Violence and Video Games
The latest debate that is long standing in country today is the big debate does or is video games harmful to our children. Do they allow our children to become harmful to their selves or others, there have been studies internationally looking at the ages from nine to nineteen from 2010 to 2017, over 17,000 adolescents found playing video games led to increased physical behavior over time.
There were 24 studies done from countries including U.S., Canada, Germany and Japan found that those who played violent games such as “Grand Theft Auto, ” Call of Duty exhibited behavior of fighting being disrespectful and trouble at school. “Although no single research project is definitive, our research aims to provide the most current and compelling responses to key criticisms on this topic, “said Jay Hull. Hull believes that playing violent video games is in association with physical aggression.
Video game violence has been a hot topic for more than a decade, Interest in this topic spiked when it came to light that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two young men that committed the fatal shootings at Columbine High School. It was led to believe that these two young men had been playing the game “Doom. A very violent and aggressive game that teaches people how to shoot and kill people.
In 2011, the Supreme Court overturned a California’s ban on the sales of violent video games to minors. In some studies it was not proven that these games actually made someone violent or aggressive or to criminal behavior. In 2015 the American Psychological Association reported that there was a link between violent video games and increased aggression in one who played violent games, but did not have enough evidence that showed that these games lead to criminal violence.
President Donald Trump convened a video game summit in February shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fl. Trump stated “I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts. “Greater realism leads to greater immersion: greater immersion leads to greater effects. One of those effects can be increased aggression(Wake Forest University).
In the context of video games, there is a broad definition of what exactly is a violent video game. Kenneth Lachlan et al. defined video game violence for his research as anything that involves harming people or objects, and includes eating people as violence. Another definition of a violent video game “in which intentional harm is done to a character motivated to avoid harm (Violent Behavior).
The video games are becoming more and more accessible and popular as a form as entertainment to young and old by ways of games, internet access and even on a cell phone. Lachlan et al. stated that ” nearly three fourths of all families surveyed have at least one video game console, and one third of all children in this age group have a game system in their room. So with that being said that will children that have a game in their room have at least one violent video game that is played.
As the technology advances, there are more improvements in entertainment and video games are one of them. Young people are likely to spend a lot of their time playing video games and this could have a lot of impact on their behaviour as well as on their minds. Video games are engaging and also very interesting and no wonder many people are fascinated by them. There are however many studies that have been undertaken to find out how video games affect the behaviour and the minds of young people and their findings have been contradictory in nature. As contradictory as these findings are, there are certain truths to them and it is important that players understand and where possible adjust their activities and even reduce the time spent playing these video games.
Some research carried out suggests that young people who play video games that are violent in nature could develop violent behaviours themselves. The young people tend to have an increased aggressive behaviour which could be as a result of playing the games and there is a physiological supporting explanation for this which is the changes that occur in the brain function which is related to aggressive behaviour. The amount of duration that the change in brain function has not been determined but it diminishes with time depending on how often the young people play games again (Gentile, 101).
Playing video games increases the activity in the brain’s emotional parts depending on what the game is based on. There is likelihood that the concentration levels and attention declines the more one plays video games and in most cases after a week of playing the game. The reason behind this is the decrease in activity that takes place in the part of the brain which regulates the concentration levels as attention. Changes in the brain are not permanent but there is some changes for a period time and more studies could be conducted based on this to have a better understanding of effects of video games on players.
After testing video game habits of 607 teenagers who have an average age of 14 years, 430 elementary school children who have an average age of 10 years, and 1440 older teenagers who have an average age of 19 years as well as their aggressive cognitions and behaviors , there has been a conclusion that suggests that players who play more than one violent video game are more likely to think and act aggressively than those who play fewer games. Playing of videogames will impact the function of the mindwhich the contrast sensitivity that is an essential function when it comes to health of one’s vision (Anderson, 128).
According to some studies carried out, there is a suggestion that playing video games is likely to improve the sight and even enhance it. This finding contradicts the existing statements that playing video games has a great effect on sight in a negative way usually leading to poor eye sight which in turn affects some of the functions of the mind. Certain types of video games for example those that are centered on protecting and helping others promote behavior that is pro-social depending on the age group where the player falls. This is helpful and positive effect of playing video games.
Video games have different natures, for example violent video games. These video games have a disturbing effect and because of this it is very unreal and very different from what happens in real life. It is for this reason that it is very unlikely that the players could pick up after what they see and put it into practice in real life. There is not interactivity which in turn deems the games as less harmful on the players and their behavior is not affected or influenced by the games. It is possible however that playing such games could lead to the young people developing some precursors to violence (Li, 50).
After spending so much time staring at the screens when playing video games, it is likely that one can develop some physical changes in the mind that in turn will affect the behavior of an individual. This could happen because it is the nature of technology to play on the senses in a strong way. For instance, playing video games is overwhelming and can feel great and blows one’s mind away. This is a result of the temporary or in some cases permanent deactivation of some of the brain’s nerve connections. The human mind has evolved and continues to do so and it has the ability to adapt to an environment that it is subjected to.
This therefore leads to a conclusion that the environment of playing video games will change the brains adaptability to that situation and there will be an impact on the mind as a result. When the young people play the games, they are excluded from other things. This creates a new environment for the mind to function and this has its own effects and in the long run the effects are on the mind and on the behavior that the young ones will display.
