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Video games are probably the most influential things that affect not just the emotional but the entire well-being of people that are hook into it especially among the younger generations such as the youth. Video games posit a huge impact on the lives of the youth. It somewhat, in its own way, frame the perception and realization of reality. The extent of such impact shapes not only the decision-making process of a certain individual but affects greatly the interpretation of what is right and wrong. Its influence has transcends how the society reflects an interactive relationship between its people and the environment. In terms of the degree of social presence, video games are known to be one of the channels in which interpersonal relationship can be developed or shattered at the same time. Since it is accessible and proven to be an effective gateway for people to communicate not just to their inner self but to other people as well, it has been utilized by so many people in their communication growth and establishment of interpersonal relationships with people beyond their physical reach (Oskamp, 2005). It cannot be denied that there are people who are not good with face-to-face interaction. By this it means that there are individuals who tend to shy away from communicating on a face-to-face to basis. This may be brought about the lack of self-confidence. People of this nature tend to immerse themselves into video games because it provides an environment that they can control and they can create a character that would definitely show off who they are or who they want to be. Either way, it helps them a lot to discover their potential. It also increases the percentage of being able to fulfill the needs for interaction with the outside world in an interpersonal manner.
Studies have shown that people tend to response to the media as compared to other forms of communication. Internet, television, radio and newspapers yield more responses as compared to flyers and other pamphlets that are being distributed in quest to disseminate information. Say for example the advocate to fight breast cancer. Organizers of the breast cancer awareness program are definitely spreading the information and the schedule of their activities through the use of the Internet, newspapers, television and radio. Because of this, the advocacy has proven to be a success. The response would definitely be overwhelming because the present generation is more into the visual rather than listening. This is why advertisers and the media are successful. They provide the audience with visuals that promotes reality. They are convincing people that there is another dimension in life where they can actually exploit every opportunity there is. One of the many reasons why people are greatly responding to media is the portrayal of character. It cannot be denied that media is filled with performing characters (Lim, 2006). It is filled with people who are portraying someone. In the movies, for example, the performing artists are acting and portraying someone they are not. A simple Hollywood actor can become a billionaire in a movie. A limping kid can become a ninja or a wrestler or a karate kid. All these portrayals tend to excite the emotions of the youth today and because of this they too are excited to become a part of such growing industry. It has to be noted that such portrayal is very well seen in video games. Video games are actually giving its audience the chance to create who they want to be. It is encouraging its audience to be as creative as they want and to let it out all in their own character.
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Enjoyment experiences are the primary reason for such involvement. As can be seen today, kids are more attached to their video games character than ever before. Any character-based video games sky rocketed in the previous years. It has actually conquered a very important spot in the present society which is the aspect of interactivity. The creation of one's own world made video games the most sought after of communication nowadays. It used to be a place for enjoyment. But now, it has turned to be a self-created social matrix for every player. The advancement and development of video games has led to enablement of the creation of one's own characters. The old version of video games would only allow people to play the pre-created character such as the classic Mario. All there is to do is to control the character and aim to finish the whole tasks of completing the levels of the games. However, today is a different story. Video games let the users to design their own avatar. Users can definitely create a character that looks exactly like them or that which exudes the emotions they have. This is actually a fun thing to do until the users have become so engaged with their own character. Hence, they are having a hard time creating a line between their own characters and that which has been created for the video games. In the world of video games, every person playing has created their own self. But then again, drawing a thick line between the reality and the video game world can be hard to achieve with para-social interaction. This is a hard thing to prevent because children and youth tend to become attached to the self they have created for the sake of the video games. In this regard, it is important to determine the extent to which the players engaged in interaction with their characters.
