Friday, May 21, 2010

Xbox and the Beta Brain

There are many merits to Xbox, but there are also quite a few reasons why such a pleasurable game can be so detrimental to our younger generation.

What is the Beta Brain?

Firstly we need to understand that the brain operates on 4 different frequency levels, namely; Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta.

The Beta brain wave has the highest frequency between 13 and 40 cycles per second. This is associated with our normal waking state. Beta helps in logical thinking, analysis and active attention function. Stress could throw the frequency to the higher beta range.
Alpha brain wave operates between 8 and 13 cycles per second. This occurs during daydreaming, fantasizing and creative visualization. This is often associated with a deeply relaxed state and meditation.
Theta operates between 4 and 8 cycles per second. Theta is associated with intuition, otherwise known as 'sixth sense' and allows us to access our subconscious. It is activated during dreaming, sleeping and deep meditation states. Theta is also associated with creative thinking, and allows us to tap into our inner genius.
Delta has the lowest frequency between 0.5 and 4 cycles per second. Delta is produced during deep sleep.

So agree with me here; the Beta brain is the one used when we need to react quickly to something, like someone throwing a ball at us, or chasing after a Frisbee.  It’s also the part of the brain that is activated when kids play Xbox or similar computer games, and in particular when kids are gaming, their brains are operating at an even higher frequency cycle due to the associated stress and reaction time required to focus on these games.  Essentially they are developing their Beta Brain.

Years ago we used to complain that video or television games were bad for our kids because they encouraged them to sit on the sofa for an insurmountable amount of time, with the only exercises they got being hand movements.  The drive was to remove the kids from in front of the television or the computer and to get them outdoors to play these games for their health and of course exercises.

Recently a study came out suggesting that these games were in fact not such a bad idea for kids because they encouraged the beta brain to develop.  By encouraging the use of the beta brain one is able to speed it up and thus gain faster mental reaction and process.  Great, wouldn’t you agree?  Indeed.  However there seems to have been one very important factor missing in deriving from this conclusion.

While Xbox games and others are great for our beta brain, they are detrimental when it comes to creating a good conscience, moral fiber and the ability to know the difference between right and wrong.

Xbox encourages kids (and some adults) to react extremely quickly without though process and without conscience.  Thus when it comes to a game of shooting the enemy the player will react and shoot immediately without thinking of the consequences.  This is fine if these learning’s weren’t translated into our personality.

However, children’s immature brains do not have the ability to differentiate between reality and fantasy and therefore when shooting and killing the enemy on a regular basis or from a young age, the child becomes accustomed to reacting in this way without thinking of the consequences.

It would appear that we are creating a society with an infantile brain.  The person who spends a significant amount of time “gaming” has a world characteristically filled with violence without empathy and behaviors without consequences.

There’s no mystery as to why these bad behaviors become learned and transferred to the real world.  These people’s brains are being bombarded with violent images, sounds and compelling action.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, as parents it is our responsibility to limit our children’s time spent playing such games.  There’s a healthy medium and one needs to tap into the good before it becomes a racquet. 

We should, however be concerned about the possibility of a brain-damaged generation of children.  A combination of late nights, video gaming and junk food is a lethal combination.

~  Vanessa

No comments:

Post a Comment