Affect of Violent Video Games on Children

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Introduction

In recent decades, attention has been placed on the influence of violent videogames on the aggressive behaviour of individuals. While some scholars believe that videogames increase aggression amongst children in particular, others claim evidence on the catharsis hypothesis where videogames are argued to be a safe outlet to express aggression (Berger 2002). Although many theories have emerged regarding the influence of violent videogames, the debate continues to be divided between those who claim its destructive nature and others who claim that videogames cannot be solely blamed for the aggressive behaviour expressed by young people. This essay therefore aims to examine different arguments raised in the literature regarding the moral and social issues that are associated with violent videogames.

The Debate about the Influence of Violent Video Games

In recent times, the nature of video games have become an important topic of debate as politicians in the UK and America argue that videogame playing increases aggression, particularly in children (Freedman 2001; Berger 2002). Despite the absence of scientific consensus, there seems to be a rising concern that videogames can in fact lead to ‘real life’ violence. In 1993 the British Parliament showed concern over the dangers of games such as Mortal Kombat, in 1997 similar questions were raised about Grand Theft Auto, where the aim of the game is to steal cars, shoot people and engage in criminal activities. Videogames have also been blamed directly for the school massacres in the United States, where teenage murderers were reported to be avid players of violent videogames such as Doom and Duke Nukem. As a result, parents of the children murdered filed a $130 millio...

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Freedman, J. (2001) Evaluating the Research on Violent Video Games, Toronto: University of Toronto. http://culturalpolicy.uchicago.edu/conf2001/papers/freedman.html (Accessed 18th April 2006).

Galloway, A.R. (2004) Social Realism in Gaming. The International Journal of Computer Game Research, Volume 4, Issue 1. http://webct.londonmet.ac.uk/SCRIPT/SM2007N/scripts/serve_home (Accessed 18th April 2006).

Jenkins, H. (2006) Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked. Impact of Gaming Essays, The Video Game Revolution. http://webct.londonmet.ac.uk/SCRIPT/SM2007N/scripts/serve_home (Accessed 18th April 2006)

Poole, S. (2000) Trigger Happy: The Inner Life of Videogames. London: Fourth Estate Limited.

Rollings, A. & Adams, E. (2003) Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Designs. USA: New Riders Publishing.
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