Do video games affect social behaviour?

I normally don’t tend to write academic pieces on my blog, but thought it was high time I actually attempted to put my degree to some use even in a recreational sense.

Video games have long been blamed as a source of society burdens through the glorification of violence, theft and many other crimes. Players are not only given the power to act in such a way but are often encouraged to act in this way to meet particular objectives within a fictional world. The question begging to be answered, do video games affect social behaviour?

One of the largest assumptions about video games is that they are all horrendously violent, a stereotype that is naturally false and this is what people must consider when attempting to understand the consequences of video games. There are thousands upon thousands of video games, ranging from horrendously violent to incredibly child friendly – with the impact of these games being proportionate to the traits these games seem to have (Gentile, et al., 2013). This is naturally a theory that has been tested several times, with studies finding that individuals who play prosocial games are more inclined to help others and increase positive affect (Saleem, et al., 2012).

It should be understood that there are studies that appear to refute this evidence, with some suggesting that violent video games actually decrease aggression in the individuals that play them (Rosenberg, et al., 2013).

Ultimately, there have been a wealth of studies with regards to video games and the impact they may have on those who wish to enjoy them – the majority of which have either been refuted or simply have evidence that supports a range of hypotheses. To those who believe that video games are a negative thing, that’s a fair opinion to have to long as it has at least some justification. To those who feel video games are harmless or positive, that’s great too.

As an individual who has enjoyed video games for the majority of his life, I have never felt an urge to be violent as a result of a violent action in a fictional reality much the same way in which I have never been inspired to help others due to a prosocial game. I believe I am much more than my exposure to video games, and I am capable of volunteering and also getting incredibly wound up because that is simply human nature.

References

Gentile, D. A., Groves, C. & Gentile, J. R., 2013. The general learning mode: Unveiling the learning potential from video games. In: F. C. Blumberg, ed. Learning by playing: Frontiers of video games in education. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 121-142.

Rosenberg, R. S., Baughman, S. L. & Bailenson, J. N., 2013. Virtual superheroes: using superpowers in virtual reality to encourage prosocial behavior. PloS one, 8(1), p. e55003.

Saleem, M., Anderson, C. A. & Gentile, D. A., 2012. Effects of prosocial, neutral, and violent video games on college students’ affect. Aggressive Behavior, 38(4), pp. 263-271.

 

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Foreign

Foreign

Source: Sara T, MD

In the past couple of years, Britain has seen what are (in my opinion) dark times regarding those who we would call ‘foreign’.

Personally, I can’t imagine how we can expect to have a more understanding world if we’re determined to keep building these monstrous walls and erecting barriers to shut the outside world off from us. Globalisation is an incredible thing and we’d undoubtedly not have any of the technology or culture we currently have without opening our minds and arms to it.

It would be easy to turn this into a mega-rant regarding the state of the world, but we’re all probably aware of this and have been for some time.

Quite simply, I will always have a large amount of time dedicated to understanding others that we would call ‘foreigner’ and in my experience they have much more to contribute to society in terms of both resources and culture than the majority of citizens who are from this country.

I can’t fathom living in a country that would be so stubborn as to blame a foreigner for their own shortcomings, purely because it feels as though it’s the easiest thing to do.

You can have a bad day

Bad Day

Source: Tiny Buddah

So this post I feel will somewhat link with my earlier post regarding how a bad morning doesn’t necessarily mean you’re destined to have a bad day – a post which you can find here.

In an ideal world, nobody would ever have a bad day and the world would be fantastic but sadly these days do happen! Sometimes you wake up and no matter what happens, you’re just upset or annoyed and things don’t go your way. We’ve all had this and we’ll have it again, it’s crap but here we are.

I just wanted to remind you of something – you can have a bad day.

No matter who you are, your occupation, personality, normal mood, lifestyle, beliefs, you are more than entitled to have a bad day without having to feel bad about it! There are definitely things we can try to improve throughout the day in order to try and feel a little better but sometimes a bad day is just inevitable for reasons beyond our control.

I think analysing how things could be a little different next time is great, but as with everything in life you need to moderate how far you go with this. I’ve personally thought about situations so much that I’ve ended up just getting even more irate and feeling so damn low.

Ever had that day where you don’t want to see anybody? I certainly have. Usually, I’ve been bored for a large amount of that day because I do really enjoy engaging with people. I soon remember that even though I was bored because of it, I did kind of need to be bored for a little while.

Life is far too stressful to only give yourself a break once in a while.

Don’t let a bad morning create a bad day

Picture courtesy: Pinterest

Source: IndiaToday

I’m quite sure this is something we’re all guilty of or have been guilty of in the past: writing off the day because of a crappy start to it.

I, for instance, managed to get about 2 hours sleep last night and woke up with a swollen eye. Why is my eye swollen you may ask? You may ask indeed, though this answer is hiding amongst other similar calibre questions in the universe such as ‘Is there a God?

