violence in video games
Video games have become a popular entity in the contemporary technological age especially among children. With the video game industry becoming a multi-billion dollar business, many adolescents today on average spend an average of 2 hours behind the screen every day. Violent video games have however come into sharp focus as scholars have tried to link violent games to behavioral changes among children. While it is debatable whether video games predictably cause violent behavior in every child, studies have continually showed a positive correlation between violent games and aggressive behavior among children. This paper seeks to explore the positive link between aggressive behavior in children and violent video games. Further, this paper has highlighted the possible connection between school shootings and violent video games.
Recently, parents have become very concerned about the fact that their children are spending too much time and energy on video games. The video games have come with numerous negative perceptions among parents, who link the video games to decreased productivity in school, sight damage among other issues. However, of paramount concern has been the change in behavior among video game users. Staying hooked to the screen playing video games the whole day affects the psychosocial health in children. This is because video games encourage antisocial behavior among the users. Possibly, the thrill that comes with video games allows the users to create their world of thoughts in trying to simulate the characters of the game. When young people are exposed to video games, they tend to form a shell in which they only relate to characters of the games that they play.
Since social behavior is acquired through learning, failure of such children to interact with others in the real world causes them to have poor social skills such as communication and forging social relations. A lot of research has been done on the psychological effects of video gaming on children. People that play video games tend to identify more with the games rather than real life. Because the mind develops depending on what we feed it, too much exposure to such games conditions the mind to think in line with the programs in video games. The brains of young people are often in a fragile developmental state that is easily influenced by the environment they are exposed to. Unlike adults who can easily distinguish between things that are real versus those that are supposed to remain virtual, the brain of young people tends to be conditioned to blend both the things in the virtual world and the real world. This is drawn from the fact that the brain of children lacks the filtering power since it is developing in the background of new information. Predictably, children are more likely to act in a way that simulates the environment created in the video games.
Aggressive behavior tends to be drawn from the events that children are exposed to. If a child spends much of their time killing as many people in a video game, it is likely that they will culture a violent attitude in them since the violence in video games makes them numb to violence. They will more likely imitate the violence in the video games due to the conditioning nature of these events. Arguably, the repetitive nature of video games works to reinforce the learning patterns of violence in children. In most violent games, the missions are often repeated, and the users do the missions over and over again. Gentile and Anderson (2003) have explored the possible link between the repetitive nature of violent games and cementing of the violent attitudes among children (Gentile and Anderson, 2003).
The media has often been the center of controversy regarding its impact on the society, particularly among children. In the contemporary world, many people argue that the media is undoubtedly the main source of information. Importantly, however, its primary target is not children. Children have been regarded as too young to comprehend the events displayed in the media without the relevant guidance of a parent or guardian. Parents are charged with the responsibility of putting the media information into the context of the very young children that have little grasp of such information. Significantly, children are the most impacted by the media content that displays every day on television screens. Arguably, children often believe almost everything that they come across in the media. There is constantly a very thin line between fact and fiction making it difficult to distinguish at this tender age. Importantly, conceptual differences, such as dying and murder, sex and rape, become difficult to differentiate. Interestingly, it is such content that dominates the media.
Exposure to violence in the media at a very tender age is likely to have a predictable negative impact on children. When children are accustomed to watching violent scenes the media, their minds integrate the violence into practice. It is not uncommon to see children attempt the scenes of violent movies in real life. A few children have been injured in a bid to practice the fictitious scenes they have watched on television. Constant exposure to violent images and crimes in the media creates tolerance in the minds of children. Children that are more exposed to violence show greater participation in active violent activities. Since behavior is a complex interaction between nature versus nurture, the interplay between the two in an environment filled with violence makes the violent part more pronounced.
Much crime has been linked to video games in the recent past. School shootings have especially aroused the interest of many psychologists and policy makers over the possible link between violent games and aggressive and potentially fatal shootings among minors. More than a decade ago, Evan Ramsey a student at Alaska high school sneaked a high caliber gun into the school premises where he fatally shot the principal and a few of his colleagues. Following this tragic incident, Evans went ahead to highlight how the violent video games he had been playing had entirely wiped away his fundamental sense of reality. Perhaps a perfect example of how video games instigate violence Ramsey’s crime was followed by numerous other such events. Video games have come to be considered as an excellent teaching tool for violence among its users.
Many video games have heavily invested in violent missions in order to attract the interest of the users. From a psychological point of view, it is this that has created the numerous aggressive incidents among children and the youth. Investing too much time in engaging in violent gaming positively provoke young people to act in a manner that is considered violent. The ruthless nature of killings that is found in video games tends to condition the subconscious of children making them more violent. Teenagers exposed to such events tend to act in a violent manner in the case they are exposed to the same incidents in the real world. Scholars have argued that video games transform the concept of violence. Children that become addicted to video games come to consider violence as being fun. Subsequently, they will most likely act in a violent manner in a bid to seek amusement in the real world. The results are always devastating since video game users are more likely to employ the ruthless violence they are accustomed. Violence and video games have been studied in man perspective. It is common to see one throw down the remote after losing a game. The emotional aspect filled with intense anger and frustrations is predictable. This has been the basis of the research into how video game users are cultured to act in a violent manner.
In conclusion, video games have become the focus of numerous scholars due to their negative impact on the behavior of children. Besides causing antisocial behavior and various other problems, violent video games have been predicted to cause aggressive behavior in children due to the learning method employed by the repetitive nature of such creation. Of primary focus has been the correlation between school shootings and the play of violent video games. Perhaps this has highlighted the serious nature of the correlation between violent missions in video games and violence in real life. The fatal shooting is American schools has acted as a model on which the link between violent games and aggression has been studied.
Gentile, D. A., & Anderson, C. A. (2003). Violent video games: The newest media violence
hazard. Media violence and children, 131-152.