Violent Video Games Violent Video Games and Aggressive Behavior in Children In recent years, technological advances have introduced many new forms of entertainment, one of the most popular being video games. Since their introduction, professionals and parents have become concerned with the addictive power that video games can have on people, particularly children and adolescents. Today, concern has shifted from the addictive effects of video game playing to the possible effects that they have on players’ aggression levels.
As defining aggression as any thoughts or behaviors related with the intention to cause harm. Many scholars have been researching videogame’s effects on children. The most popular aspect of videogame research is whether or not games increase aggression. Seven hours is the amount of hours a day the average American child plays a video games (Anderson 354), and with technology advancing and games becoming more graphic, the concern over a violent game’s effect over a child’s development is growing. What does playing video games for seven hours do to a child’s development?
Violent, role-playing video games adversely affects a child’s development and causes aggression in children and adolescents; these games desensitize players, reward hurt and destruction, and glorify dangerous weapons. For some clarification, violent video games are defined as any game where the objective is to cruelly hurt or kill another character. Role-playing games are defined as any game where the player is responsible for the characters actions; they instigate all moves made by their character.
Also, aggression is defined not to mean that a child will go to school and shoot everyone or even engage in fist fights as result of playing too many video games. Aggression here means non-physical acts as well as physical ones. The first harmful effect of violent, role-playing games is their effect on a youth’s reaction to violence and gore. When a child spends so much time exposed to the kind of brutality depicted in violent video games, the actions executed lose meaning. When interviewed, Mrs.
Oake, a registered nurse and mother of two, stated “Eventually, the gravity of the violent acts and their consequences are lost on these children. It may become difficult for them to grasp the fact that this behavior causes serious consequences in real life. ” In turn, this means that the children are more likely to be aggressive, because the magnitude of their actions means nothing to them. Dr. Levine agrees that “Desensitization, then, can help children engage in activities that were previously anxiety-provoking. (33) Meaning that one child, who frequently plays these games, would have a much harder time being troubled by performing aggressive or violent acts because they witness and even virtually participate in them so often they have little significance, they become desensitized. In addition to desensitizing children, violent video games reward hurt and destruction. For example, the objective of the very popular Doom is to shoot as many of the game’s “demons” as possible. In the game, or any given game, the more hurt, the more points a player receives and the higher up in the levels they move.
Children are particularly susceptible to this kind of reinforcement because of their age. In the same way a parent teaches their child with punishment when they have done something bad and rewards when they have done something bad. A video game operates on the same basic principal. This is the use of positive reinforcement, on a negative action. The “fighting solves everything” policy is continually emphasized at an age when children are still modeling after what they see around them.
The games subconsciously enforce the belief that violence is good. Video games promote dangerous weapons and make them seem exciting, as opposed to hazardous and life-threatening. The same way the media made smoking seem “cool,” violent video games make weapons seem “cool. ” Near San Francisco, a young boy broke into his parent’s bedroom and took his father’s gun, and accidentally killed his friend (Levine 51-52). The idea that wielding a gun will make one “tough” is one that is repeatedly highlighted in video games today.
Most games give players weapons ranging from rifles to pistols to bazookas to chain saws to brass knuckles. The glamorization of weapons may also have an effect on the rising rates of children being murdered, which rose sixty-four percent over a seventeen year period (Levine 52). The thrill of holding a weapon like the character in their favorite games causes children to be more likely to pick up something dangerous and use it, without being aware of the dire consequence. Undoubtedly, many people argue that violent video games have no affect on hildren. Christopher J. Ferguson argues that society is simply using video games as an excuse for human nature, claiming that “In past centuries, a variety of art forms have taken the blame for society’s problems… as if such media were like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, leading us astray from our natural goodness” (58). However, video games have been shown to affect a child’s development, and the way they evaluate situations, meaning that the games can indeed lead children “astray” as Ferguson puts it.
