Video games distract students

Javier Lenida

Senior Randy Saechao plays a game on his handheld device in October 2012. Image credit : Michael Shane

Here in Oakland High School, teachers, administrators, and even the security have witnessed students bringing handheld video games to school every day. Students often have video-game battles instead of completing their school work.

Students who play games argue that playing handheld games takes away their stress from class and teachers, but teachers objected that bringing handheld games would disrupt their learning, put the students in danger of failing, and increase the risk of theft .

“I see students playing handheld video games every day,” said Jeffrey Rogers, the Oakland High school principal. “Mostly I see them playing handheld video games in the cafeteria and in the basketball court.”

Rogers said video game usage is both good and bad.

“There’s two things: when they use them at lunchtime, it relaxes people … by taking their mind off of school work,” said Rogers. “The second thing, that’s not good, is that it distracts them from their lessons.”

Teachers agreed that students playing handheld video games can be dangerous because it takes away their learning.

“Some students focus more on video games, but some students focus more on work,” said Ben Siino, an English teacher, who said that he sees no positive interactions from students who play handheld games. “First I ask a student (who’s using a game in class) to put it away and if they don’t – I take it.”

Siino said that he had played video games as a child and he still enjoys playing video games. Siino said that he sees little educational merit in these games, saying, “There are certain games that are educational and teach reading and math, but those are more for elementary students.”

Some students disagreed, arguing that playing handheld games can be fun and relaxing.

“I feel excited to play,” said sophomore Taurus Price. ”When I’m done with my school work I can play video games,” although he added, “sometimes when (I’m) into the game, I sneak it when I have to do my work. Video games make my problems go away when I’m mad about something.”

There are many issues with students bringing their handheld video games to school. Students’ handheld games are often targets for thieves. Their games are stolen and rarely found or returned. However, video game thief is a relatively new problem.

“We didn’t have video games when I was a kid,” said Rogers. “There were no such thing.”

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