Current issue analysis

There are widespread claims by professionals and parents alike that computer gaming has negative effects of the cognitive development and behaviour of children.
Your task
You have been asked to contribute to a senate inquiry into the impact of computer gaming on child behaviour and development. As a developmental psychologist, your role is to contribute to this public deliberation by presenting some empirical evidence that has investigated the link between child development (and/or behaviour) and gaming.
Your task, therefore, is to respond to some of the key claims made in the article “Smarter Games, Dumber Children”. If this link does not work, go to, and find it through the site’s search functions.
Please note the aim of this assessment item is not to argue for or against gaming use in childhood. Indeed you may have strong views about the positive or negative effects of computer games. However, for this assignment you need to set those aside and to objectively assess the empirical literature.
1) Indicate the normal or typical cognitive development of children aged 6-12 years (approx. 700 words). Note that different developmental milestones are pertinent to each age (or age group) between the ages of 6 and 12. It does not matter which theory of cognitive development you discuss, however, it is important to link your discussion of normal development to the negative impact that internet use is thought to have on development. Thus, for instance, if you rely on Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, you would need to relate your discussion of benefits/negative effects of game use to Piaget’s stages.
2) Assess the existing published, peer reviewed evidence of potential and/or actual psychological impact of gaming on children. (approx. 600 words).
3) Conclude with three recommendations for the Senate Inquiry concerning the use of gaming both in schools and at home. These must be specifically linked to the two foregoing sections. One recommendation should aIDress itself to government and/or industry policy – should law or policy be changed, and if yes how? For instance, should gaming be used as an educational tool in schools? The second aspect should aIDress itself to what we should be telling the wider communities (i.e. families). The last recommendation should aIDress itself to concrete suggestions with regard to research (i.e. ?more research? would not suffice, suggest a particular design of research program and mention how it may fill in gaps in our knowledge). These recommendations don’t need to be very long because your first two sections should provide ample rationale for them. (approx. 600 words).
Moral arguments with regard to community standards may be important and valid. However, they are highly variable, with both sides of the debate invoking moral imperatives in defense of their position. One the one hand we have the moral imperative of free speech and artistic expression; on the other side we have the moral requirement to protect children. This exercise is designed to provide experience in sorting opinion (however impassioned) from evidence; and make evidence-based contributions that might assist a public enquiry in reaching a decision. The importance of these analytic and information literacy skills in becoming an effective professional cannot be overstated – especially in developmental psychology and childrens’ services, where rhetoric frequently overshadows reasoned and evidence based debate.

The rationales for this task, therefore, are:

1. To improve your ability to assess research evidence
2. To make you a more critical consumer of information in the media
3. To improve the clarity and coherence of your written expression.
4. To improve your referencing skills
5. To develop your research skills

Marking criteria
The evidence you present should consist of primary resources (such as peer-reviewed articles or specialized developmental texts). Avoid general textbooks (such as your PSY202 text) as these are all secondary sources. After all, if they can read and cite Piaget, Bandura, Bronfenbrenner or Vygotsky, so can you. You will identify dozens of articles and other sources but be selective and discuss about six peer reviewed articles (in aIDition to your references on theory in development) – this is only a short piece and I am more interested in your ability to interpret and analyse the literature on childrens? psychological development than your ability to ?blind? us with an exhaustive list. The first step to good analysis of the literature is the appropriate and balanced selection and use of relevant material.

Do not cite websites, general texts (i.e Westen) or news articles as evidence. You?re being assessed on your interpretation of the scientific evidence, not someone else?s opinion.

In summary, the following criteria will be used when marking your assignment:

Conceptual skills/quality of argument (50% of total)

You will gain marks for:
Demonstrating an understanding of different kinds of evidence (e.g. is the study correlational? Is it experimental? What implications does this have?)
Showing that you can evaluate evidence from both sides of an argument. For example, try to view your articles as if the findings agree with your position, but also give some thought to how you might criticize the article if it did not agree with your position. Even handed treatment of the evidence makes for more convincing conclusions.
You will lose marks for:
An argument that is too narrative or descriptive.
Giving opinions that are unsupported by evidence .
Recommendations that are unsupported by the evidence you present.
Research skills (30% of total)
You will gain marks for:
An appropriate list of references that are
– relevant to the question.
– peer reviewed
– presenting primary evidence rather than a review of other’s studies
You will lose marks for:
Relying on secondary evidence or websites
Any direct or indirect quotations or factual information that is not adequately acknowledged. Please note: excessive use of quotes without referencing them as quotes may put you at risk of investigation for academic misconduct under CSU?s plagiarism policy.
Literacy and writing skills (10% of total)
You will lose marks for:
Incoherent or unclear written expression
Needless repetition (some recapping in conclusion is expected, but make it a cogent summary rather than a pure repetition)
Errors in grammar, punctuation or spelling
Being too vague, too general or digressing from the topic
Professionalism (10% of total)
You will lose marks for:
Incorrect referencing, formatting and layout style (see APA publication guide – 6th edition)
Writing that is colloquial or journalistic
Typographical errors
Referencing and presentation must conform to APA convention (6th Edition, 2010). You should, at second year, be reasonably conversant with the APA Publication Manual yourself. However, the University has compiled a very good guide to the APA. We recommend you read it. Quotations from any source MUST be appropriately referenced as such (see pg. 170 of APA manual). Subheadings may be used to organize your points. Do not use bullet points under any circumstances. Typeface should be 12 point Times New Roman, and have 1.5 spaced lines.
plagiarism cannot be performed, turnitin software is used and detects all plagiarism, plagiarism is a criminal offense here

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