There are probably few adults these days who don't remember the excitement of playing early video games such as Pac Man, Space Invaders and Frogger. The ability to interact with a machine in a game situation was thrilling-and still is. Today, the little yellow dot-eater and the highly pixilated spaceships have evolved into seamlessly animated characters, graphic images of demons, and lifelike humans complete with lifelike weapons and lifelike blood.
There are some benefits to video games. Studies have found that playing video games can improve children's visual attention skills, their spatial skills, their iconic skills and their computer literacy skills. In addition, the use of educational games, which are almost exclusively sold for the PC, have been shown to help improve academic performance.
However, many more studies have shown relationships between playing video games and unhealthy outcomes, such as isolation and loneliness, obesity, belief in gender stereotypes and increased aggressive behavior.
In fact, video games' unique interactive capabilities may make them even more likely to influence children's attitudes, beliefs and behaviors than more traditional forms of media.
Gender (study of thousands of computer game characters)
Although sexy female characters are created to appeal to males, they can send harmful messages to both male and female players. Just as young girls may interpret highly sexualized characters as symbols of the "ideal woman," so too may young boys. These impressions may influence girls' feelings about themselves and their place in the world, and they may also influence boys' expectations and treatment of females. In both cases, these images can have unhealthy effects on children's self-esteem, behavior and relationships with others.
One out of every ten female characters (11%) had a very voluptuous body (i.e., very large breasts and a very small waist). Another 7% of female characters had either very thin...