Education Expert Slams Video Games as Gifts for Boys

Fat, angry and stupid is no way to go through life, son…

At least, that’s what an education consultant seems to be saying as he cautions parents against buying video games as holiday gifts for their teenage sons.

In a guest column for EdNews, Bill Costello writes:

Boys are spending more than thirteen hours a week playing video games. As a result, they’re spending less time outdoors playing and exercising. Perhaps this is partially why they are four times more likely to be obese than they were thirty years ago.

Research consistently confirms that the more time boys spend playing video games, the more likely they are to do poorly in school—regardless of age. At a time when boys are already underperforming in school, video games only make the situation worse.

Many recent studies suggest that playing video games saps the motivation of boys and disconnects them from the real world… Violent video games are especially harmful. A definite link has been established between violent video games and antisocial behavior. Games like Grand Theft Auto and Halo can make your son more aggressive.

So if you’re thinking of buying video games for your son this holiday season, you might want to reconsider.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone

62 comments

  1. 0
    kattrick says:

    t seemed the Harry Potter books had resulted in an increase of reading. Because kids were spending more time inside reading, they were spending Term Papers For Sale less time outside doing active things. As a result, they weren’t suffering as many injuries. Buy Dissertation

    Funny, isn’t it. I remember reading that article, and thinking to myself, "Wait, now spending time inside and being inactive is a good thing?" The article could have just as easily been "Harry Potter makes kids fatter" by highlighting the exact same thing: kids are spending more time inside reading, instead of doing active things outside. Thesis service

  2. 0
    JustChris says:

    The number of crimes against children have not risen much if at all. Neighborhoods may go through their ups and downs but it’s easier to call for help these days. What HAS gone up is the number of REPORTS on pedophilia. We are never certain how many crimes go around because not all of them get reported. It is due to breakthroughs in communication that we have been able to become more vigilant which in turn fetches in more news (and we are better in finding the bad kind of news).

    It’s much in the way of how scientists discover the things in our universe. There are many, many more things we know that exist in our universe because of technology. The universe didn’t really change from 1900 to 2000. It’s only our perception of it.

  3. 0
    TBoneTony says:

    I highly agree on that one Maggie.

    I have known of many hard core female gamers that I have met online.

    I think that anyone who says that only boys play Videogames is someone who does not know anything about Videogames and is still stuck in their outdated 80’s Steriotype.

    Also the same reason why I think that the opinion that Violent Videogames reward points for head shots in games like Grand Theft Auto is completely rubbish and full of opinions that have no real fact of PLAYING THE GAME to back them up.

  4. 0
    digdug says:

    You just need to check his website to see what this is about. He charges a couple thousand for his “training” and lectures. If he can make parents paranoid about video games and convince them that theres something wrong with their kids, and that he has the answer, kaching! his cash register rings. So it doesnt matter to him what the facts are or what the science is, all that matters is getting people to buy his product. And ironically, guys like him need violent video games. If they didnt exist, he’d be out of business.

  5. 0
    SS says:

    hell no you can’t do 300 lbs if you weight 150.  heck you probably weight more than that.  i call bull.  i can barely bench my own weight(115).

    anyway on topic, school here is like two or three years behind other countries.  many kids here don’t even go past algebra 2.  kids in India by 10th grade are all doing calculus level work. 

  6. 0
    Meggie says:

    Finally, as many times as I’ve heard "kids aren’t exercising" stories, they all fail to mention this. In my neck of the woods (urban/suburban), community centers are closing, all open space is sold for condos (bad idea in this economy), and public parks were redesigned to only hold toddlers (since surely they’re the only ones who go outside to play). I’d say urban areas are just as dangerous as in the past, but with the expanded media (internet, 24-7 news, etc), you hear about how awful it is more often, leading to parent paranoia.

  7. 0
    Meggie says:

    This author seems to think he has an outstanding knowledge of the bad effects games can have, yet it doesn’t even occur to him that "girls" might play video games as well.
     

  8. 0
    DeepThorn says:

    Yeah, vocab has a value, but we didn’t go over that hardly at all in high school.  If you want to mark people off for bad grammar then explain why on their paper, fine, or if the majority of the class makes the same grammar mistake okay, but don’t be teaching grammar for 12 years and at least 8 of the years reteaching the same crap.

