General Question

YARNLADY's avatar

Do you think giving a free gaming laptop and internet to at risk teens would prevent crime?

Asked by YARNLADY (46431points) 2 weeks ago
22 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

My teens are so involved in their gaming, they don’t want to do anything else. Perhaps getting potential criminals in something like that would help.

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Zaku's avatar

Depends on the full situation, but yeah, setting up teenagers with computers and games can certainly occupy them for hours on end, and get them focused on that.

On the other hand, sending laptops into some “at risk” situations can result in those being taken and sold by someone.

I could imagine losing one’s laptop that way also leading to a lot of anger, which could get taken out on others.

Which is just to say that a lot of different outcomes might happen, depending on the details.

seawulf575's avatar

Sure, but what you are doing is turning them into mindless zombies.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Make no mistake, it probably would. It may even help moderate self-destructive behavior and lead to more positive emotions. There are studies to back it up too. I hear people say it’ll turn them into mindless zombies, but that’s just not the case. It takes a lot of engagement and mental acuity to play modern games. Watching TV all day, well, that’s different.

seawulf575's avatar

@Blackwater_Park According to the AI on my browser:

“Study that shows kids that grew up with a lot of video games have a harder time staying focused on tasks as they get older
Research suggests that individuals who grew up playing video games may struggle with staying focused on tasks as they get older. This phenomenon is attributed to the constant exposure to fast-paced, action-packed games that can lead to a decrease in attention span and an increased difficulty in sustaining focus.

Development of Impulse Control and Memory

Playing video games can improve impulse control and memory, which are essential cognitive skills. However, this improvement may not necessarily translate to other areas of life, such as work or education, where sustained attention and focus are crucial.

Transfer of Skills

Research has shown that the cognitive benefits of playing video games may not transfer to untrained memory tasks, making it challenging for individuals who grew up playing games to stay focused on tasks as they get older.

Comparison to Non-Game Players

Studies have found that individuals who do not play video games tend to have better focus and attention span compared to those who do. This suggests that the constant exposure to video games may have a negative impact on focus and attention over time.


In conclusion, research suggests that individuals who grew up playing video games may struggle with staying focused on tasks as they get older. This is due to the constant exposure to fast-paced, action-packed games that can lead to a decrease in attention span and an increased difficulty in sustaining focus.”

According to This Article there is a study that shows much the same.

According to a father (me) who had a couple of kids that got hooked on video games, I can tell you it impacted them socially as well as developmentally. Up until the day they told me they were bored with games. Thankfully they came to this decision on their own because it allowed me to point them in other directions. After that they grew and matured, found friends and did things, played sports, etc, etc, etc.

Another anecdote I have is when I was a supervisor at a power plant. I had a guy working for me, young guy…22 years old. Smart kid. Great memory. Zero focus. He screwed up all the time. Every job required following a procedure. If that procedure had a wait time in it (turn it on and let it run for 10 minutes before proceeding, e.g.) he was almost guaranteed to screw up the next step. At one point we asked him to go to the psychologist for evaluation. The psychologist met with him many times and told us about a trend that was emerging. Kids that grew up with computers, MTV, video games, etc were showing problems staying focused for any length of time. All these things are full of quick flashes and changes. It moves from one thing to the next to the next. These kids can “multitask” like crazy but if you ask them to stay focused on one thing for more than a few minutes they just can’t do it.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@seawulf575 You really have to cherry-pick to come up with that. And just so you know, the AI in your browser summarizes what you’re asking it to. The idea that video games negatively affect cognition and focus is this generation’s moral panic. Meta-analysis shows otherwise. Video games and MTV huh? When was that, 40 years ago? The amount of focus and attention to detail, planning, execution, and coordination it takes to play modern games is nothing like playing pac-man until midnight or listening to a lot of heavy metal music. That was another moral panic that all of the “experts” were proven wrong about as well.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No. Simple answer – not all kids are into games. And computers are a double edged sword. Sure, some kids will play games. Others will learn from it and become brilliant people.

Some will become hackers and ransom-seekers.

Side note: Anyone – not just @seawulf575 – who uses AI to prove a point is by nature giving you crap. AI is not trustworthy, not factual, and makes up things as it goes along/

Forever_Free's avatar

I would offer them a paying job before giving them a gaming laptop.
Odd jobs to help provide motivation and pride in doing and learning a useful life skill.

seawulf575's avatar

Well shit. I guess those doubters that don’t like AI answers can get some real answers

This one I found particularly interesting. The author identified that video games can be good but then can be horrible for children at the same time. Good if the video games being played are for good things like teaching socialization or learning math. Not so good for pretty much everything else

And, gee, once again it looks like I’m the only one putting forth actual scientific citations. Once again, I will say that to attack and dismiss a view point because you don’t like the source speaks more about you than me.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think giving them opportunities would be more valuable. Teach them to write code for games and you may have yourself a better model for lasting positive outcomes, likely the increase in tax revenue over their lifetimes (not to mention the saved expenses from the harm they might otherwise do to people and property, plus the cost to prosecute and incarcerate them) would more than pay for the cost.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@seawulf575 You cherry-pick. You have to work to find stuff to support what you throw out and then get called out for doing so. On this forum, every last one of us has written you off. Even other conservatives such as myself.
Here are several meta-analyses on the subject, not cherry-picked articles. I don’t know why I bother, you’re not going to read them, just repost the same shit you always do.

seawulf575's avatar

@Blackwater_Park did you actually read the studies you cited? You try to slam me by saying I cherry pick articles and not studies, yet one of yours is an article so you fail there.

