Thursday, February 11, 2010

Video Games and Violence Con


Video Games Cause Violence-Con

                This long fought over controversy over whether or not video games influence violence can be defended by statistics and facts for both sides of the issue. The cons of video games and violence are as listed .

           1. Over-dependence on video games could lead to social isolation, because kids often play alone.

           2.  Practicing violent acts may lead to aggressive behavior over watching TV.

           3. Women are often portrayed as weaker characters that are helpless or sexually provocative.

            4. Game environments are often based on plots of violence, aggression, and gender bias.    

           5. Many games only offer an arena of weapons, killings, kicking, stabbing, and shooting.  

           6. More often games do not offer action that requires independent thought or creativity. 

           7. Games can confuse reality and fantasy. 

           8. In many violent games, players must become more violent to win.

           9. Academic achievements may be negatively related to over-all time spent playing video games.

               Some of the effects of video games are: 1. they involve a constant hurting and/or killing of others. 2. There is no punishment for killing. 3. The more you kill the more you are rewarded. 4. The killing was almost always seen as justified.  All these things seem to lead to the fact that killing is an acceptable method of solving problems (he hurt someone I love, so I'm going to go over to his house and kill him), or that violence is okay. Similar to constantly being exposed to television violence, video game can also lead to a desensitization of violence. The exposure to violence in video games can also lower a child's feelings towards others or to a point where they begin to see other people as objects rather than real people.  Kids being constantly exposed to this kind of violence in video games can lead to being aggressive later.

              Older players know the difference between reality and fantasy. They know the differences between right and wrong. They are aware that the violence being shown in video games is not real. So you would expect that violent video games would not affect them. However, violent games do affect older audiences. In kids, violence in video games caused an increase in aggression, but for older audiences the aggression was showed in different ways. Kids expressed their aggression in behavior or physical play. College students expressed their aggression through increased hostility on a test or heart rate.

                A common effect that video games have among its players is that it develops high adrenaline rates that can lead to hyper-aggressiveness as well as symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Frequent playing of these games that increases your adrenaline can lead to stimulus addiction. Stimulus addiction is a common response among children immersed in violent games. People suffering from stimulus addiction need stronger and stronger stimulation to read the same emotional experience, sometimes leading to a search for more violence games.

                This leads to the question: "Does violence in video games lead to violence in the real world?" Many parents worry that violent games not only cause rude behaviors in their children, but if it will cause violent behavior in them as well. Research done in 1998 has found that in a group of 5 to 7 year old, children imitated during free play what they had been just exposed to on video games. The children who played active but non-violent games showed that in their play, while children who played games with violent themes showed more aggression. This resembles the "monkey see, monkey do" behavior that most kids do. Females tended to be more stimulated than males. This is probably due to the fact that males tend to be more exposed to violence in general, making an increase in aggression more in females. A Stanford University study found that when third and fourth graders television and video game consumption were reduced to less than seven hours per week for 20 weeks, their verbal aggression decreased by 50% and their physical aggression decreased by 40%. There are many cases that show how players of violent video games exhibit increases in aggression, especially in younger audiences. However, there are very few cases showing how playing violent video games leads or was the cause of violent behavior. The most compelling argument condoning violence in video games comes from Lt Col. David Grossman. Grossman spent over 25 years learning and studying how to enable soldiers to kill and used video games as a tool to enable soldiers to kill. He states that "Children don't naturally kill; they learn it from violence in the home and, most pervasively, from violence as entertainment in television, movies, and interactive video games. We are teaching children to associate pleasure with human death and suffering. We are rewarding them for killing people. And we are teaching them to like it."

                Those against violence in video and computer games say that they would like to see them censored. However, censorship of video games can't be done due to the First Amendment. It is though illegal to distribute obscene or offensive video games to children, including video games harmful to minors.

               People have been talking about the ESRB system as well. The National Institute on Media and the Family decided to figure out how accurate the ESRB ratings were. The panel discovered that based on violent and sexual content, 32% of the games rated E (Everyone) were either questionable or inappropriate for 3-7 year olds, and that 57% of the T (Teen) rated games were deemed questionable or inappropriate for 12-17 year olds. So in conclusion, it would seem that it would better for the parents themselves to determine if the game is appropriate for their child and not solely purchase a violent game based on the ESRB rating. The other rating system is the Recreational Software Advisory Council system (RSAC). The RSAC is similar to the ESRB except that it rates computer games instead of consoles games. Nintendo and Sega have their own rating systems. So all rating systems are different and can be viewed differently.

