At this day in age we bask in the luxury of having easy access to advanced technology at our disposal. From the World Wide Web, to cell phones, music, movies and video games the human race has thought of any and everything to keep us entertained. Over the years studies have shown reasonable concerns regarding the long-term effects of video games. These games can desensitize gamers to real life violence, which is usually seen in the younger crowd. The studies especially hit on the games containing player-on-player violence. Though these games are extremely entertaining and can get kids to settle down for a while, if not properly supervised, they can produce adverse effects. Other studies have shown that video games can be used as way to yield positive outcomes such as, good problem solving skills, cooperation in a group and the ability to flow. Although there has been psychological research on children learning through the actions of others some believe that children are automatically able to distinguish between what is just a game and what is reality. The longer they are allowed on their game system the more they become convinced that their games are real. Some researchers believe violent video games can channel the aggression of the child but the parents are to blame for what happens to the child after playing an excessive amount over a period of time. Children can become preoccupied with these violent video games which have been proven to be the cause of poor social skills, uncontrollable aggression and a false reality.
Society has evolved drastically within the last 50 years due to new and ever developing technology. Video games, which were developed in the late 1980’s early 1990’s, are a product of the new life changing technology. Video games, or to be more specific violent video games have been most popular among children and young adults. Parents do not tend to see the consequences that evolve around violent video games; especially kids who play more then ten hours a weeks worth of these games. Only recently has the videogame technology progressed and became more engaging using life like simulations of violence, igniting aggressive behavior in young adult and may in fact desensitize them to violence. Although, some may believe that violent video games do not contribute to any of these factors; research shows that violent games have a profound effect on aggressive behavior in children and young adults coupled with the factors of parenting style, lifestyle, and stages of brain development.
Violent video games can lead to aggressive and violent behavior in children and adolescents. “Violent media increase aggression by teaching observers how to aggress, by priming aggressive cognition (including previously learned aggressive scripts and aggressive perceptual schemata), by increasing arousal, or by creating an aggressive state” (Anderson and Bushman 355). As more children are becoming exposed violence in video games in the recent years, violence in schools and other locations where children are prominent has increased. “A national crime victimization survey compiled and maintained by the United States Department of Justice, shows that overall crime rates in United States society have fallen. Simultaneously, school- based studies reveal that many violent behaviors have increased among children and adolescents” (“Causes of School Violence” 1). Exposure to violence in video games can lead to aggressive behavior, desensitization, and an increase in crimes committed by children and teens in our society.
Violent video games are becoming more popular among children and adolescents of all ages since its debut approximately 30 years ago. This growing popularity is generating an increasing concern that these sometimes very graphic videos and life like characters can have a negative influence on the younger generation. Although never proven, there has been speculation that some of the high school shootings across the country were committed by students who were habitual players of violent video games. Due to these concerns, a non-profit, self-regulatory organization was established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to appropriately rate all video games from EC (early childhood), E (everyone), E10+ (everyone 10 and over), T (teen), M (mature), and AO (adults only). While assessing the efficacy of violent video game ratings, it is unknown how effective these ratings are for the intended audience (Becker-Olsen & Norberg, 2010).
In today’s society, children are exposed to technology early on in their lives. Many young children engage in video games as early as 5 years old. This exposure to technology has been blaming for leaving impressions in individuals, causing them to develop behaviors that aren’t norms in certain communities. In an age where every common person has either a laptop, a smart phone, or a tablet, the ability to gain access to video games has been made much easier. Video games have become a much more common occurrence in today’s youths. Does this increase in usage of video games necessarily have an effect on behaviors of individuals? Possibly, but not enough to warrant labeling video games as the sole cause of violence in people. In this paper, I will be looking at questions regarding video games and their violence-depicting nature. Do video games specifically influence behavioral development, like violence, in people? Why is the demographic of violent outbursts caused by video games predominantly focused on male, teenage Caucasians? Why are video games being portrayed in a more negative light when compared to other media mediums? These are all questions that I will be looking to answer in the paper.
Recently though, due to horrific school shootings and record sales of violent video games such as the Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty series, video games as a whole have been put under a microscope. The question now is: Are violent video games really such a significant factor when it comes to youth violence? The current research and information points to no. Although some research reveals that violent video games may cause temporary aggression, there has been no evidence that it causes violent crimes such as assault or murder. Christopher Ferguson, an associate professor at Stetson University and researcher into the effect media has on young children wrote an article titles“ Video Games: The Latest Scapegoat for Violence”. In his article, he states:
With Video Games becoming a staple on the world household front, the amount of social impact they have is widespread. “Video games have became a billion dollar industry in North America, with revenues topping almost $20 billion in the United States in 2009 alone” (Bowen, H. J.,). In many different Video Games, violence plays a key role in their overall theme .Violent Video Games (VVG) exposure has been shown to increase aggressive tendencies according to Anderson & Bushman, (2001) but only for short periods of time, 15 minutes or less in a study done by (Sestir & Bushman, 2010). In a study conducted by (Greitemeyer and Osswald (2006) they found no significant effects VVG's have on our society positive or negative. They did however, find that video games can have positive effects on behavior, if the games have pro-social content.
Video game violence has been a controversial subject for many years. Even the most simple, classic video games have had this topic pop up, dating back to the 1980’s, games like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong. But more especially in modern video games, such as the Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto series. Many investigations attempt to analyze the idea that video games are making people more prone to violence, and even point to violence related events, some of said research information may be faulty. Within these investigations there will be evidence and proof for both parties and analyzing if they may or may not be valid, and considering the people behind the statistics and their claims.
The article says that a child's brain can be affected by repeatedly playing certain video games, just like a body can be affected by repeatedly eating certain kinds of food. Furthermore, Doyle says that parental supervision does not seem to affect the association. The study includes talking to children from ages eight to seventeen about how much time they spend playing video games, how much violence is in the video games, and is then followed by asking them questions such as if they would hit another person when provoked, or if it was a morally sound thing to do. The relationship between violence and video games appears to be universal among all types of people.
Violent video games are not training kids to be murderers. The video game industries have been called against and blamed for making kids more aggressive and violent for years. Although recent studies show that violent video games have been useful for kids to get their anger out. Only some kids were found to be aggressive after violent video game play, but they had three specific traits that lead to this aggressive behavior (“Violent...). Not all kids are affected by violent video games, but people do not know this so they continue to blame video games for their kids bad behaviors. Aggressive behaviors do not come from video games, they come from the environment that the kids grew up around (“Do…).