Violence in Video Games and its Avoidance
Table of Contents
The paper analyzes the presence and impact of violence in video games on players, especially children. Some video games are known to promote learning and problem solving while others instill violence in children due to their interactive nature. Furthermore, children are known to suffer from nightmares and stomachaches as a result of fatigue hormones released by video violence. More importantly, they want to imitate the violent characters in real-world situations. A study conducted on young men suggests that violent video games enhance aggressive behavior more strongly than violent movies. To avoid the aggressive influence of video gaming, parents are encouraged to preview the entire game before letting their children play and encourage children to take part in other activities like arts, sports, and social groups.
Video gaming has become the second-largest segment of the entertainment industry, next to the television. It is now a multibillion-dollar industry bringing in more money than movies and DVDs. One of the bestselling video games today on Amazon.com is titled "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" where the players take on the position of either a U.S. or British soldier to beat the world's most dangerous enemies.
The role played by video games is that of a double-edged sword. Some video games promote learning, problem-solving and the development of fine motor skills and coordination. These games serve as an excellent tool for the motivational and learning process. Though many children now engage in games that actually motivate players for killing police, innocent bystanders, and prostitutes with rewards, employing many types of weapons including guns, knives, swords, hands and feet.
The effect of violent video games is similar to that of drugs. Children need mounting levels of violence to maintain high level of excitement. At a very young age, they learn to associate violence with pleasure and excitement and suffer from nightmares, stomachaches, headaches and anorexia as a result of fatigue hormones released by violent video games.
Moreover, television watching is passive while video gaming enables children to interact. With the click of a button, they can shoot, kill and crush their opponents. Once they are occupied in a game, they get hooked on to the excitement and want to play longer. In addition, children learn that violent characters are cool, powerful and successful and want to imitate their characters in real world.
Violent video games augment aggression more than violent movies or television shows due to their interactive nature (Craig A. Anderson & Karen E. Dill, n.d.). The two studies have pointed out the vulnerability of aggressive young men to violent games. The first study was conducted with 227 college students with past aggressive behavior records. These participants also possessed the habit of playing video games. Students that engaged in playing extremely vicious video games in junior and high school displayed aggressive behavior. In addition, the time spent playing video games in the past was linked with lower academic grades in college, which is a potential cause of anger and frustration in many students.
For the second study, 210 college students were permitted to play either an extremely violent game Wolfenstein 3D or a nonviolent game, Myst. After a short time, it was found that students who played the violent game punished an opponent for a longer duration compared to students who played the nonviolent game. "Violent video games provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations." (Dr. Anderson, n.d.)
Summing it all, video violence can have disturbing effects on child’s mental development. Since children are increasingly accepting violence as a normal part of life, parents need to take appropriate actions to avoid training an army of kids.
Long-term effects of aggressive video games are still uncertain and intensely debated. In light of the effects of violent video games on players and studies conducted by researchers, I would like to make certain recommendations to help avoid violence in video games.
· Monitor the amount of time children spend gaming
· Set out the rules and restrict the type of games children play
· Preview the entire game regardless of the ratings and labels as level of violence varies at different levels
· Encourage children to take part in other activities such as sports, arts and social groups
· Promote group games to enhance social interaction among children
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. (2011). Children and Video Games: Playing with Violence Retrieved from http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/children_and_video_games_playing_with_violence
Violence and video games (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2012 from http://www.video-game-addiction.org/violence.html