The Effects of Violent Video Games

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“It was as if all that exposure to computerized violence gave them an idea to go on a rampage – or at least fueled their urges. But did it really?” asked Benedict Carey from New York Times. Carey refers to the Columbine High School shooting; two high school seniors shot students at random, thought to be under the influence of violent video games such as Doom and Grand Theft Auto. Psychologists today argue whether it is violent video games that cause players to act and think aggressively. Other effects are thought to stem from playing violent video games such as: profanity, racist stereotypes, sexual exploitation of women, and criminal behavior. These are obviously portrayed in popular video games today and this content can bring behavior problems to whoever consistently plays them. “It’s the same with video games – you practice being vigilant for enemies, practice thinking that it’s acceptable to respond aggressively to provocation, and practice becoming desensitized to the consequences of violence” states Iowa State psychologist Douglas Gentile. He explains that someone who plays excessive amounts of violent video games is more likely to retain violence as a normal behavior and is more prone to act aggressively for the rest of life. Often in video games, the player is rewarded for having the largest amount of kills or breaking the law; receiving those extra points after “leading the scoreboard in kills” can teach players that this violent behavior is acceptable. When the player does not earn extra points, he or she begins to feel frustrated with the game and can physically abuse objects or use profanity. Family professor Dr. Sarah Coyne states “when youth both hear and try profanity for themselves it can start a downward slide ... ... middle of paper ... ...ards women off screen. Massacres like the Columbine High School shooting and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have been thought to share a tie with violent video games. Studies on juvenile prisoners conducted by Iowa State University explained that the prisoners who played the highest frequency of violent video games committed various violent behaviors; however, violent video games have not been directly linked to criminal behavior. Video game addiction has been a leading cause in anti-socialism, acts of aggression, and desensitization – these symptoms are what are thought to be a helping cause of violent behavior. These traits are generally possessed by psychopathic and sociopathic people – having these traits do not cause a player to become a psychopath but spawn scientists and psychologists to wonder if video games are the source of criminal behavior.
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