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Having fun in Cyberspace

As shocking as it may sound, a computer is a $3,000 toy.

It's a toy that adults and children can use to find inspiration, stimulate the imagination, explore the world, meet others, and gain new experiences. This process is known as play.

Play has its own pursuits: amusement, competition, expending excess energy, and companionship - all of which can be fulfilled on the Internet. N-Geners view cyberspace as a fun place, a place in which they can play to an infinite extent.

Are Video Games Good for You?

Kids of middle and upper-income families are enjoying less and less spare time. Extra curricular activities, along with extra lessons and league sports are lengthening the school day. This is resulting in a generation that believes that every moment must be filled with "productive activity." The result? A generation of children with less control over their real movements.

Henry Jenkins, a professor of Media Studies at MIT who has studied the role of play in boys' culture notes that boys seem to be more affected by a reduction in play space then girls (ie. the shrinking of their neighbourhoods for reasons of safety). Video games, Professor Jenkins maintains, are attractive to boys because they replicate open play spaces and displace the violence inherent in traditional forms of boy's play.

Gender Games: The Difference Between Boys and Girls

Conventional wisdom says that because boys spend more time playing video games than girls, that they develop sharper computer skills. However, studies conducted since the advent of the home computer have noted that girls have been playing as enthusiastically as their male peers.

A social anthropologist at Northeastern University has found that girls prefer games with strong visual imagery and narrative elements, "But they are willing to compromise on the graphics if the narrative is especially good." Many girls look for games which require a higher level of intelligence. When exposed to violent games like Mortal Kombat, one nine-year-old said, "You kill everyone and then you win ... duh".

Growing Up Digital
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