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Video Games And Violence

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Media’s Effects on Children Today

Video games have become a part of our culture in America as well as around the world. There are a large variety of video games to be played such as sports, non-violent, and violent games. The most dominant genre of video games that out-sells all others is the violent video game. It is hard to explain why they outsell all the other genres, but one reason may be because they allow users to turn their aggression into something simple which may result in less anger for that person. Video games have more recently started to be used as recruitment tools for branches of the United States Military with games such as “America’s Army.” One of the most popular video games of all time was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Despite being one of the most violent and gruesome video games to ever be made, it sold a record number of units.

Video games primarily focus on the main character as a male, while female characters are usually in the background. The government has had limited success in regulating content in video games as it is viewed as a form of censorship. Many people counter with the argument that violent crime has actually reduced in the United States while video game sales have increased, therefore arguing there is no correlation. By raising children in a society where killing people on the television is ok, it can cause many problems in the long run. When you shoot someone in a video game, they magically come back to life unharmed, however when you shoot someone in real life, they are gone forever.

There have been countless studies and research done to determine whether or not violence in video games causes aggressive / violent behavior in adolescents. It is widely disputed as to whether or not violent video games lead to aggressive behavior. Many studies have yielded mixed results (Anderson 4). There is no consensus as to whether or not violent video games truly lead to violent behavior in the real world. One thing that many studies have noticed is the tendency for males to be more likely to play video games, specifically violent ones, than females. An adolescent male’s cultural status or personality traits will make their reaction to violent content different from one person to another. Adolescent males prefer violent video games over non-violent ones (Lemmens 640). There is a negative effect on the use of violent video games and the level of education of a male. The lower educated a male is, the more likely he is to spend more hours playing video games. This may be because having a higher education requires more time and effort, therefore reducing the amount of time in front of the television (Lemmens 640). When kids spend hours upon hours in front of the television playing violent video games, they may become desensitized to violence.

Due to the widespread availability of video games to children nowadays, more children have become involved in violent crimes. Violent video games condone, promote, and justify the use of violence while concealing realistic consequences (Funk 2). Even though violent video games may lead to violence in real life, video games can still serve as valuable learning tools. Developing children learn mainly through physically doing things. This may lead to children taking video game experiences and translating them into real life actions. Since violence always seems to be the answer in video games, some children may learn to think that violence is the answer to all. Playing video games can have a hypnotic effect. Daydreaming and fantasizing peaks right before adolescence, at the point when many children are immersed in their video game playing (Funk 4). Absorption is defined as “when the logical integration of thoughts, feelings, and experiences is suspended” (Funk 4). When a child plays a violent video game he or she may be unaware of the behaviors that are developing in their consciousness. Those children who are easily absorbed into the video game that they are playing may have a higher tendency of developing aggressive thoughts and actions.

Playing video games is one of the biggest hobbies for children growing up today. Youths between the ages of eight and eighteen spend an average of over forty hours a week using some type of media, not counting school or homework assignments (Anderson 101). The availability of these violent video games has become much more widespread in past years. Video games that receive a rating of “M” are meant for children seventeen years of age and older. A study conducted by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission found that underage children, aged thirteen to sixteen, unaccompanied by an adult were able to purchase “M” rated games in 85% of the 380 stores samples (Anderson 102). One of the biggest problems in today’s society regarding video games is the way that each generation looks at them. For adults and elders, video games may be considered violent, addictive, childish, and worthless (Atwan 279). To children, video games are also addictive, but in a positive way. Kids can spend hours in front of the television playing video games, which can provide hours of entertainment. Very rarely are they positive aspects of video games discussed. Playing video games can build creativity, community, problem solving, and can raise self esteem.

Recently video games have served the purpose of recruiting individuals who may want to join the military. The most popular game that actually serves as recruitment tool is America’s Army. The game was developed by the military in the year 2002. One of the bizarre things about the game is that it is completely free. With a free game, there are usually bad graphics and an awful plot, but that is not true for America’s Army. In the game, if you fail a mission, then you start over from where you began. The game presents very few ethical dilemmas, unlike Grand Theft Auto where you have the option of killing innocent civilians. You cannot kill innocent bystanders in America’s Army, leaving the American Army in good light.

There is no solid evidence that video games are bad for people and may actually be good.



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