    I rather know more about Latin and how to figure out meanings for words based off of the smaller sections, or even the ‘more educated’ words.  Reading books was fine too, I never read a damn one of them, but I understand the value to learning about different authors.  I just love how right as I graduated high school some group of douche bags decided to say we are going to make one, two, and three incorrect grammar, and now it is one, two and three.  Who does that shit?  There is no worthwhile reason to make a change like that.

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    How to set Xbox 360 Parental Controls

  9. 0
    Pinworm says:

    Ridiculous on nearly every level. The only practical thing was said was the link between Games and Obesity. I don’t think we can argue with that one (nor blame the games but rather the people who don’t use moderation). But everything else, ridiculous and wrong.

  10. 0
    Arell says:

    We’ve seen studies that we all generally agreed with that said that video games can increase aggression levels in kids.  However, those same studies also said that increased aggression doesn’t necessarily mean more violent.  Playing soccer increases aggression levels as well, but I don’t see anyone pulling thier kids out of sports.

    What I’m trying to say is, using the "aggression" card against video gaming is misleading, and they should stop invoking it.

  11. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    The problem about whining about the failings of society you show you are unable to act and aid society, all they do is sit at the top and whine and complain on common place issues they know nothing about.
    =================================
    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    ———————————
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/

  12. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Because new age PC bullshit has taken over education that with the stagnant one track for all just makes the the US education system utterly fail.

    We need a system based on results not feelings and antiquated education patterns, create a system based on results and then polish up the last 3-5 years focusing on what the individual is good at so they can start higher learning(IMO vocab is a higher learning as its as much as a profession as the high end crap).
    =================================
    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    ———————————
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/

  13. 0
    thesandwich234 says:

    that’s actually a really good point, that makes me question, "Why wasn’t this kind of article made for Harry Potter?"

    I have seen more controversy on Harry Potter, in the mainstream news: Fox, CNN, etc., then I have for video games: excluding school shootings. And I truly wonder why that is, certainly the church was against it, and what the church is against is usually made publicly known.

    Guess we’ll never know, until the older generation dies out and the new one comes to power.

  14. 0
    Father Time says:

    It’s like a laundry list of complaints, and hey if it doesn’t mention interactivity you can replace video games with TV and you’d have an argument from the early 90s (or maybe later).

    My parents have hidden the controllers to prevent me from playing them, and even if I found out where they were I’d still have to wait for both of them to be gone before playing, or they could just stow them in the trunk of the car. I’m sure that with the newer consoles that wouldn’t be neccesary to limit play time.

    It reminds me of something Jon Stewart said when he was making fun of a politician, whose sons were avid gamers, expressing concern for violence in games.

    "And as I stand there, watching them play these violent games, .. helpless to do anything about it, I can’t help but wonder … where the system has failed."

    —————————————————-

    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  15. 0
    BearDogg-X says:

    Yet another hypocrite running about something he has no understanding of.

    I played video games most of the time, and I was a A-B student, even got straight A’s in Calculus.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.


    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  16. 0
    fozzy360 says:

    "A definite link has been established between violent video games and antisocial behavior."

     

    Really?  Goodness, this whole article just lumps assumptions and unsubstantiated statements into one nice little wrapped package of BS.  Seriously, this guy just pulled everything out of his….uh, rear.

    ———————————————————–

    "We received 20 calls last night. As we all know, one call equals a billion people. So 20 billion people called us last night. We must act to preserve decency on television." -The FCC

  17. 0
    nekusagi says:

    I think that earlier comment about "better colleges" was supposed to be sarcasm.

    Though you are correct about social interaction. Some of my fondest memories from high school are of gathering in the darkened library, playing Super Smash Bros, and munching on leftover chicken fryz his mother (who was a lunch lady), brought up from the cafeteria.

  18. 0
    TBoneTony says:

    Let me reverse a few words that this man says

    Videogame critics are spending more than thirteen hours a week blaming video games.

    As a result, they’re spending less time outdoors playing and exercising.

    Perhaps this is partially why they are four times more likely to be blaming everything for the problems in society than they were thirty years ago.

    Research consistently confirms that the more time Videogame Critics spend blaming video games, the more likely they are to do poorly in society—regardless of age.

    At a time when Videogame Critics are already underperforming in socity, blaming video games only make the situation worse.