Video games have been the immediate parents to most of the kids today. It is in this regard that these children and youth have attached themselves into the character that they are portraying in their video games. The extent of which can be measured through the degree of control that can be possessed and practiced. It cannot be denied that since video games allow every user to do whatever they want. Because of this, the players are actually engaged into it. This is because of the fact that since the users are more likely teenagers, they are suppressed in the real world. They are under the authority and the controlling power of their parents or guardians. In this regard, breaking away from such routine can be liberating to the teenagers. Hence, one can find them spending more time playing video games rather than going out and spending time with their friends. Moreover, since they can control their avatars and the self that they have created through the video games, they do in the video games things that they cannot do in real life such as killing and fighting. As statistics have shown, most of the games that are created and high selling are those that entails war and tackled death. Such freedom enabled them to be hooked on their character, feel superior and act like one (Horton, 1956). However, there are negative consequences on the process. These teenagers tend to develop negative attitudes and violence. They do not have control over what they are becoming and they are having difficulty in living in the shadow of their avatar. Such para-social interaction can also lead to gaming addiction. If these teenagers are not moderated in their games and reminded that it is just video games, the avatar can be their realities and it might be too late for the adults to prevent any damage from occurring (Lombard, 1997).
Research Question Posited in Order to Gain More Understanding on the Subject Matter
This research paper is geared towards determining the extent of the game players' interpersonal concern for all the character they play in all the video games and the extent to which they perceive themselves as interacting with the character. In the course of this research it will be more specifically geared towards answering the following questions for comprehension:
Procedure/Methodology Used in Completing the Research Paper on Para-social Interaction
This study employs a descriptive and normative approach and methodology. This is because of the fact that descriptive approach enables the researcher to gain up to date and first hand information in the process of collecting data necessary to solve and answer the questions posited. The gathering of knowledge is necessary for this study as it will aid in the determination of the extent of para-social involvement and interaction do the players have with the characters and the avatars that they have created. Gathering of relevant and up to date review of literature and interviews are helpful in the process of answering all the questions in this research paper. However, this research is limited only to those who have created their own avatars and self.
Venturing into a video arcade, one finds a decidedly mixed crowd. To be sure, most players are "typical teenagers," who play the video games for at least a few hours every week. But a not uncommon sight is the corporation executive, the house- wife, the construction worker. According to one survey, about half the game players (in arcades and elsewhere) are over the age of twenty-six. The economics of the video game craze are staggering. Each year more than $5 billion is spent in the video arcades alone. And while the video-parlor operators are busily collecting their quarters, microcomputer manufacturers are expected to make similarly large sums selling both home computers and the software to go with them. Advertisements for home computers in traditional publications describe the virtues of keeping the check book balanced, maintaining Christmas card lists, and teaching the children to program. However by far the major use of home computers is for video games, and indeed the potential home video game market provided a major incentive for the development of many home computers in the first place. Six or seven years ago hardly any video games existed. But today arcade and home video games comprise an industry that has reached over $7 billion. While questioning people in the course of preparing this research paper, it uncovered a wide range of feelings about the games, most of them quite passionate. A twenty-three-year-old computer engineer was playing portable video games. When ask what is good about these games. The answer was quite definite: "I think they're entertaining. They fascinate me. I can't believe I can hold something almost as small as a credit card that can play a game I haven't mastered. They're a challenge. What's most intriguing is that I know because of my work that there is a pattern to these games. And I haven't yet figured it out. But I keep getting closer. I keep getting better."
More specifically, this research paper yielded the following results:
1. The effects of video games to among the players and more particularly the teenagers can be either good or bad. Good in such a way that they are having fun and enjoying time instead of getting into drugs. It also enables them to become more creative especially in the aspect where they have to create and establish their own avatars and self in the world of video games. However, it cannot be denied that there are also some down side and negative effects to them. Because of the exposure that they have in video games and their characters, they tend to develop bad habits and attitudes. Being exposed to more violent video games make them become violent themselves as they live out the character that they have created in such a virtual world.
2. Most of the players (both teenagers and adults) have somewhat got lost in the virtual world. It has become hard and difficult for them to separate the virtual world to the real one. Over exposure to the games made them want to live out the virtual lives they have created. They feel the need to act in accordance to how their characters will act and how their own avatars will think in the virtual world. Hence, their relationship with real people and in their environment has sometimes been severed especially when things are not made for them to control.
3. As an old cliché go, too much of something is bad enough. This only means that while video games can increase creativity and independence among the players, it still has to be regulated and be placed under discipline.