Admittedly it is quite easy to use a crappy morning to excuse an unproductive day – we can either consciously agree that we deserve to have this lazy day (which will most likely end up in a worse mood from ultimate boredom) or we just fall into a pit of self-loathing for the day. Sometimes, these things are unavoidable and you’re going to have a bad day! More often than not however, I think there are a couple of things you can do to wake yourself up and get on with it.

  • Get out of bed – this option may seem like the hardest thing in the world but ultimately, the longer you stay in bed the longer you’re going to feel like absolute rubbish.
  • Have some breakfast and a drink – my breakfast just so happened to be the same meal as I had for my 3am snack, a bowl of Shreddies. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, no question, it helps replenish some of the energy lost from the digestion of food all night and kick starts your metabolism.
  • Talk to a loved one – in this technological era we can talk to a loved one without much effort at all. If you’re lucky enough to turn over in bed and see them, fantastic! Though some people are not so lucky and may wish to pick up the phone and ring a family member or friend. This works on two fronts; you’re enjoying a conversation with someone you care about and you’re also having to think about what to say in order to engage with the conversation – aiding in your waking up and getting on with the day!

These are just a couple of things that help me. Admittedly today isn’t aided by the fact that I have my weigh-in for Slimming World but I’m hoping I’ve worked hard enough this week to lose a couple of pounds! If I don’t? There’s always next week.

International Women’s Day and the workplace

IWD Press for Progress Theme

Source: International Women’s Day

Today is an absolutely fantastic day – a celebration of the constant work women are putting in with the goal of simply being considered equal to men. This shouldn’t be something that women are fighting for, but let us not allow this to spiral.

International Women’s Day has fallen in the middle of gender pay gap reporting for organisations and it seems as though many organisations have felt it appropriate to not release their report until today, most likely in order to feel as though they are more socially responsible and do not condone inequality.

That kind of pisses me off (shocker, right?)

If you have nothing to hide and do not engage in gender inequality, any organisation should be happy with that, though to me equality should be a basic right rather than a boon and badge of honour.

The private sector has seen wide criticism recently for the apparent gender pay gap, with supermarkets appearing to be the focal point of this. Click here for more information.

This shift is interesting due to the movement towards private sector from the constant bombardment the public sector is accustomed to. I can’t help but feel as though this is simply a small taste of what is to come from gender pay gap reporting. Though it has not been made clear what repercussions will transpire from failure to report, there are hope’s that they will be severe and offer little leniency.

We’ve been experiencing these movements for decades, when will we understand that women have every right to be equal to men?

The Human Resource

As some of you keen observers may know, I am undertaking a MSc in Human Resource Management – the often-misunderstood side of organisations due to the vast range of responsibilities enshrined within it.

What upsets me as of late is the way in which HR is understood by employees and how negative the portrayal can be through both assumptions and misunderstandings.

The term “human resource” in my mind is fundamentally flawed. Human beings should never be considered just a resource. We are complex individuals with our own wants and needs and most importantly, we’re not a commodity. This flawed term is not helping the case of HR.

Understandably, it’s also quite difficult to believe that individuals working within HR have our best interests at heart as it could be believed that we’re just another cog in the organisational machine. How could anybody under the employment of an organisation ultimately designed to make money care about employee interests?

I would say to those people, it’s important to remember that we HR professionals chose this path for a reason. Most people within HR in my experience have a great passion for working with others, bridging the gap between organisation and employee, and essentially wanting to help people grow.

It is true that HR are involved within disciplinaries and grievance procedures, payroll and those pesky induction packs that are 50 pages long. It is also true that HR are the ones pushing learning & development, talent management, the building of opportunities and managing your workplace issues.

There are individuals within all professionals that may not be ethical, but don’t discount the majority because of a minority.

Peer mentoring

Peer mentors

Source: Action for Children

Those of you who actively follow my musings, you’ll know that I am a mentor in a peer mentoring scheme within my university. Those of you who don’t, well there’s another fact about me right there.

For those of you who don’t know what peer mentoring is, it’s quite simple. The mentor has experience in a field that the mentee is about to experience and it is the responsibility of the peer mentor to ensure that the gaining of that experience is as fulfilling and successful as possible.

The reason peer mentoring is so successful is because it allows people to build friendships and networks, whilst taking away the potential intimidation of a professional/person in authority as you’re learning from a peer. Generally we all undertake peer mentoring at some point whether this is in an official or unofficial capacity. Our workplace may set it up, or we may simply ask a friend for help on that diabolical question or upcoming interview.

The reason for this rambling is because I believe that we should all strive to mentor those around us a little. Mentoring is not difficult by any means – all you need to have done is gained knowledge in an area and be willing to spend a few minutes imparting that knowledge onto an individual. I can assure you that it is rewarding for both mentor and mentee and will undoubtedly assist you in the future.

If anybody likes the sound of that or knows somebody who could use a little mentoring and you need a little introduction into the area, let me know!