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Video Game Violence And Its Effects On Children

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Video Game Violence and Its Effects on Children

As we enter the 21st Century, video games are becoming more popular each and everyday. People of all ages can and do enjoy video games as a way to spend there free-time. These games allow the player to live in the game whether it's about sports or a role playing game. The problem with the video games in the market is that they are becoming too violent in some people's minds. Also, many of these violent video games are being advertised and directed to America's children. This is my question for America; can video games influence violence and aggression in children? In this paper, I will include American's view on this issue, what tests have shown and what the video game industry has to say about this accusation.

Sissela Bok, author of Mayhem, has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University. Bok continuously comments on ethical issues in government, media, and public life. In her book Mayhem, Bok explains how media influences violence. Bok also points out how video games include way too much violence especially to our children. In Mayhem, Bok mentions video games such as Mortal Kombat, Doom, Quake and Duke Nukem in which players are rewarded for slashing, gouging or shooting their opponents. In recent years, video games have become increasingly graphic and highly realistic. Questions about degrees of reality and about the role of real-life, imagined, and reenacted violence in our lives are crucial to our learning to understand and to deal with violence. But these questions cannot be dismissed, much less resolved, by making tidy distinctions between the real and the not real.

Another source from Jody M. Roy, Love to Hate, also agrees with the idea that video games influence violence in children. Roy feels that the Columbine shootings are connected to the media and video games that the students were influenced by. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the shooters, enjoyed and played violent video games such as Doom and Duke Nukem. However, Roy also says that Duke Nukem does not kill anyone. Him and his victims are nothing more than computer-generated images (86). Video games can also lower the violence in the world since people can perform violence virtually in games instead in real life. But still, even though players aren't actually killing, they are still possibly involved emotionally in the idea of killing. This occurs when players play first person shooter games. These types of games allow the player to experience everything that the killer goes through. Players feel emotions like anger, nervousness, power and pride while killing its opponent or being killed. So video games can be seen as a safe way for players to release rage and emotions. However, Columbine did happen and in a way it took images from a computer game to the real life.

Video games have been around since 1974 when Pong, the first video game by Atari, was released in the United States. Since then video games have grown into a huge industry for all ages. The biggest group of customers for the industry is young males. Boys aged 8-18 spend an average of 40 minutes a day playing video games. Girls on the other hand are increasing their game playing but only play (Smith 2). According to Cassel and Jenkins, editors of From Barbie to Mortal Kombat, found out that approximately 80 percent of game playing among nine to fifteen year olds was done by boys in 1990. The reason that for this percentage is due to the type of video games that are out in the market today. Violence is the key component to most video games that boys are playing. Stacy Smith, who has a Ph.D. at University of California - Santa Barbara, co-author of Popular Video Games: Quantifying the Presentation of Violence and its Context has done studies on video game violence. From her study, boys who play Teen or Mature-rated games for a minimum of 40 minutes a day may witness over 180 incidents of aggression per day. Not only did the video games include violence, in more than half of them the perpetrators were rewarded for their aggressive actions (4). Not only were the players rewarded but half of the violence was directed to be humorous. These violent games are the ones that boys are playing and are attracted to. Girls are drawn to more feminine



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