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Elbiss Gerigourian

Dr. Richard Matzen


WRIT112: Essay Three
Due Date: 11/13/14
Chronic Videogame Usage and Academic Performance
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of non-educational video games on
the academic performance of the 12 grade students. This investigation will take place in the form
of an examination of the correlations between the amount of time a sample of 12th grade students
spend on video games weekly and their current grade point averages (GPAs).
Introduction
Electronic video games have been around for decades now. Due to advanced technology,
most of American households have some kind of video game in place. According to Weaver,
Kim, Metzer, & Szendrey (2013), the video game industry has become the largest entertainment
sector. In 2012, the revenue of the industry was almost $34.2 billion, and it is expected to grow
5.5% more in a near future (Weaver, Kim, Metzer, & Szendrey, 2013). The easy accessibility
and variety of games have caused the students to spend more time playing video games.
This phenomenon, spending excessive amount of time on playing video games, raises
concerns about its influence on students behavior and academic performance. Exploring the
relationship between playing video games and its impact on students academic performance has
been a research topic for many scientists and researchers. Interestingly, these researches have
reached to some contradictory outcomes. Some of these researchers indicated that playing video
games can help students improve their academic performance (Ventura, Shute, & Kim, 2012);
some found that video games might have just minor negative impact on GPA (Craton, 2014); and
some other proved that frequent video gamers are less successful in their academics (Ip, Jacobs,
& Watkins, 2008).
According to Ventura, Shute, & Kim (2012), the amount of time that students spend on
playing video games can have a positive impact on their GPA, because those games can increase
openness and conscientiousness. Ventura et al. (2012), defined openness as a disposition to
engage in intellectual experiences and conscientiousness as the motivation to work hard. Per
Ventura et al. (2012), these two elements are critical to more enhanced problem solving abilities;
therefore, playing video games can help the students to have a higher GPA.
Cratons (2014) review of literature found that there was a relatively small negative
correlation between the amount of time spent playing video games and students GPA. In
contrast, Ip, Jacobs, & Watkins (2008) noted that frequent gamers perform less well than nonor infrequent gamers.

Regardless of these findings, as a mother of a 12th grade student, I believe that there is a
negative correlation between the two variables: the more a 12th grade student spends playing
videogames the lower that students GPA. Therefore, I have decided to conduct a study
examining my hypothesis. I chose this research question, because my son is a 12th grade student
who spends plenty of time with his gaming consol. Therefore, this study expects to find a
negative impact of spending excessive amount of time on video gaming on the students GPA.
High school senior year is an essential year for grade-school students. It is a transitional
period from dependency to independency. They leave the youthful life and step into adulthood
which brings with it bountiful responsibility and accountability. From that age on, they will be
considered as adults who are fully responsible for their own decisions. Therefore, the 12th grade
is the time for them to take responsibility, manage their time properly, and focus on their
achievements.
Method
An all-male group of 8 participants took part in this studyall participants were in the
12 grade at the time of data collection. Informed consent letters were provided to each
participant. The same letters were provided to each parent/legal guardian in the case that a
participant was under the age of eighteen. It was also explained that the survey is voluntary and
the participants can stop their participation anytime during the survey. In addition, my contact
information was provided in the case of any concerns and/or questions.
th

Upon consent, participants were asked to complete an 11-item survey comprised of multiple
choice questions (8-items) and open-ended response questions (3-items). The survey used was
created specifically for the present study (see Appendix).
Participants were asked to first report whether they are under age 18 and have their parents
permission to complete the survey. Then the survey assessed the following:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

The age at which they started regularly consuming videogamescoded as onset-age.


The frequency of videogame consumption per week.
The amount of time spent per siting while consuming videogames.
The sense of urgency to bring each session to completion.
Priority of videogame consumption in relation to working on homework assignments.
Two behavioral tendencies such as skipping assignments all together and/or losing sleep
because of videogame consumption.
7. The current GPA using four distinct GPA categories: below 2.49 GPA, from 2.5 to 2.99,
3.00 to 3.69, and above 3.7.
8. Whether the participants felt that videogame consumption can have negative impact on
their academic performance (yes/no).

At the end of the survey, the participants were asked to offer solutions a 12th grader can
implement to better meet school requirements and increase academic performance levels.
Results
Average onset-age of regular videogame consumption with the current sample was at
8.63 years. All participants consumed video games more than three times a week. Six of the
participants reported playing videogames less than four hours per session but two reported more
than four hours. All but one participant indicated the need to complete each videogame
consumption session. Priority levels were mixed; most of participants reported that they play
video games before doing their homework, some indicated after homework, one specified both
before and after homework. On average, participants reported performing at GPA category level
of 3.0 to 3.69. One participant reported having missed three assignments due to videogame
consumption and a different participant reported having lost sleep on two occasions due to the
same reason.
Eighty-eight percent of participants (n=7) offered some type of solution having to do with
time management and prioritizing of homework assignments in relation to videogame
consumption. However, only 50% (n=4) of the participants indicated that videogame
consumption can have negative implications on academic performance.
Although, results of this study provided some support to the hypothesis and showed a
correlation between the amount of time 12th grade students spend consuming videogames per
week and their academic performance, that association was relatively weak. However, additional
data analysis uncovered interesting findings that are worth sharing with the reader.
First, findings show a positive correlation between participants onset age of videogame
usage and their self-reported GPA category (r = 0.65). In other words, participants who started
regularly playing videogames at a younger age also reported lower GPAs. Conversely,
participants who started playing videogames at a later time in their lives also reported higher
GPAs (Figure 1; the diagonal line in this figure represents a positive correlation).

