Preconceptions of books vs. video games


While both books and video games are common sources of entertainment for teenagers, there is a discrepancy in the way they’re each seen. It’s a well known preconception that books are both entertaining and educational. Biblio Lifestyle reports that reading improves not only vocabulary but also benefits comprehension, critical thinking skills, and cognitive function. Video games, however, are often seen in a much more negative light.

 “People think books are better because they aren’t as visual,” said Jaymul Barot, a sophmore at BHS. “In video games, you can see the violence making children more exposed to the gore of video games. Whereas books, if someone is impaled, it doesn’t have a lasting effect. But if a kid sees someone stabbed in a video game, it tends to have a negative lasting effect.” Barot’s thoughts are somewhat backed up by research, but the relationship between violent video games and “negative lasting effects” is complicated. In 2020, the American Psychological Association concluded that there is a miniscule connection between violent video game use and aggressive behavior. According to a report from the Royal Society Open Science journal, “current research is unable to support the hypothesis that violent video games have a meaningful long-term predictive impact on youth aggression.”

So are books a better form of entertainment than video games? BHS librarian, Nicole Fitzhugh, said that she didn’t agree. She noted that the preconceived superiority of books is a part of our culture. According to Fitzhugh, “more of us who have grown up with video games are not going to see the difference between video games and books as better or worse.” 

For this culture shift to occur, it’s crucial that the benefits to video games are well stated. The Cleveland Clinic reported that video gaming can improve focus and hand-eye coordination, while even increasing brain efficacy. 

The benefits of video games are still a complicated discussion. In 2019, The World Health Organization labeled “video game addiction” as a mental health disorder. The website Game Quitters sums it up with: “Objectively, there can be positive effects of video games when played in moderation. However, there can also be negative effects when played excessively.” But as for whether books are better than video games, BHS sophomore Connor Arthur, thinks “it depends on what people want.”