The first one you cited was a study of specific games to be used for educational or that were actually developed for psychological treatment. It was not a study of kids playing Grand Theft Auto or other such games which are the most popular by the gaming world. The second one was an article, you know, those unreliable things you tried to slam me for? So 2 of the three don’t pass your own smell test. The last one comes to the same conclusions most of mine came to…that there are increases in some cognitive abilities. The difference is that mine also went the extra step to look at other negative impacts. Yes, the kids playing the violent games increase in areas like focus or spatial recognition, but they also end up with desensitization towards violence, they gain violent tendencies, etc. The articles you cited conveniently left off that evaluation. And you accuse me of cherry picking.

In the end, meta-analysis is crap so we both fail there. Meta-analysis does searches of other studies, most of which are meta-analysis, or of articles written. They aren’t studies in themselves, they are rehashing old evidence. What we need is a good old fashioned Randomized Control Test to see what it tells us. Something like:

This one is not an RCT, but is fascinating because it was a study of the correlation not only of violent video games on behavioral problems with children, but with their peers as well.

Now, did I cherry pick these? Yes I did. Why? Because so few RCTs exist, I had to pick the ones I found. RCTs are the gold standard in studies. And part of the problem is that so few actual studies into the impacts of video games on people. I’ve found a whole lot of studies and articles that throw in the statement to that effect.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@seawulf575 Actually, meta-analysis is the gold standard. I did not even need to link the other two. That first one was taken from 35 independent studies measuring effects on a broad range of cognitive functions.

seawulf575's avatar

Sigh you keep putting out bogus information

This one I like because it points out a very distinct difference between what they say a meta-analysis should be and what you and I have used. According to this report, the Meta-Analysis would take a series of RCTs that were performed and evaluate them. Neither you nor I provided that. They were various studies, not RCTs that have much tighter standards, that were used as sources for the MA to come to a conclusion.

This article was a very good discussion of the pros and cons of both.

The problem with MA is that it has a lot of uncontrolled aspects. Is the analyst looking at all studies on a given topic or just ones they want to help support their thoughts? Were the studies being used thoroughly controlled or were they sketchy as well? And my favorite, because I saw several of these in both our citations: Did they use other MAs as their sources? Nothing like compounding errors as you go. RCTs have very strict controls associated with them. They have very strict review processes associated with them. All questions need to be resolved before it can be considered complete.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Welp, I’m done lol. You clearly don’t want to follow what is the widely known, accepted consensus that modern video games do not have negative effects on cognitive function but have been shown to improve it. The thing is, you know this now. You had to wade through all the articles, studies, and information that say this to cherry-pick some shred of info that you can link that may say something that sort of backs up your comment. Yet, you still want to try to argue otherwise. Just so you know, this is why you don’t have respect.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Blackwater_Park you are just noticing this about him today? Several flutherites stopped interacting with the escape artist months ago.

seawulf575's avatar

Yeah, how dare I actually cite study after study that contradicts your thinking? I’m such a jerk sometimes! Not to mention all the scientists that did the studies!

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@seawulf575 You really didn’t. Anyone who can spend 60 seconds with a browser can figure out exactly what you did and that you’re completely full of shit. It’s not my thinking, it’s the general scientific community. A little presumptuous don’t you think? I don’t know why you persist. If we picked apart the few studies you linked we’ll likely find problems. Bad premise, uncontrolled variables, weak correlation coefficients…something. That’s generally what happens when you have results that contradict the larger body of evidence. That is why you look at meta-analysis.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It is certainly worth an experiment. ‘d rather they were given out as a reward for perfect school attendance for the first semester, or quarter. No exceptions – even if you are hit by a car and have a doctor’s note.
By doing it early in the year it might establish a precedent and make it a habit

seawulf575's avatar

@Blackwater_Park How arrogant of you to besmirch peer reviewed RCTs without anything to actually show that would be better? But hey, arrogance is your milieu. It’s what you are known for.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Why would I bother to try to prove something to you when you don’t appear to have the ability to admit you’re wrong. The studies you linked are not even really applicable to what we are talking about. One showed video games can interrupt kids homework…no surprise. That does not mean they’re not getting cognitive benefits. Another included television and other media which don’t isolate video games. Garbage study. You cherry pick. You could not have missed the numerous studies and evidence that show cognitive benefits of video games. It’s overwhelming. I know it, you know it, and more importantly you know that I know that you know it. So does anyone who makes the most basic search. So either you think like flat earthers or young earth creationists or you’re just trolling at this point.

seawulf575's avatar

“Why would I bother to try to prove something to you when you don’t appear to have the ability to admit you’re wrong.” Exactly my thoughts. You didn’t even read the studies I cited. You read a few lines and concluded in your hubris you knew it all. If you actually took the time to read the studies, you’d be more informed. For that matter, if you read your own studies, you realize you were cherry picking by your standards. One of them talked at length about all sorts of targeted learning games that can be used to help older people. The question was about at risk teens. Additionally I DID cite a study that showed cognitive benefits of video games, but also showed that while there were benefits, the games (the major ones the kids buy and play) increased aggression, decreased sensitization towards violence, and generally led to poor socialization. These are all things you conveniently tried to avoid actually addressing.

Go back to living in your cloud where you are always right. You know I will keep pointing out your flaws and that is something you just can’t stand.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@seawulf575 Unlike you, I do admit when I’m wrong, this just is not one of those times I’m wrong. This is your hobby, arguing the wrong side of a subject. Don’t like the studies I linked, go look at the volumes of others that support what I’m saying. Don’t try to move the goal posts. You said video games make people mindless zombies. That’s not what the science says. You wreck every thread you interact with. You’re a troll. Out of respect for @yarnlady’s question, I’m going to unfollow it so someone will offer something of value to it. It will not be you though.

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