GPA CATEGORY

1
0

10

12

14

16

AGE of ONSET

Figure 1. Onset of Videogame and GPA Category.

Second, findings show that the less time participants spent consuming videogames in one
session the greater their self-reported GPA category (r = -0.53). On the other hand, those who
spent more time consuming videogames in a single sitting were more likely to report lower
GPAs (Figure 2; the diagonal line represents a negative correlation).
4.5
4

GPA CATEGORY

3.5
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
0

0.5

1.5

2.5

3.5

4.5

Time Spent Consuming Videogames per Game Session

Figure 2. Time spent consuming video games per game session and GPA category.

Third, findings show a negative correlation between participants onset age of videogame
usage and videogame usage priority level in relation to homework (r = -0.32). In other words,
those participants who started consuming videogames at an earlier age also placed a greater level

of priority to playing videogames on a weekly basis (Figure 3; the diagonal line represents a
negative correlation).

Videogame Priority Level

1
0

10

12

14

16

AGE of ONSET

Figure 3. Onset of videogame usage and videogame usage priority level

Discussion and Conclusion


The results of this study provide support for the hypothesis that playing video games for
an excessive amount of time might not have serious negative impact on the students GPA.
These findings do not support my hypothesis for the present study, instead they support what
Emes (1997) discovered in his research: there is no clear causal relationship between video
game playing and academic performance (p. 413).
However, the results of the survey that I conducted indicate that the students who started
playing videogames at a younger age also placed higher priority on videogame consumption and
had lower GPAs. Therefore, parents are responsible for the monitoring of their childrens video
gaming patterns and for teaching them effective time management skills at a young age. Parents
can help their children in different ways: set up a time limit to play video games and provide
different types of gaming tools.
According to Norcia (2011), a researcher, Dr. David Walsh, had discovered that most
parents do not indicate time limitations or parameters on the number of hours that their children
are allowed to spend consuming videogames. I have also observed that many parents (if not all),
who have very young children, provide their electronic devices to their little children to
play/watch games just to keep them calm and quiet. This can create negative video gaming habits
as they grow up. To illustrate this strategy, consider the following example: If the parent has
allowed an hour of video-gaming for the child, fifteen minutes before the time is over, the parent
should inform the child that (s)he has only fifteen more minutes to play, and so on, until that
particular session comes to an end. It is easy to lose track of time while playing video games;

therefore, by reminding the child that child will be emotionally prepared to finish the game in a
timely manner.
In addition to imposing time limitations, parents should find some other gaming tools to
replace chronic video gaming. For example, making puzzles, playing board games, taking them
to some outdoor activities, and having family time together. Shifting the focus and introducing
the child to different types of games can help that child spend less time on video gaming and
increase exposition to a greater variety of educational and recreational games.
Although the scientific literature and its findings on videogame consumption are mixed,
it is still crucial to teach our children appropriate video gaming habits at an early age since
excessive video gaming patterns can have potentially harmful consequences on their academic
performance.

References
Craton, J. (2014). The effect of videogames on student achievement. Association for Christians
in Student Development. Retrieved on November 3, 2014, from
http://www.acsd.org/article/the-effect-of-videogames-on-student-achievement/.
Emes, C. E. (1997). Is Mr Pac Man eating our children? A review of the effect of video games
on children. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 409-414. Retrieved on November 15, 2014
from http://ww1.cpa-apc.org/Publications/Archives/PDF/1997/May/EMES.pdf
Ip, B, Jacobs, G., & Watkins, A. (2008). Gaming frequency and academic performance.
Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24, 4, 355-373. Retrieved on November
3, 2014, from http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet24/ip.pdf.
Norcia, A. (2011). The effect of video games on children. Education.Com. Retrieved on
November 3, 2014, from
http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Impact_Video_Games/.
Ventura, M., Shute, V., & Kim, Y. J. (May 01, 2012). Video gameplay, personality and
academic performance. Computers & Education, 58, 4, 1260-1266. Retrieved on
November 3, 2014, from http://myweb.fsu.edu/vshute/pdf/games_styles.pdf.
Weaver, J., Kim, Ph., Metzer, R. L., & Szendrey, J. M. (2013). The impact of video games on
student GPA, study habits, and time management skills: whats the big deal? Issues in
Information Systems, 14, 1, 122-128. Retrieved on November 3, 2014, from
http://iacis.org/iis/2013/184_iis_2013_122-128.pdf.

Appendix
1. Please select one of the following:
I am 18 years old or above and I consent to this research.
I am under 18 and have talked to my parents; I have their permission to take this survey.
I am not participating in this survey.
2. Whats the age you started playing video games?
Age: __________
3. How frequently do you spend playing online games?
Once a week
3 7 times a week
Everyday
4. How much time do you spend per game session playing?
Less than 1 hour
Less than 3 hours
Less than 4 hours
More than 4 hours
5. Do you feel that you have to finish the game per game session?
Yes
No
6. Do you like to play before doing your homework or after?
Before homework
After homework
Both, before and after homework
7. What is your current Great Point Average (GPA)?
3.7 and above
Between 3.00 to 3.69
Between 2.5 to 2.99
Below 2.49
8. Do you find yourself skipping assignments in order to play video games?
Yes. Please indicate how many times it happened in school year of 14-15 ________
No
9. Have you ever lost sleep because of playing video games?
Yes. Please indicate how many times it happened in school year of 14-15 ________
No

10. Do you think video games can have negative impact on your GPA?
Yes. Please explain why.
No. Please explain why.

11. How do you think a 12 grader student can manage his/her game pattern in order to meet
the school requirements?