                    A statistic fact has been recorded that the typical American child watches 28 hours of television a week and by the age of 18 will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence.  To prove that statistic, the following cons of violence leads to video games have been argued from critics and researchers all over the world:

            1. Increasing reports of bullying can be partially attributed to the popularity of violent video games. The 2008 study Grand Theft Childhood reported that 60% of middle school boys who played at least one Mature-rated game hit or beat up someone, compared to 39% of boys that did not play Mature-rated games.

            2. Video games often reward players for simulating violence, and thus enhance the learning of violent behaviors. Studies suggest that when violence is rewarded in video games, player's exhibit increased aggressive behavior compared to players of video games where violence is punished.

           3. Violent video games desensitize players to real-life violence. It is common for victims in video games to disappear off screen when they are killed or for players to have multiple lives. In a 2005 study, violent video game exposure has been linked to reduced P300 amplitudes in the brain, which is associated with desensitization to violence and increases in aggressive behavior.

          4. A 2000 FBI report includes playing violent video games in a list of behaviors associated with school shootings.

          5. Violent video games teach youth that violence is an acceptable conflict-solving strategy and an appropriate way to achieve one's goals. A 2009 study found that youth who play violent video games have lower belief in the use of nonviolent strategies and are less forgiving than players of nonviolent video games.

          6. Violent video games cause players to associate pleasure and happiness with the ability to cause pain in others.

          7. Young children are more likely to confuse fantasy violence with real world violence, and without a framework for decision making, they may repeat the actions they see in violent video games.

          8. Violent video games require active participation, repetition, and identification with the violent character. With new game controllers allowing more physical interaction, the immersive and interactive characteristics of video games can increase the likelihood of youth violence.

           9. Playing violent video games increases aggressive behavior and arousal. A 2009 study found that it takes up to four minutes for the level of aggressive thoughts and feelings in children to return to normal after playing violent video games. It takes five to ten minutes for heart rate and aggressive behavior to return to baseline. Video games that show the most blood generate more aggressive thoughts. When blood is present in video games, there is a measurable increase in arousal and hostility.

          10.Playing violent video games cause the development of aggressive behavioral scripts. A behavioral script is developed from the repetition of actions and affects the subconscious mind. An example of a common behavioral script is a driving script that tells drivers to get in a vehicle, put on a seat belt, and turn on the ignition. Similarly, violent video games can lead to scripts that tell youth to respond aggressively in certain situations. Violence in video games may lead to real world violence when scripts are automatically triggered in daily life, such as being nudged in a school hallway.

           11. A 1998 study found that 21% of games sampled involved violence against women. Exposure to sexual violence in video games is linked to increases in violence towards women and false attitudes about rape such as that women incite men to rape or that women secretly desire rape.

            12. Violent video games can train youth to be killers. The US Marine Corps licensed Doom II in 1996 to create Marine Doom in order to train soldiers. In 2002, the US Army released first-person shooter America's Army to recruit soldiers and prepare recruits for the battlefield.

              It is obvious to observe the harmful affects that can be caused by video games. There are always two sides to an argument, and somtimes the negatives can outweigh the positives in certain situations. So out of all the negatives presented in this case,they show the outcome that killing is an acceptable method of solving problems, or that violence is okay, when in reality it is not. Hopefully everyone can now realize the other side of the argument that is being portrayed as no big deal, is in reality a very big deal.


Works Cited

Cesarone, Bernard. "Video Games and Children." Video Game Use. Kid Source, 20 Apr. 2000. Web. 3 Feb. 2010.


Holmes, Leonard. "Violent Video Games Produce Violent Behavior." Mental Health., 9 Nov. 2005. Web. 3 Feb. 2010.


Kalning, Kristin. "Does game violence make teens aggressive?" Technology and Science. MSNBC, 8 Dec. 2006. Web. 3 Feb. 2010.


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