4. If video games are not regulated it can lead to developing bad habits which is not good for all the players. It should be well regulated and monitored especially for kids.
It also reminds the society that the concept of antecedent control is a fiction, even if a useful one: Antecedents do control subsequent behaviour, but the function of that subsequent behaviour usually is to alter the environment, including its antecedents. Antecedent control is only a way of slicing the constant interaction between the behaviour, its antecedents, and its consequences. Part of antecedent control is stimulus control: understanding how behaviour comes to depend on the environmental events that evoke it, such that without those events, one can hardly use those behaviours. A practical lesson devolves from that understanding: Society should make sure that problem-solving behaviours are responsive to all the relevant parts of all the environments in which society might ever need them. It should make sure that skills are not under the control of too few video games, such that when a problem emerges in an environment lacking those stimuli, the society is helpless to solve the problem. An understanding of stimulus control shows that the skills do not automatically emerge whenever there is a problem; that happens only if the society has arranged it to happen. Almost every principle known is true not everywhere, but only in some places, and not every time, but only sometimes. There are places, and times, when some other principle is true instead. That does not mean an absence of lawfulness; it signals instead the operation of another law, one that should be learned as well as the first. Thus, when the society overstate a principle, such as, "Behaviour comes under the control of stimuli that signal its functional consequences," contextualism teaches it to restate it immediately as, "Behaviour comes under the control of stimuli that signal its functional consequences, except when it does not." Hence, controlling the behaviour must be given more emphasis.
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With all the foregoing, it cannot be denied that the society is now entering into a world where there is an intensified need to mediate the culture of everyday living. There has become a growing need for people to learn that there is a fine line that separates the reality of everyday living and the virtual lives created through the video games. It has to be understood that even if the video games and the attempt to make it a reality affect the lives of many people and more particularly the teenage, it has to be seamlessly segregated from the real world. This is particularly true now that it is the main landscape of the present new media. It is undeniably the most stable and highest earning industry of today. Its influence is something that cannot be put in to questioning. Hence, since it is affecting the lives of mostly teenagers, it is timely to understand where it is coming from and the whole idea behind its characterization (Breer, 1965). The degree of para-social interaction with the avatars created and the characters established can be linked into something far greater than enjoyment of the game and fascination. It transcends into how the society has been taking care of its youth and how the parents have been raising their children. There is nothing wrong with video games. As a matter of fact, the existence of which strengthened the game culture for the past 50 years. A firm discipline must be applied in order to ensure that there is well regulated time computer usage so that the users will have more control over their video games exposure. Video games will probably improve in the next 5 years. More advancement and technicality which will attract more people from all ages will be introduced. Hence, it will be recommended to impose proper discipline.
For tens of thousands of years, the facts of everyday human existence remained fairly constant. The ancestors roamed the earth in small groups--hunting animal foods, gathering plant foods, and gradually learning to build simple tools to aid their efforts. They fashioned coverings for their bodies from animal skins, sought shelter in caves, and eventually depicted some of the important features of their life in drawings on the walls of those caves. They did those things in much the same way from place to place, person to person, and year to year. The particulars of their lives were similar from century to century for thousands of years. As the second millennium of the current era draws to a close, the facts of daily human existence vary enormously from place to place, and they typically change rapidly. Many people living today remember a world without space travel, air travel, or even auto travel--a world without electricity, telephones, calculators, or typewriters (to say nothing of computers). Today, people must learn to operate new machines, interact with new software, use new documents or systems, take on new assignments in work, listen to new music, abide by new rules, use new products, and even learn new social interactions to keep up with changes in activities, interests, or emotions of family members, friends, colleagues, or neighbours. In short, the world with which people must interact is changing rapidly, and that means that people's behaviour must change accordingly. Curiously enough, all these changes in the world, and countless others, are the direct result of human behaviour. The world is mostly a world that has been constructed by humans, whose coordinated behaviour has resulted in our machines, our laws, our libraries and churches, and even the pattern of our interpersonal relations. Most of the people like the modern world, perhaps because the variety it provides is so interesting, and they would not want to trade places with one of the ancestors.