SA 3.0
BotMultichillT. "Social Media Platforms" 2011. CC BY 2.0
BotMultichillT. “Social Media Platforms” 2011. CC BY 2.0

For what seems like forever, we’ve been hearing about the Islamic State and the terrifying threats that they constantly make to their enemies (everyone else), including American citizens. A lot of us have seen the horrifying videos of these terrorists brutally murdering innocent people. Most individuals are living in fear because of this terroristic group, and are wondering what their next move and who their next murder victim will be.

The majority of the threats that the Islamic State makes are through social media – mostly through Twitter and Facebook. Why? Because they want to make it a point to scare their enemies and recruit people to join their forces.

There is an estimate of at least 46,000 Twitter accounts that were active in supporting the Islamic State in the fall of 2014. With Twitter becoming aware of this, they suspended a lot of these accounts, however, ISIS still found a way to generate more than 200,000 tweets per day. Though, unlike Twitter, Facebook made it nearly impossible for ISIS to have accounts, eliminating all of supporting pages and online groups. With social media cracking down on ISIS’s support pages and accounts, it is making it difficult for the group to push propaganda to the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the Islamic State is still finding ways to influence and put fear on those around the world using Twitter. In result, about 20,000 people around the world flocked to join ISIS.

So how should we go about this? Many are questioning as to whether or not fighting ISIS through social media is even necessary. Should we just stay out of it? Should we fight them through the face our smart phones and computer screens? What can Twitter do to eliminate all tweets from ISIS once and for all? There’s no easy answer for all of these questions. First, if we fight them through social media, we are feeding into their nonsense and giving them the attention they desire. If we do not fight them, we are ignoring them and letting them get away with their recruiting process and constant propaganda to the world. Where is the middle ground here? It seems like no matter how many accounts are eliminated, there are still horrific tweets being broadcasted to the world.

So here are some suggestions that Twitter should take into consideration:

  1. Deepen the investigation on Twitter accounts that use terroristic terms or is affiliated with ISIS and make it a goal to terminate all accounts related to the group. This procedure will make Twitter a safer atmosphere by securely monitoring all accounts throughout Twitter through terms being used.
  2. Become more like Facebook and YouTube by instituting policy changes specific to extremism. Twitter allegedly doesn’t have a specified policy related to supporting, endorsing or marketing for extremist groups like ISIS, therefore this may be one of the better suggestions that Twitter should consider making a point.

Although it may take months or even years to permanently remove every single ISIS account on Twitter, but these steps are making progress towards a safer “Twitter atmosphere” for users to peacefully continue to be active on Twitter without ISIS’s interruption of propaganda and terror.

Destroying ISIS Through Social Media

Say Hello to Meerkat, and I’m Not Talking about the Mammal

Van der Chijs, Marc. "Meerkat - The Future of Live Streaming?" 2015. CC BY-ND 2.0
Van der Chijs, Marc. “Meerkat – The Future of Live Streaming?” 2015. CC BY-ND 2.0

There has been a new social media icon that is getting a lot of attention these days: Meerkat. I’m not sure if any of you were aware of its existence, but apparently it is the app the month!

If you are not aware of exactly what Meerkat is about, good, because I am about to tell you. Some would refer to this app as “Twitter’s cousin,” because in order to use it, you must have a Twitter.

Meerkat is primarily used for live streaming. Therefore, if there is an event that you cannot make it to, Meerkat would be the perfect platform to tune into because the app is all about live streaming. However, while the live broadcasts are streaming, it is only then when the viewer can tune in because it is not likely for the broadcaster to save it unless they are going to upload the video onto other social media platforms like YouTube.

You’re probably wondering, “What is so good about Meerkat then?” You also can probably name many other live streaming social media platforms in society. So, to answer that question, Meerkat has something that other live streaming platforms do not have: timing, simplicity and its cheaper than all of its competitors.

Let’s face it, we all want something that we can use easily. That is why Meerkat is perfect for anyone to use, whether someone is at a public event or if he/she wants to video tape something in the moment that is important to him/her.

So why am I bringing this up? You’re probably wondering. Well, I want to know what you all think about it and where you think social media platforms are going.

When I was in high school Twitter seemed ridiculous to me, especially Instagram. From what I knew, Twitter was a place where you project what you were thinking and/or feeling to the public. Instagram seemed similar to Twitter, only it was pictures that were being posted; not words.

To my surprise, however, Twitter and Instagram have become social media sensations and I even have accounts for both platforms. At times when I have no computer access, I rely on Twitter to give me the information I need from news organizations. I not only use Instagram primarily for entertainment, but also to follow interesting accounts that are best known for exquisite photography and artwork, which I learn a lot from. These social media platforms are examples of big-hit sensations, and there is some wonder if Meerkat will be one of them, especially since it is significantly helpful for journalists and other workforces.

Meerkat can either be a hit or a miss, I’m not sure if there is a middle ground. So, the question is whether or not Meerkat will be grouped with Twitter and Instagram or grouped with the one-hit wonders. Is it possible that the path social media platforms are going down are utterly stupid or could this path lead to success for the future?

Say Hello to Meerkat, and I’m Not Talking about the Mammal