    Many recent studies suggest that blaming video games saps the logical thinking of men and disconnects them from the real world…

    Blaming Violent video games are especially harmful. A definite link has been established between blaming violent video games and antisocial behavior.

    Games like Grand Theft Auto and Halo can make Videogame Critics more aggressive even if they don’t play the game themselves.

    So if you’re thinking of blaming video games for all the wolrd’s problems of today this holiday season, you might want to reconsider.

    —-

    A little Edditing done by TBoneTony

     

  19. 0
    KayleL says:

    Funny, the people at my school how has the lowest games are the out going people that don’t play video games. They rather hang out in dark corners. We should ban dark corners for the sake of the children.

  20. 0
    DeepThorn says:

    i spent like 20 hours a week, and swam for at least 6 hours a day.  So I was fit, and can still bench over 300lbs. (haha, more than twice my body weight)  Anyways, play video games isn’t that bad.  I just didnt do homework until 5 minutes while class was starting.  I barely got passing grades, but high school is such bullshit anyways, that I didn’t care.  I was going to be able to make it to the college I was planning on going to no matter what, so it didn’t matter even more.  With only 6 classes total that tought my anything in high school, one of which was a college level class that I got an A in and didnt transfer over because IU is full of shit, I could have went to high school for 1 year instead and then went straight to college.

    A lot of people are that way, and I think high school made discourage people from going to college even, besides the fact that it makes your brain work less before you need it most.  That and the education style change would be easier 3 years younger too.  So it leads me to ask, why the HELL do we have 12 years of lower level education when onyl 8 years are needed.  Yes, social development happens in that time, but 4 years of a self paced program, and more universities offering college credit for courses would make it so that students could get past all the BS general studies courses for college before even going, and figure out what direction they want to go into more. 

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    How to set Xbox 360 Parental Controls

  21. 0
    cppcrusader says:

    I can’t help but think about how the term expert actually used to mean something, to imply that one had a true understanding of their chosen field.  I wonder if it ever really held any meaning at all.

  22. 0
    CyberSkull says:

    And is he even citing his research? I would have gotten an F in any English class I have ever taken by not citing a single source to back up any of my claims.

     

  23. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    Exactly. To quote Douglas Adams:

    "In the UK, ‘knowing stuff’ is considered to be some kind of freaky anti-social behaviour."

    That’s generated not by Video Games, Adams wrote that long before the whole Games debacle, it’s in the nature of our society, people don’t like, and don’t even trust, people who are cleverer than them, so at school if a male student is intelligent, he’s tormented and pestered until he dumbs himself down to the level of his aggressors, purely so that they don’t feel inferior any more, and therefore don’t bully him any more.

    THAT, I would say, is far more of a problem than Video Games.

  24. 0
    Samster says:

    Hmm. I’m a 23 year old female, a complete and utter gaming addict since I was about 5, and I was always an overachiever at school – soared through university with a 1st-class degree, double-major. Scapegoating for the lose.

    The attitudes of boys towards school was more at fault than anything else when I was still there (at least in public English schools). Socially it’s just not seen as positive for a guy to be into schoolwork; peers would be more likely to reward each other for epic failures and complete disrespect for teachers. Of course, not all the lads at school were like this, but it was a general schoolboy culture thing. I imagine it’s still much the same now, although from my younger sister’s accounts, the girls are more in on it than ever.

    Games have nothing to do with it. I blame lacklustre teaching, poor rewards schemes, lack of extracurricular engagement, lack of disclipline, poor parenting, useless mandatory subjects . . . many obvious issues which schmucks like this guy yet again try to distract from by waving around an inanimate victim for parents and figureheads to pummel. Sometimes it’s books, sometimes it’s games, sometimes it’s movies – whatever the scapegoat, the genuine problems continue to go on unresolved and even entirely ignored.

  25. 0
    Sigma 7 says:

    Where did you get that idea?

    As you know, the education of the individual is limited to the training given to him.  There is also an upper limit to the amount of effective study time, which is identified by either the lack of additional benefit, the feeling of tedium during a study session, or burnout.

    Speaking of which, pre-college education wasn’t that useful for me.  It didn’t cover the field that I was interested in to the necessary degree (i.e. materials were available, but you couldn’t excel with them), and my strong subjects were strong enough to not require any study.

    Oh, and a normal person is expected to have some social time outside of studying for school, whether it’s part of a soccer team or hanging out with friends. I felt that video games provided me with much better social interaction than the many high-school students I had exposure to. 

