Violent video games have been a big controversial topic, in the early 2000s, in debating whether it is appropriate for people to regularly interact with violent video games(Wikipedia). Today, many people argue that playing violent video games can reduce crime in the real world and doesn’t affect the aggression of an individual. However, violent video games consists of more negative effects than positive effects as it can make people possess a violent mentality which leads to crime and it can also make people feel aggressive.
Some individuals believe that violent video games don’t cause aggression. Researchers at the University of York are setting up an experiment to see whether there is a connection between playing violent video games and aggressive behavior (ScienceDaily). The researcher gathered 3000 participants to participated in various types of differences violence games including realism violent video games, where researcher try to make the game as realistic as possible and ask to play a puzzle game to see observe behavior (ScienceDaily). Dr. Zendle expected the participant to uses a lot of “Violent word association” for those who play the realism game and as a result, no violence diction was being detected (ScienceDaily). Thus, the researcher concluded that violent video games do not relate to the gamer aggressive behavior (ScienceDaily). Based on the University of York research, it is agreeable that there was no correlation between aggression and violence video games. However, there is more evidence proving that there is a direct relation between the level of aggression and the time children being exposed to violent video games. The APA and Bushman consider violent video games a risk factor for aggression. Bushman deduced that there was a link between violent video game exposure and an increase in aggressive behaviors; similarly, in 2017, the APA Task Force on Violent Media further investigate those thoughts, and emotions, withdrawal, and social problems, as well as decreased empathy, are also majorly influenced by playing violent video games. So, the questions we should ask are, do we want to give our children a source to mindlessly and continually practice destructive behaviors, while in turn reducing their empathy? What kind of adults will such kids turn into? Apart from this revelation by the APA, other professionals have investigated and uncovered findings that suggest …. “both playing violent video games online and offline compared to playing neutral video games increases aggression” (Hollingdale and Greitemeyer). Another statistical finding is an extensive international research that looked at more than 17,000 children from the ages of 9 to 19 and found that playing violent video games led to increased physical aggression over time (Snider; Eurekalert). Psychologist Narvaez and Dill explain that children begin to associate violence with pleasure considering that they are rewarded for example, when a child is playing an aggressive game, they can learn and utilize the hitting and shooting behavior in a conflicting situation is appropriate (Narvaez; Dill). The other reason for reinforced negative behavior is that these games are practiced over and over again (Narvaez; Dill). This research was done on subjects from 24 countries including the three major video gaming countries which are the U.S., Germany, and Japan (Eurekalert; Snider). This is evident of the popularity of violent video games and suggestive of the contagiousness and addictiveness nature of these type of games. It is possible that games don’t cause aggression since there is not always a correlation between gaming and aggression; however, there is more evidence than otherwise, that violent video games lead to aggression.
Some people contend that violent video games should not be prohibited since they have no harmful effects on the individuals that play them. Ferguson the head of the Psychology faculty at Stetson University conducted a study to establish whether there was a correlation between exposure to violent media and actual rates in crime and to further prove the evidence, researcher from Villanova University and Rutgers University also establish a study by analyzing how video game sales affect crime statistic (Donnelly; Campbell). The findings Ferguson and researcher from Villanova and Rutgers University got from their research back up their argument that there is no correlation between these two variables (Donnelly; Campbell).