One thing that happens with screen technologies and video games is one of them; it creates a very high arousal in the mind that activates the brain system that controls addiction. The end result is the feeling to play more and more games and engage in more and more screen-based activity. Playing video games could cause reckless behavior in children and as earlier stated could lead to a change in attention and could shorten the span of a player’s attention. Many studies have been carried out and have had findings that suggest playing video games has an effect on one’s mind and more studies continue to be carried out even more so now with the technology advancements. One study has even suggested that video games players who are addicted could have their brain structures in the inner brain rewiring and this could cause grey matter in the brain to shrink.
Video games stimulate the brains functions that have the responsibility for vision and also movement. For this reason, the other parts of the mind which are responsible for learning, behavior and emotions could face a problem of being underdeveloped. There are however other studies that suggest that certain games are of great benefit and assist the brain in various ways. Some of these ways are such as boosting a young player’s intelligence, treatment of post-traumatic disorders and also development of memory.
In some research that has been carried out by other researchers, the findings have brought about findings that are controversial and which are more positive in their nature than those of their counterparts. According to this research, playing video games has a calming effect on youths and this calmness has helped to reduce bullying and aggressiveness behavior in youths. The reduced aggressiveness and reduced bullying behavior arise from the deficit in attention symptoms. A study carried out on 377 youths in the United States focusing on children from different ethnic backgrounds and who had been found to have attention deficit problems that were clinically elevated as well as symptoms of being depressed, were found to have reduced behavior attention deficit problems after playing video games (Rosser, 97).
One point about video games is that they change the mind. The mind undergoes a work out when one is playing video games. This in turn will help the young mind to acquire skills that are necessary and that are very difficult to acquire in school. The skills affect the player’s behavior in a way that is positive. One can improve their behavior when following instructions and even improve on problem solving and logic. Some other benefits that will impact the behavior of the young player and the mind too are acquiring hand and eye coordination and spatial skills beneficial for the brain and for real life, being able to plan and manage resources as well as logistics, multitasking for instance when playing games, one has to track many variables that are shifting and they also need to be managed and controlled at the same time and also there is the ability to think quickly and make and analyze decisions faster.
While some studies have shown that youth who watch video games and mostly violent video games others have stated that these societal violence behaviors which include bullying, engaging in physical fights and assaults are curbed when youth spend their time playing games as they have their thoughts and mind immersed into the act of playing the video games. As per the research carried out by a different group of researchers, there were no findings that support that when youths play violent video games they will in turn to be violent or have violent behavior towards others (Rosser, 111). Aggressiveness and being violent have been linked to stress and depression among the youth and not on playing violent video games.
Whilst some of the studies state that the stimulation of the brain while playing video games could cause underdevelopment of other functions of the brain, it is also true that the stimulation of the brain enhances the functions of parts of the brain. Brain activity leads to exercise of the brain and the mind becomes more alert and is able to function much easily without any form of strain leading to more improved functions. The vision and the movement functions of the brain for instance are clearer and the mind is more alert as a result. For the past 30 years, video games have been availed to consumers.
These games are unique entertainment forms because the player is made to be part of the script of the game. Currently, sophisticated video games are requiring constant attention from players to the game; this is different from the passive movie watching and as a result has rendered both positive and negative effects on players. There are several studies which have been published and they explore the impacts of video games on today’s children. One of the widely used positive impacts of the video games on children is possible improvement of the computer literacy and manual dexterity of a player. The ever-improving technology has definitely given players playing experiences that are virtually realistic. This has resulted to the video game industry becoming a powerful force in children’s lives (Gentile, & Anderson 53).
However, a lot of studies have shown that the video games that contain violent content results to teenagers becoming more aggressive, with part of aggressive increase being linked to time taken by the children in the video games. In one study, majority of teens were reported to have admitted that there was no time limit that their parents had imposed on number of hours that they are allowed in playing video games.
The study showed also that most of the parents are not aware of the entertainment rating content of video games that their children play. In comparing average time taken by boys and girls on the video game, another study showed that adolescent girls used an average of 5 hours a week on video games, while boys had an average 13 hours a week. The result of teens using extended period of time in playing violent games become more aggressive, tend to be prone to confrontation with adults including their teachers, at times they may engage fights with peers. This results to a drastic decline in school performance (Gentile, Lynch, Linder, & Walsh 25).
There is a difference between the interactive video games quality and passive movie or television viewing due to the active player participation in the script. Players are only able to move to the next game through benefiting for having engaged in the violent acts. Due to continued repetition of the violent acts throughout the video game, it may lead to elevated aggression as repetition has for a long time been considered to be the most effective method of teaching that reinforces learning patterns.
Players tend to be encouraged by video games in identifying with and role playing their favorite characters-first person video games-since they end up making decisions that affect actions of characters that they try to imitate. After limited amount of time in playing video game, it is possible for a player to automatically prime the aggressive thoughts. Players who have prior violent video games experience tend to respond with a higher level of aggressiveness whenever they encounter a confrontation. Therefore, exposure of children to violent media can increase aggressive thoughts and feelings and these effects can be long term (Walsh 28).
Despite the negative effects that video games have on children, its popularity makes it difficult for parents to eliminate them from the children’s life. However, it is possible to decrease negative impact that they have on the children through knowing the video games rating that children play, by not installing in the children’s bedroom the video game equipment, setting time limits of playing video games, monitoring children media consumption as well as the internet use.
It is clear that video games have both negative and positive impacts on young people. It is thus necessary to take caution and be aware of the effects that these games could have in the long run and where possible prevent the negative from impacting on the players. Parents thus have a role to play and they should be able to understand the pros and the cons that this could have on their children and make a sound judgments before purchasing any games for the