It does not mean that a large percentage of crimes are not committed by people who “…made a conscious choice- not to play a game, but to kill” (Ferguson 62), or that human nature does not play a part in it. Nevertheless, in a review done of the research of the effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, findings showed that “Exposure is positively associated with heightened levels of aggression in young adults and children, in experimental and non-experimental designs, and in males and females” (Anderson 358).
His review showed that video games affects everyone, therefore not just people with a pre-disposition for aggression. Despite great popularity amongst children, parents should be wary of the amount of exposure to violent video games they let their children have. Violent, role-playing video games affect a child’s development and cause them to be more aggressive; they affect a child’s reaction to bloodshed, emphasize violence and devastation, and praise the use of dangerous weapons. Hopefully, parents will become aware what they are exposing their young children to and in the future refrain from it.
Survey questions 1. What is your name? 2. What type of gaming system do you buy the games for? 3. In the Past 6 months how many Video games have you bought? 4. Out of the games you have bought how many were violent? 5. How many kids do you have? 6. What are all their ages? 7. Do you think that the game companies are to blame for the violent that kids do after playing those games and why? 8. Have you notices any changes in your child’s behavior after they have been playing violent video games? If so explain. 9.
Of all the games you have bought how many of them had violent content? 10. Why did you buy these games for your child? 11. Why do you let your child play those types of games? 12. How much time do you allow your child to play video games a day? 13. What kind of grades is your chided getting in school before and after they started to play the games? 14. Has your child been in trouble in school for being violent and if so for what? 15. What is your child’s favorite game to play? References Anderson, Craig A. , and Brad J. Bushman. Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Physiological Arousal, and Prosocial Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Scientific Literature” Psychological Science. 12. 5 (Sep. , 2001) 353-359. Web. 15 Nov. 2009 Ferguson, Christopher J. “Violent Video Games Have Become a Scapegoat for Violent Behavior” Opposing Viewpoints: Media Violence. Ed. David M. Maugen and Susan Musser. Detroit: Gale, 2009. 56-62. Print. Levine, Madeline. Viewing Violence. New York: Doubleday, 1996.
Print. Seltzer. “Tendencies” Cartoon. Parentstv. org 18 Nov. 2009: Web Annotated Working Bibliography Anderson, Craig A. , et al. “The Influence of Media Violence on Youth” Psychological Science in the Public Interest 4. 3 (Dec. , 2003): Web. 15 Nov. 2009 A journal about the effects of media violence (T. V, movies and video games) on youth. Contains statistics regarding media violence, summaries of studies done, charts, and information regarding media exposure and children. Anderson, Craig A. , and Brad J. Bushman. Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Physiological Arousal, and Prosocial Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Scientific Literature” Psychological Science. 12. 5 (Sep. , 2001) 353-359. Web. 15 Nov. 2009 Contains the summary of a study done to pinpoint the effects of violent video games on children and young adults. This journal contained charts, graphs, definitions, and reasons as to why violent video games can cause aggression in children. Gentile, Douglas A. , et al. The effects of violent video game habits on adolescent hostility, aggressive behaviors, and school performance” Journal of Adolescence. 27 (2004): Web. 30 Nov. 2009 Journal on the effects of video games on adolescence. Contains good facts and important information pertaining to violent video games on children’s development Haugen, David M. and Susan Musser, eds. “Media Violence” Opposing viewpoints Series. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Print. A collection of essays from experts on their opinions of the effects of media violence on the public, essays include opinions from both sides of the spectrum.
Essay on the negative effects of video games on children and essay about the other side of media violence. Levine, Madeline. Viewing Violence. New York: Doubleday, 1996. Print. Dr. Levine talks about the effects of media violence on children and its affect on a child development, informing parents of the negative effects that prolonged exposure can cause. Contains statistics, how media violence affects a child at each step of development, Levine’s own view on the subject and what parents, the media and the government can do about the growing problem.