The experiment uncovered that children between the ages of 12 -17 have been progressively exposed to violent video games over the years but the number of violent crimes has seen a decline; Similarly, research from Villanova and Rutgers University stated that when there is a biggest sales or violent game, crime rate tend to decreases (Donnelly; Campbell). This led to a conclusion that violent games could even be curbing the rates of violence because gamers are “too busy” playing games and since they offer an inanimate outlet for aggressive individuals to let out their aggression and this prevents them from inflicting harm on others instead (Donnelly; The Telegraph). If it’s true that games don’t increase violence then yes there’s no reason to ban them. However, what these arguments overlook are the sample sizes of the studies. For example, a couple of facts which was only conducted on a small sample group from a small age group 12 to 17 and is not enough to completely dismiss that there could be a relation between violence rates in society and children’s exposure to violent video games (Donnelly; Campbell). According to Glynn, a person who controls the media knows how to control the mind. Glynn claims that in 2014, a fourteen-year-old kid known as Jared Padgett used an AR-15 gun and shot dead a fellow in Reynolds High School and then ended up shooting himself too. Investigating into Jared’s background revealed the fact that he constantly interacts with “first-person shooter games” therefore researcher conclude that violent video games were the main cause for Padgett shooting action (Glynn). Based on Jared Padgett shooting incident, this is insanely absurd as innocent children have to sacrifice their lives for the wrongdoing of another individual which was negatively affected by violent video games. Glynn’s study research also indicates that 28,000 children were killed between 2002 and 2012 by other teens using guns (Glyn). The author also argues that 70% of the killers were addicted to video games, proving that violent video games have a relationship with crime (Glyn). Moreover, violent video gaming affects brains and therefore triggers an individual to commit crimes. A new study conducted in Hannover medical school in Germany revealed that violent video games affect the brain of an individual and therefore the kind of who are addicted to watching these kinds of videos have high chances of committing crimes (Cunningham et al.). The research compared a group of people who had been convicted of committing crimes (Cunningham et al.). They put on a medical check and hence the investigation showed that they had been violent video gamers (Cunningham et al.). It was concluded that violent video gamers become crime victims (Cunningham et al.). It is reasonable to state that Violent video games don’t make an individual to cause crime since there is not always a correlation between gaming and aggression; however, there is more evidence proving that Violent Video games do correlate with crime.
New technologies, such as video games have also influenced how children grow. Violent video games have altered the moral ethical standards of children in the sense they develop violent language and behave badly in front of elders. Summarizing a recent report on violent games and teenage behavior, both the APA Task Force on Violent Media and Imaginative Minds Group point that ‘regular exposure to violent video games makes it difficult for young people to tell the difference between right and wrong and weakens empathy for others…’. As a result, children would behave unethically, believing it is the right and acceptable way to behave. An evidence that listening to profanity in video games encourages children to use such words when talking to their peers and adults. As Usher notes, today, it is very common to hear young children cursing when they play online, and it affects the way they think about themselves and other people. It is very disturbing to realize that the young generation grows up in the atmosphere of violence and intolerance. What kind of world will these children build if they are taught hatred now?. Violent games and visual content raise moral and legislative issues when it comes to minors (Young). This has contributed to moral scrutiny of visual content around the world (Young). It is however imperative to state that what one can consider immoral can be considered as moral by another, which exacerbates the confusion children experience(Young). Young highlights that these games expose children to murder and other violence, thereby increasing their likelihood or replicating those behaviors and as Imaginative Minds Group also mention that it can hinder moral development. Neuroscientific studies have also shown that exposure to video games reduce cognitive functions in children (Narvaez; Dunckley). Imaginative Minds Group states that the games prevent young people from interacting with other people in a normal context where they can learn the difference between wrong and right. Hughes research also confirms the majority of children spend most of their time playing games, leaving them with few opportunities for interactions with the outside world.Children, who do not interact with the outside world, struggle to form productive work and meaningful personal relationships later in life because the real world interactions demand face-to-face communication skills (French). Lack of social skills also increases the risk of stress and loneliness that adversely affect an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing (Blue). Based on these research, it had proven that violent video games can negatively alter the moral ethical standards of children.
Before blaming on video games for creating such act of aggressiveness, why not dig further into the reasons why children are able to play those in the first place. The advanced technological era where people have access to all sorts of social media and information, children mimicking others, or poor awareness from overexposing to electronic devices… can all lead to bad consequences from having too much access to the internet at such a young age. Nevertheless, if we moderate access to various technological devices, will children able to experience any obsessions towards those?