Despite the accusations from the media, video game violence does not lead to aggressive behavior in the teens of today. The youth with pre-existing conditions show no increase in aggression as well as the healthy teens in the results from Journal of Youth and Adolescence (Springer). The Journal of Youth and Adolescence disproves what the media believes the games actually cause. There are specifically 33 independent tests that researched the effects of aggression and the relation of violence in video games. The group tested 3,033 volunteers for increased aggression, but the tests came back with a significantly positive effect of these violent games (Weller 5). With the effect of causing it's players to have their aggression lowered and calming them greatly, it is a big blow to the media's point of view of these games. Sadly, there are a few teens who commit mass murders and violent video games seem like an easy target to blame as to the motivation behind their actions. Those teens are not healthy, they have a psychological problem that messes with their head and makes them think differently about the world and where they belong (Twemlow 41).
While surfing Facebook, I came across a post blaming video games entirely for the Columbine Shooting. This sparked a whole debate on whether or not this was true. This sparked some interest in me so I began looking into it. While digging deeper into this topic I came across three different topics to focus on. First, separating fact from fiction pertaining to video game violence. Second, comparing all types of entertainment to see which has the biggest impact on youth violence. Finally, what parents can do to make sure their children doesn’t go down this path. With this topic, hopeful I can shed some light on what exactly is the cause of child aggression, and how to prevent it in the future. Video game violence may influence violent behavior, but is not the main reason for violence in youth.
Ever wonder why children and teens seem to be more aggressive and violent? Violence has gone up because of violent video games. The games children play these days are rated higher than what their age group are suppose to play. “In this study, children who played video games often with older siblings were twice as likely as other children to play mature-rated games (Considered suitable for ages 17 and older)” (Violent). Children are acting violent due to the games they play.
Parents and other adults have begun to become more concerned about violent video games due to the increased reality in the games. However, society may not realize how children and teens are affected by these games. In modern times, children and young adults are affected by violent games in a negative way by causing changes in their behavior. The average American child watches 28 hours of television a week and by the age of eighteen will have seen 16,000 murders and 200,000 violent acts (Gallagher). People who defend violent games like to point out that playing the games does not mean all players will go out and commit acts of violence, and that millions of people who play do not demonstrate violent behavior(Hicks). Although that is true, the games that are the most popular happen to show the most violence.
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.
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.
One of the fastest growing sectors in the United States economy, with sales over six billion dollars in 2012 is the video gaming industry ("Games: Improving the Economy’). Technical innovation has given the video industry power to create exciting realistic worlds, turning video games into the vast entertainment business that it is today. Setting sales records, Violent Video Games (VVG) are now a common staple in many households. One of the most argued topics in media studies, investigation on the impact violence has on society from mass media continues to rage on. Parents look to the media for reliable studies to confirm or distinguish the effects VVG has on children. Even more menacing than violence on television or in movie theaters, VVG have created enticing graphic worlds created to slaughter fellow players. Modern video games allow players to take an active role within the game. Enticing players to engage in realistic assault scenes that are meant to be entertaining. Worthy playing is then rewarded with: trophies, bonus points and extra lives.
As technology advances, new and creative forms of entertainment immerge from these advancements. One form that has grown immensely in popularity over the past dozen years has been video games. Taking form nearly four decades ago, video games have been one of the major embodiments of the growth of entertainment technology. Today, video games have taken many shapes, from the general PC and console games to special applications that can be found on social networks and even millions of cell phones around the world.
The allegation that videogames cause violent behavior in children has been present as long as videogames themselves. Some researchers said that the Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, was one intense gamer. “Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech Shooter was seen by his roomates as odd because he never joined them in video games.”(Beresin) This debate will continue to go on in this country as long as there are horrific crimes that occur. There is much written in the research regarding this issue, and many differing views. The research that is presented in the next few paragraphs supports the theory that it is not the graphic video games that produce aggressive behavior, but other factors in a child’s life that create violent actions.
Children that play violent video games at such a young age will have a bad effect on them. “Not everybody who plays these games will become murderers, just as not everybody who smoke gets cancer” (Quittner, J). Every day people play with these games will have an effect on the way they look at things, they will begin to have aggressive thoughts, and they will begin to have a change in behavior. On average boys spend thirteen hours per week and girls spend five hours on video games. This amount of time a week will have a major effect of these children minds. “Violent video games effect people. They increase aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, and physical arousal symptoms.”(Rollins 1)