Playing digital games has gained popularity among teenagers who use this kind of entertainment for leisure and learning purposes. Digital game-based learning is the development and the utilization of computer games for educational use (Hung et al. 153). Young individuals always struggle to gain knowledge of their environment through the exploration of what appears on their way, and the use of technology is increasing their involvement in the game playing (Wood et al. 210). Some people have argued that game-based learning and the use of digital technology have profound adverse effects on the physical and social development of children, and thus, they should be abolished (Sak et al. 20). However, proponents of this concept look forward to the benefits it offers to children rather than the disadvantages. For instance, 80% of the teachers and a majority of the parents support the use of computers in enhancing child education due to the associated benefits in learning (Wood et al. 210). This research discusses both the pros and the cons of game-based education for teens and strategies schools and the community can use to adopt this kind of learning in education to achieve better results.
Negative Impact of Game Based Learning in Teenagers
Some parents are biased when it comes to the use of these games in teenage learning because they regard them as a waste of time that should be replaced with healthier offline activities that include sports and playing musical instruments. The opponents of this kind of learning mention its adverse consequences in this age group. Exposure to computer games interferes with the healthy social development of children because they spend much time on games instead of engaging in useful social interaction with their parents and other people (Strasburger et al. 757). The computer games are attractive and compel children to spend much time on them forgetting the important role of their peers, parents, and teachers in their social development. Since parents have a significant influence on the social life of their children, game-based learning denies the children an opportunity to access educative interactions (Strasburger 756). As a result, they become computer addicts.
On the same line, the computer games are associated with health and behavioral problems, and their incorporation in education can increase the prevalence of these challenges. For instance, young teens may play violent games when they are interacting with digital technology like computers, which fuels aggressive behavior (Hendriyani et al. 304). At the time children reach 18 years of age, they will have seen or played at least 200,000 violent acts from different forms of digital technology (Strasburger et al. 757). Exposure to these games is a threat to the behavior of children because they are likely to ape what they access on computers. Moreover, game-based learning may promote sedentary lifestyles, especially if those games involve sitting for long hours that may predispose the teens to lifestyle health problems like obesity.
Importance of Game based Teaching and Learning
Game-based learning of teens has enormous benefits to children and their educators because of their positive impact on student learning. First, game-based learning improves the motivation of children to learn various aspects taught in specific subjects, which results in better performance. Liu investigated the effect of the Alien Rescue, which is a 3D learning application that utilizes the approach based on gaming experience to improve students’ performance (Liu 117). The study found that the Alien Rescue combines the processes of scientific inquiry in the real world with playful experiences through the 3D sensory-rich and immersive approach, which helps enhance both support and motivation for learning. Such a thing shows that game-based learning is the key to academic success since motivation is the recipe for improved learning and achievement (Liu 118). Teens who are motivated spend more time on and effort into learning with high levels of persistence to complete tasks and gain pleasure from achievements than those who are not.
Furthermore, teens can benefit from game-based learning because it enhances cognitive and metacognitive processes. Such approach improves the ability of students to think critically and solve problems effectively. Technology motivates teens to reflect on and recognize discrepancies in thinking through the provision of opportunities to review individual theories and compare with those of their peers (Wanget al. 381). Such a thing helps them become aware of their critical thinking, which helps improve their problem-solving abilities. Baker reiterates that online games and other forms of digital technology foster problem-solving and critical thinking skills of children and youths making them discover the interaction of things and cause-effect relationships (Baker 2). For example, the northern Taiwanese students demonstrate positive attitudes towards the use of the card game in the learning of science (Liu and Chen 1044). This card game, which is a computer game with the purpose of students’ learning, has been found to improve scientific knowledge of energy and transport compared to traditional teaching and learning methods.
Strategies and Measures to Address Game Based Learning
Parents should receive knowledge on the importance of game-based learning for teens so as to eliminate their negative perceptions concerning the use of digital resources in education, which will give an opportunity for its implementation in schools. Bourgonjon and the colleagues conducted a research study in which they found that the negative perceptions of parents towards game-based learning are an enormous barrier that hinders the adoption of games in classroom education (Bourgonjon et al. 1434). The implementation of measures to improve parental perception concerning these games is essential for the adaption of this approach at schools. Negative perceptions of parents can also prevent the implementation of these games in education. Various educational stakeholders should target the community to create awareness on why these games should be adopted in learning to solicit parental support. The education involves the development of frameworks that help parents select age appropriate games and plan for their children concerning the games to avoid game addiction (Bourgonjon et al. 1440). Such a thing can be of great significance because parental and community support is critical in the execution of school programs.
Moreover, teachers, children, and parents have a role to play to enhance the effective use of these games in learning and to avoid game addiction. For most teens, the digital games are highly addictive to the extent that they interfere with the normal activities in life (Jong et al. 313). Parents and teachers should, therefore, control the level of playing these games by fixing the duration of play and the type of games to play among many other things. Jong and the colleagues explain that despite the active role of students in game-based learning, teachers have critical functions of overseeing their students learn through the determination of when, what, and why they should play the games and for how long (Jong et al. 313). Children should also learn to control themselves for the sake of acquiring education once the games are used.
Although game based learning has some adverse effects, it is important in teen learning because effective implementation through various measures and strategies is associated with better learning outcomes. Parents who oppose it assert that it is a waste of time because in addition to stimulating physical health complications, it interferes with the social and behavioral development of children who spend a significant amount of time on the games rather than enjoying the normal interaction with peers and family members. However, these games positively impact on learning since they increase students’ motivation to learn in addition to enhancing cognitive and metacognitive processes including critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Creating awareness among parents and communities can help promote adoption of game learning in education feasible. Both teachers and parents should also take responsibility for controlling their children in the use of games to avoid addiction.