Generation 21: Grand County teens sound off about gaming, Black Friday, stereotypes
December 13, 2011
Gaming and the Brain
By Marina Koepke
What do you do to wind down at the end of the day? What do you do for simple pleasure? In today’s world “play video games” is a common item on the list of answers. The question then arises; what does this do to the brain? Sitting, staring at a screen, being completely engrossed in a virtual activity must have some effect on the brain’s daily functions, just like everything else we do in life. The most common idea on this situation is that it “turns your brain to mush”. How true is that?
When gaming, gamers lack the use of a portion of the frontal region of the brain, which is linked with emotions. Through studies, researchers have found that gamers are more susceptible to aggressive behavior and become angry more often than non-gamers. From kicking the game, yelling at the game when losing, or mumbling to oneself support this idea. Heavy gaming obviously can compensate emotional stability, but what else does it do for the brain?
The tasks gamers are faced with enhance brain speed when reacting to situations, attention span, and multi-tasking skills. The games allow this frontal part of the brain to actively be used and when faced with real-life situations the brain can easily react. Since gamers mainly use their frontal cortex, which doesn’t cross paths with the motor cortex, can gamers easily translate these skills they acquire in gaming to real life?
Studies show that gaming improves cognitive thinking and works the brain’s ability to perform mentally challenging tasks. The answer to the question “do the skills learned in the virtual world translate to the real on?” is yes, they do, on a mental level. Mentally the brain is better fit for performing in real life situations, but the body-mind connection is not as strong. In order to fully use the skills, all the puzzle pieces have to fit together, so by only using gaming to improve these skills, the results will not be to the magnitude that one would hope for.
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Video gaming is not as bad as many tend to believe. There are some negatives to religious playing, but there are also positives, just like with everything in life. Gaming has the ability to enrich certain aspects of your life, while providing you with a good time and give your brain something creative to do. With everything though, moderation is the key.
Black Mark on Black Friday
By Randi Stranberg
As the epitome of shopping hysteria, Black Friday is the greatest thing since sliced bread; not for everyone though. It’s been a week since the extravaganza and we’re still hearing about crazy stories from that adventurous 24 hours. Did you hear that people were pepper sprayed on Black Friday? This makes me wonder just what we have become today as a society. Do we really care so much about getting that last designer purse, even if it is for a holiday gift, that we are willing to physically hurt someone to get it for that ultimate low price? I already know that women are conniving and deceitful, but are we really that eager to put someone else’s life in danger for a low price? I am disgusted at how people behave on this famous day of spending. We, as Americans, have become so consumed with tangible items, including money, gifts, nice homes, nice things, etc., that it is disgusting to think about. We are greedy! No one even remembers what the Christmas/holiday spirit is actually about. Christmas was never supposed to be about receiving gifts, it was about giving them. When I say giving gifts, I don’t mean tangible ones. I mean things like happiness, forgiveness and things that you can’t touch that are from the heart. Those are things that you can’t put a price on. I personally don’t even want to buy anything for anyone this year, not only because I am broke along with the rest of the world, but because I just want to spend this Christmas with my family on a stress-free day. I want Christmas to be about love and joy and being in happy times with the people that I love most. Also, to end my article for the week, I would like to share a story of inspiration about the holiday season.
The other day I was at work and a lady came in and ordered some food. When I rang her up, she asked me if I would put fifteen extra dollars on her ticket, and then take five dollars off of the next three people’s tickets. She said that she and her friend were doing random acts of kindness for Christmas this year. I was so amazed at her generosity that I wanted to pay it forward and follow in her footsteps. This year, and hopefully in the years to come as well, I will be doing Random Acts of Kindness for Christmas. That is what the holidays are really about. Giving, but not expecting anything in return. Heck, that’s what life is about. So I encourage all of you to do the same; give a real gift this Christmas.
A True Princess
By Camille Clancy
An experience unlike any other, my time spent as a teacher’s assistant in the Special Education Department at Middle Park High School with Alyssa Barden was anything but typical, and everything but expected. Alyssa, one of the special needs students, was the most outgoing, unreserved, big-hearted characters I had ever laid eyes on. Upon meeting, Alyssa and I began an inseparable bond, which grew with time. For about one hour each day, Alyssa and I would work together, whether it be exercising her brain with worksheets, improving her memory with fun interactive games, making crafts to keep in touch with her creative side, or painting each other’s nail to bring the “inner girl” out in both of us. Throughout the six or so months I got to know Alyssa, she not only became the highlight of my day, but also my hero, somebody I aspired to be. For her will to succeed, her passion to thrive, and her attitude to conquer were all attributes which I lacked, or needed to be “polished up,” according to her. By the time our six months was just about over and semester was ending, Alyssa had proved to me what a jewel she really was, how beautiful both she and I were, and what life seemed to offer. She changed me from the inside out and promised me that I too, was a princess.
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