“Don’t make that face, it will get stuck like that,” “Don’t go swimming until 30 minutes after you eat if you don’t want cramps,” “Don’t sit so close to the television or you will go blind,” “Don’t play video games all day, your brain will turn to mush.” These are all common phrases you have probably heard your parents say to you as you were a child. However as you grew up, you came to realize that most of these were not true. However the one about losing your eye sight, and the one about video games you never quite found an answer to, until now. It turns out, video games can be good for a person’s vision and ability to process information. According to this TED Talk, by Daphne Bavelier a brain scientist who studies the impact of video games on the brain. Bavelier states that those who play video games like Call of Duty, actually have better vision than the average person. It does not stop there either, those who play similar video games have scored better in the ability to multitask. She does this by performing various tests such as testing people’s ability to say the color font of a word, following multiple objects at once, or matching turned shapes. So as it turns out, those parents who did not let their children play video games may have left their children behind.
They have currently been running tests to see if they can improve the vision and reaction of adults by having them play video games. By having the adults play 10 hours of video games in a span of two weeks, the people tested have seen improvements in vision and reaction time as far as five months in advance. So the question is, if video games can be so beneficial, why do the makers not come out with a video game that will improve everyone’s ability that people will enjoy. Bavelier compares this concept with chocolate and broccoli; the current video games being chocolate and the learning video games being chocolate. People enjoy chocolate more than broccoli, and combining the two is just weird and would not work. However they are working on creating a solution where broccoli dipped in fondue may be delicious.
Bavelier ends her talk by saying to remember the rule of moderation. Yes, video games can be a good thing for your brain. However too much of anything is never a good thing and you should moderate your video game play. She mentions how you would react differently if your child spent the same time playing video games as they did practicing math, or reading a book, but even in those fields too much is not a good thing. She relates video games to wine, the right amount is a good thing, too much can have negative effect on your body. Portion control is key, something many of us Americans struggle with.
While I do not spend a whole lot of time watching television now, when I am watching television I find myself watching ESPN, and in particular SportsCenter. This has been a show that I have watched ever since I was a kid. I grew up always loving sports, whether that was playing or watching. Naturally, discovering SportsCenter amazed me in ways that I could never imagine. Prior, I would check the newspaper for the night before’s scores, or read about what happened in other games. With SportsCenter I was able to get scores, hgihlights and analysis all in one spot. SportsCenter made it okay to miss the game. And it also brought me closer to the players and teams because they would discuss the latest rumors, injuries, hirings, firings and playoff races. When I read the newspaper they only covered had articles for the local sports teams, and headline news. SportsCenter had all of that and more and fit it in an hour or two.
When digital media started advancing, SportsCenter took advantage of this by allowing the fans to vote online which play they believed was the best play from that particular night in sports. Later that night after the polling was closed they would put the play that was voted the best play as number one. This allowed the viewer to get that much closer to the making of the show and feel a part of it. Similar to what shows like American Idol did with voting for which contestant they believed was the best. A few years later when Twitter began to blow up SportsCenter brought the public even closer to the teams and show once again. They would use a hashtag for a game, people would tweet in and allow the audience to discuss what was going on. People from all over the world were now interacting as they watched the sporting event at the same time thousands of miles apart. Here, Mashable talks about the impact of SportsCenter bringing in tweet polling. Next they brought the hashtag to show related topics. Fans could tweet in their question using a specific hashtag and during the segment one of ESPN’s analysts would answer your question. Before, your question was only heard around the neighborhood, with your friends or others that you talked to. SportsCenter allowed for the whole viewing audience to hear your voice and then to have one of the professionals answer your question.
The final thing SportsCenter has done is allow the fan to be a star of the show. By tweeting in, or sending in your own home video of you or a friend performing an incredible athletic act. You have a chance of landing on SportsCenter’s famous Top 10 Plays. Letting the world see what you did. Now it is not only professional athletes getting all the fame for making great plays but everyone can have the fame for that.