  26. 0
    SetoChaos says:

    That’s funny considering I play more than 13 hours per week and am the correct weight, do well in college and such. In fact in my second year of college I got around two weeks extra off than the other students for a course because I had finished the work too quickly.

  27. 0
    Faceless Clock says:

    This is sort of a false dilemma, isn’t it?

    "Boys" arn’t supposed to be playing violent video games. Everyone knows that and the developers have done nothing to suggest that boys should be playing them.

    The only reason "Boys" play them is because many parents have the outdated notion that games are for children.

    In reality, giving a kid a copy of GTA IV is like giving them a copy of Pulp Fiction. It is stupid and no one is arguing it isn’t, least of all the people actually making the games.

    The Honest Game – http://www.thehonestgame.org

  28. 0
    Mad_Scientist says:

    Anyone remember that article about the Harry Potter books a while back? About how they had cut down on childhood injuries and resulted in less kids going to the hospital for things like sprained ankles and stuff?

    You see, it seemed the Harry Potter books had resulted in an increase of reading. Because kids were spending more time inside reading, they were spending less time outside doing active things. As a result, they weren’t suffering as many injuries.

    Funny, isn’t it. I remember reading that article, and thinking to myself, "Wait, now spending time inside and being inactive is a good thing?" The article could have just as easily been "Harry Potter makes kids fatter" by highlighting the exact same thing: kids are spending more time inside reading, instead of doing active things outside.

    So with that in mind, perhaps I should start saying that video games make kids safer and reduce their chances of breaking their neck tripping while trying to catch a baseball, or cracking their head open trying to do a skateboarding trick, etc, etc.

  29. 0
    tony selby says:

    it’s based entirerly on the falacy that if the child wasn’t playing these games they would be studying

    this doesn’t work because if the child wasn’t playing video games, he would be, outside playing, watching TV, talking on the phone, surfing the internet, or some other activity.  if a child is not studying because he’s playing video games, taking the games away wont get him to study, instead he’ll do something else that isn’t studying

  30. 0
    mustasio says:

    "Research consistently confirms that the more time boys spend playing video games, the more likely they are to do poorly in school—regardless of age. At a time when boys are already underperforming in school, video games only make the situation worse."

     

    Because spending too much time is bad, spending any time at all is also bad.

    fail logic is fail

  31. 0
    SS says:

    I have to pay to use the community center for bball in the winter here, and they close the free outside courts.  bullcrap.   IT’s only 3 bucks and a good deal for swimming, bball, and the weight room but a lazy kid probably wouldn’t pay for that unless its free.

     

    yeah, but i see your point,  there are less and less places to just hang out and play sports.  and the sports that are played are school sports that take up a lot of commitement.  so kids who dont have the commitment would just stay home and play videogames or whatever activity they like to do. 

  32. 0
    gamadaya says:

    Yeah but if they didn’t play games they might have gotten full rides to even better colleges.

    ———————————

    Internet troll > internet paladin

  33. 0
    nekusagi says:

    Sourceplz.

     

    Especially on the "research proves gamers do worse in school". Funny, in high school, I had two friends who were avid gamers, to say the very least (one was WoW, another was a Nintendo fanboy who never went anywhere without his DS and hosted SSBM parties after school in the library), and they both ended up getting full rides to good colleges…

  34. 0
    Neeneko says:

    The ‘children are spending less time outside’ argument always displeases me greatly.

    Over the last 50 years (and esp the last 20) we have been decreasing the number of places children CAN go.  Urban areas are not safe anymore, recreation centers are fewer in number, and suburban areas were designed to isolate people from eachother so they generally have poor community playspaces, and playing in a park will generally get you harrassed by the police for loitering. 

    Parents are paranoid about pedophiles everywhere so they have pulled thier kids out of organized activities and that mostly leaves children with PAID places to go (malls, movies, fun parks, etc) which parents are reluctant to do.  And pretty much any ‘approved’ outside activity leaves them heavily monitored by adults which makes them reluctant anyway.

    So community leaders have started blaming games for problem THEY created given how they have been putting the community together lately.  If you want kids to go out and play, give them places where they can play with relative autonomy that doesn’t cost them money.

