Sunday, September 13, 2015

Violent video games can alter children’s personality and in fact lead to violent/aggressive behavior

video-games-kids-140324With the advancements in technology, various forms of entertainment were produced, one of the most popular one amongst all ages is video gaming. About 90 percent of U.S. kids ages 8 to 16 play video games, and they spend about 13 hours a week doing so (more if you’re a boy). 

Various studies suggest that young kids that play violent video games tend to display an increase in more aggressive behavior in real life.

Violent video games can alter children’s personality, whether it is short-term or not, the violence portrayed in video games can immensely effect children, especially at an early age when trying to find their place in the world. 

Children absorb much of the information they are exposed to when they are young, one can even say their brain is like a sponge. According to this fact, violent video games can have an influence on the way young children think and act after being exposed to them. People believe that these types of games don’t have an influence on them, perhaps they are correct, but only if they are discussing the influence on older video gamers, as their morality to tell what is right from wrong is stronger. The difference in children is that they are still learning the difference between that.

COD child
We have the tendency to mimic things when we are young, so why are we not to believe that playing violent video games won’t cause the players to act out what they have played and seen. Children are more likely to imitate the actions of a character with whom they identify. In violent video games, players participate as a character, and even choose which weapons they’ll use while fighting other characters. A popular violent (shooting) video game is the series known as Call of Duty. In this game people play in a first person shooter setting and must kill the enemy team, by the means of guns, grenades, and stabbing. Blood and offensive language is common in this type of game, and with the children exposed to this, they can learn offensive vocabulary and may even enjoy shooting just to see blood and it is an outlet to release aggression. 

Taking away a video game, especially to young child who could possibly be addicted to it, takes away that outlet which could adversely affect them in real life scenarios. Even without taking the games away, the way they act online with language and aggression can be transversed into their everyday activities, with more aggressive thought patterning and outbursts of aggression or defiance with other students and teachers. For example, I have seen my cousins do this at the park and sometimes eventually start hitting each other, because the other person was accused to have been “dead”.

Call of DutyWhen I was in high school I took part in playing games from the Call of Duty series and found them to be quite fun but looking back on it, I could see the adverse effects it had on me as well. It is easy to become addicted to these games because of the interactivity, but also the simplicity of just pointing a gun and shooting at an enemy. The frightening part of this lies in the fact, that because the objective of the game is to kill the enemy team until you win. This brings about competitiveness, frustration, and an ignorance of the violence truly associated with just “pointing a gun and firing.” Losing can be frustrating to a player, when they think that they are relatively good at the game, especially as a new player against others who have had more experience and can beat you easier. This is where the aggression beings to build without even seeing that, the player becomes more and more angry every time they do not meet their own expectations. Winning can also prove to be violent. 

The games promote the killing of foreigners in campaign modes specifically terrorists domestic and foreign. Which brings up an issue of possible racism in children who have never been exposed to such ideas. As a child people are just people they are no more different to children than a granny smith apple is from a red delicious, just a different color. Exposing them to scenarios where they must hunt down people of specific races and ethnicities can affect them in real life, because seeing those same people can cause aversion subconsciously. Such patterns in thinking can cause social stigmas and anti-sociality among children. With racism still a relevant problem in modern society, including in game that is easily accessible to all races, makes it difficult to achieve intervention to stop racism in the future. Kids will believe many things they see on the internet and television, which is why controlling what they are exposed to, must be maintained, because as many people know, everything you read or see on the internet, video games, or anywhere else, is not always true.

One problem lies in the accessibility of these violent games. There is a rating system much like the ones used for movies depending on violence, nudity, profanity, gore, etc. Call of Duty games along with other games are considered Mature games meaning no one under the age of 18 can buy them, but that does not mean that people under the age of 18 can’t have access to them. There are torrent websites that people can use to download much of the game onto blank cd’s for offline play and many children have older friends, siblings, and even parents that can get them the game. 

Some parents do not believe in the effects that video games can have on their children and can even buy the games for them because they do not think they are harmful to their children. One thing to think about is the fact that Baby Boomers, those of the generation from the 80’s, were never exposed to video games with such complexity. Pac-Man and arcade games were low budget versions of modern day video games. Comparing the two is impossible but for a parent who grew up without the experience of what these games are actually like, they are actually enabling their children to have a proclivity to violence. What parents should do is pay close attention to their child’s media habits, and substitute games with violent content for those with pro-social content (such as those that involve cooperation), which have been suggested to boost pro-social behavior in the real world.

Before explaining further analyzing the opposite side of this argument, is necessary to further prove the point I am trying to achieve. Researchers surveyed 371 media psychologists and communication scientists from three different organizations, in addition to 268 parents from across America and 92 members of the Council on Communication and Media from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Sixty-six percent of researchers, 67 percent of parents, and 90 percent of pediatrics all agreed violent video games lead to an increase in aggressive behavior among children. With that being stated, a large group of leading experts have all come to the same conclusion, and this should alarm our society that violent video games can in fact, have violent influences to our young. 

There are studies that prove both sides often contradicting each other and proving new ground for both sides of the argument. One thing that separates the two is not the violence that may occur from a child exposed to violent video games, but the effects it has on the way the child thinks. For example, a child may stub their toe when walking through a door an entirely meaningless accident that can be easily over passed. But once exposed to the violence in the games the thoughts that change pertain directly to the child. What was once a meaningless act, a small injury, becomes a full blown assault on oneself. The child thinks that of course it must have happened to him or her, because this always happens to him or her. This stems from scenarios in game where that the player may be the only one on his team doing poorly and assumes it must be because the other team is going for him or her solely. It is not that they assume they do not have enough experience or skill, but that they are being singled out. This is a dangerous rationality and processing.

Another danger lies in the fact that it causes the child to internally break down their own psyche. They begin to assume the universe is suddenly against them which poses many problems. Of course this is not true for all children and players but the ones it does affect can be silently in pain. This is shown in the modern world everyday such as Robin Williams. While of course his death had nothing to do with video games, his attitude can be used as a reference point. He is a comedian and actor and spent his whole life making other people laugh and was truly successful. But his overdose and consequent death showed that he was actually depressed and internalizing pain that others could not see because of his personality. The same can be used to loosely describe the effects the video games can have on the children. The internalization of all that emotion can truly hurt the child psychologically when they have all this pent up anger and frustration and the video game then becomes the only crutch they have to release these emotions. This is just one game that been described and was chosen because it sells millions of copies each time a new game is released. 

violent video gamesThere are countless games that portray blood, shooting, stealing, etc. An adult may not be influenced by these types of games, but children have been proven with studies, to show aggressive and violent behaviors. Although, parents have the right to raise their kids how they want, they should always monitor the games they play and what they watch. Parents should not encourage or buy these types of games for their children. Violent video games can alter children’s personalities, and that is a proven fact. The violence portrayed in video games can immensely effect children, especially at a young age, when everything they see, they absorb into their brain.

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Ron said...

We often hear about negative effects of violent games on children but what about games without violence? let's say cooking Papa's Games (restaurant management and cooking browser game series), I mean these games are as harmless as it gets, actually there's plenty of games that do not include any violence, zombies and crazy stuff. what effect do these games have on children?

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