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Violence And Video Games

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Violence in Video Games and Our Youth

Over the years violent video games have become a major topic throughout America. An issue that has been debated over the years is the violence in video games and its negative impact on our youth. A few major points I will cover are the increased aggressive behavior, youth's desensitization, and parental supervision. All these are a contributor to the effects our children have faced or will face in the future. Violent video games are extremely popular with today's youth; however, the violence has a negative impact on our society.

Children partaking in violent video games have exhibited increased aggressive behavior. Anderson and Dill (2000) has stated, "One study reveals that young men who are habitually aggressive may be especially vulnerable to the aggression-enhancing effects of repeated exposure to violent games." (p.1). Anderson (2000) also stated, "Violent video games provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations." (p.1) in just these studies alone, the increased aggressive behavior is identified and linked to the violence in video games. A reward system is also implemented in many of the games. The more violence committed or the more success you have with the games constitutes the outcome. In order to win one must create and be successful at violent acts, win or lose children are showing signs of behavior that is violent. These games act as a training ground to learn aggressive behavior. The effects have also stemmed to encouraging disregard and aggression towards authority figures, such as vandalism, theft and harming others. A popular video game today, Grand Theft Auto, allows the gamer to play as a character. The main character Tommy Vercetti is involved in criminal acts such as drugs, auto theft and guns, just to name a few, and gamers are rewarded with the character becoming wealthier and more powerful throughout the game. With games such as GTA, it is no wonder why our youth is being effected. We are enabling our children with these games that encourage violence, theft and wrongdoing. Do you want children stealing, fighting or doing drugs? No, none of us do; so why do we need to have games that encourage this? These games are for adult content if anything and at that, these games are still affecting our society.

It is evident that violence in video games is a cause for increased aggression; along those same lines is how our youth is becoming desensitized to real life violence with the exposure to violent video games. There is a good possibility that violent video gamers could be one of the promoters of recent violence in our schools today. A perfect example of how violent video game has had a negative effect is the Columbine High school shooting that took place on April 20, 1999. There were two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who turned a typical high school day into a massacre in Littleton, Colorado. They murdered 12 fellow students and 1 teacher while wounding 23 of their classmates before committing suicide. It is not for certain why these two committed this gruesome act but a police investigation showed that both Harris and Klebold where heavily involved with a violent video game, Doom. Doom is license by the U.S. Military to train soldiers how to kill. Harris' was also linked to a website that had a version of Doom on it. He had customized the game to be; two gunmen with unlimited weapons and ammo versus people with nothing to fight back with. The Columbine shooting was in headlines for months and has sparked controversy about the violence in video games. This is also a prime example of our youth using forms of violence in everyday life without understanding the consequences and outcomes of this violent behavior. Imagine the lives that have been affected from this tragic incident, not only the life's but families have been destroyed and to think, this may have been prevented if we could control and restrict the access to the violence in video games. Psychologists recently have released the first study on Violence Desensitization from Video games. Researchers stated, "It appears that individuals who play violent video games habituate or 'get used to' all the violence and eventually become physiologically numb to it." (P.1)(Carnagey, Anderson, Bushman & Universiteit, 2006) Becoming numb to violence and the acts that are committed in these games should worry any of us. Even if just one percent of our children are effected, it is one percent too many. These games are highly addictive and it only takes one gamer to take it too far and ruin an activity that so many are involved with.

Are all children and today's youth affected by violence in video games? Of course not, many people are opposed to the idea that there are any negative effects on our youth due to the violent content in certain video games. But the fact of the matter is that not all children need to be affected in order for there to be a problem. It only takes one or two incidents such as the Columbine shooting for it to affect not only our children but our nation and society as a whole. My father always



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