  35. 0
    State says:

    Actually Christmas is the best time to get kids a game. He could’ve said don’t buy kids games at all, but seemed to focus on the festive period. As with everything it is okay if you do it in moderation. Too many hours gaming would be damaging, but a few isn’t. Would he happily say not to let kids play on the educational games like Brain Training?

    Blaming games for poor education results is very easy and a scape goat instead of looking at the actual education system and of the family backgrounds of the failing pupils.

  36. 0
    joeyvenom753 says:

    is it just me or do i feel that ”Slamming Videogames” has become a popular trend these days.

    hey how about making a schedule for when to study,family time,going out & game that’s what my parents do.

     

  37. 0
    DavCube says:

    Let’s see… i’m 21 now… if they call a 5’10" person who’s 150 pounds fat, somebody’s standards need a good looking at… I’m pretty much known for being quiet rather than angry… and i got a Dean’s Scholarship for the four years i’ve been in college. And i’ve been playing video games since i was three and getting at least a couple among other stuff every christmas since.

    One of these are not like the other….

  38. 0
    Awol says:

    Here is another issue with children going outside. Parents overprotect this days. I remember when I was a kid if I could bike there and back I was allowed to no matter the distance. I had no cell phone or anything if I got in trouble. Now kids these days are lucky to be able to cross the street with their bikes and they even have cell phones to use if they got into trouble.

  39. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    Maybe it’s the fact theres a lot more food about nowadays, and most of it is high-fat and processed beyond recognition?

    Why reach for Video Games to blame when there’s already a wealth of scientific evidence proving that processed food has phsychological, as well as physical detriments to it?

    I won’t deny that a sedentary life plays a role, and quite a big one, but the same thing could easily be said about sitting round watching the TV all day, which is standard practice for Christmas day, so why is little Billy upstairs playing his Nintendo a problem, whereas Mum and Dad slumped in front of the Telly watching Mary Poppins for the 16th time perfectly alright?

     

    The problem isn’t the technology being used, it’s the lifestyle that promotes it, and that goes far deeper than finger-pointing Video Games, it burrows down to nature of life in countries such as the US and UK.

    Still he is entitled to his opinion, in a way he is right in his advice, but his scope is far too narrow and biased to be taken particuarly seriously.

  40. 0
    SounDemon says:

    This man does more than slam games as "gifts for boys". The article all but says outright that Video Games are "murder simulators" and that they "make kids not do productive stuff". This is hardly attributable to video games as much as the way the US society works, as well as fast food and all technology in general. Post comments on the article at EdNews, as I have done.

  41. 0
    tony selby says:

    "Boys are spending more than thirteen hours a week playing video games. As a result, they’re spending less time outdoors playing and exercising. Perhaps this is partially why they are four times more likely to be obese than they were thirty years ago."

    the first part of this is a problem with the paranting ability of said boys, if their children are spending too much time inside playing games, maybe they should turn off the TV and send their kids out to play.  as for the second part, i find it highly more likely that they are 4 times more likely to be obese due to americans growing diet of fatty foods and increasingly sedatory lifestyle

    "Research consistently confirms that the more time boys spend playing video games, the more likely they are to do poorly in school—regardless of age. At a time when boys are already underperforming in school, video games only make the situation worse."

    the same can be said about anything, if your child spends 13 hours a day playing baseball they miss just as much study time as if they played video games for 13 hours a day.  removing video games from the equation doesn’t change this increased study time, which again better parenting could account for, would make the situation better

    Many recent studies suggest that playing video games saps the motivation of boys and disconnects them from the real world… Violent video games are especially harmful. A definite link has been established between violent video games and antisocial behavior. Games like Grand Theft Auto and Halo can make your son more aggressive.

    there is also a definite link between the increase in ice cream sales and shark attacks, that does not mean selling ice cream causes people to get attacked by sharks.  what you link means is that children who have antisocial behavior are drawn to video games, not that the games created said behavior.  increased agressiveness is not necesarily a bad thing, and this also undermines the first point made in the paragraph.  agression is a motivator, you can not simultaniously sap motavation and increase agression.

  42. 0
    Alteffor says:

    He is just rehashing old arguments that have been debated for a long time (and acting as if one side has won the debate even though studies aren’t that clear yet) and acting like an expert even though he isn’t. Then he throws in GTA and Halo to stir up some controversy. Voila, crappy news article that hates on the punching bag of the moment.

Leave a Reply