Violent Video Games and Kids

Keep the Violent Vids away from Kids Violent video games and their effects on children is a growing debate in today’s society. The controversial problem is: are violent video games a negative effect on children or not? It is my personal opinion that violent video games are a bad influence on children. These young children learn from what they see. It is not a good thing when what they see is violence. It is also not a good thing when they are in control of the character that is doing the violence.
Some children may be too young to know right from wrong yet and should not be exposed to these games. They may see something and get the wrong idea. Stricter laws should be made and enforced on violent video games. Children should not be allowed to have these games unless they are at least 15 years of age for the following reasons: Most research illustrates violent video games as a negative effect on children, video games content teaches children the wrong lessons, and violent video game use has been linked to delinquent crime.
The debate originally began with violence on television and in movies. With the new advancements in technology, it eventually escalated into the debate of violent video games. Craig A. Anderson, a well renowned psychologist and professor at Iowa State, explains it like this: After 40+ years of research, one might think that debate about media violence effects would be over. An historical examination of the research reveals that debate concerning whether such exposure is a significant risk factor for aggressive and violent behavior should have been over years ago (Bushman & Anderson, 2001).

Four types of media violence studies provide converging evidence of such effects: laboratory experiments, field experiments, cross-sectional correlation studies, and longitudinal studies (Anderson & Bushman, 2002a; Bushman & Huesmann, 2000). But the development of a new genre-electronic video games-reinvigorated the debate. Two sides of this issue exist. Many parents, researchers, and public policy makers believe violent video games are a bad influence on children.
On the other hand, many public policy makers and video game developers believe violent video games can be educational to children and not a bad influence. In order to gain new knowledge and answer some of the questions of this growing debate, scientists all over the world have been doing research on this issue. Most of this research illustrates that violent video games have a negative effect on children. Many studies have found that violent video games cause an increased level of aggression in children.
One such study was explained in an MSNBC popular news article written by Kristin Kalning called: “Does game violence make teens aggressive? ” The article was written about an experiment done at the Indiana University Medical School. The experiment consisted of children having brain scans done while playing a violent video game and while playing a non-violent video game. The following results were gathered: “the brain scans of kids who played a violent video game showed an increase in emotional arousal – and a corresponding decrease in brain areas involved in self-control, inhibition and attention.
The kids who played the non-violent games did not have the same effect. ” Another study done by three scientists named Hanneke Polman, Bram Orobio de Castro, and Marcel A. G. van Aken called “Experimental Study of the Different Effects of Playing Versus Watching Violent Video Games on Children’s Aggressive Behavior” yielded similar results. It was a study that was done by examining fifty-seven children ages 10-13 who either played violent video games or watched violent video games. The scientists examined their behaviors in free play session at school.
The results were as follows: “After the active participation of actually playing the violent video game, boys behaved more aggressively than did the boys in the passive game condition. For girls, game condition was not related to aggression. These ? ndings indicate that, speci? cally for boys, playing a violent video game should lead to more aggression than watching television violence. ” Although it may not be known how much violent video games effect children, these studies illustrate that they do indeed affect children in a negative way.
They illustrate that psychologically something is going on in the brain that is not normal while playing. Providing evidence that children of a young age should not have access to these violent video games. Not only does research done on violent video games demonstrate that better age restrictions should be enforced on violent video games, but also the fact that the content of violent video games teaches children the wrong lessons. The graphics in video games these days are so real that they make players feel as if they are in the game. Violent video games often present unethical ideas and lessons to children.
Craig A. Anderson explains these lessons very well: “Recent video games reward players for killing innocent bystanders, police, and prostitutes, using a wide range of weapons including guns, knives, flame throwers, swords, baseball bats, cars, hands, and feet. Some include cut scenes (i. e. , brief movie clips supposedly designed to move the story forward) of strippers. In some, the player assumes the role of hero, whereas in others the player is a criminal. ” These ideas and lessons should not first be presented to children in video games.
They instead should be discussed before hand with children’s parents. Children should not be able to play these games. Only teens that know their right from wrong and understand that the ideas perceived in these games are completely unethical should be allowed to play them. Another reason violent video games should be kept away from children is violent video game use has been linked to bad behavior among children and even delinquent crime. Children who play violent video games are more likely to bully or start a fight at school. Patrick McCormick, a writer for the U.
S. Catholic, in an article titled “Moral Kombat” references Craig A. Anderson and says this: “Surveying a gigabyte of studies done over the past 50 years, Anderson found “unequivocal evidence that media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive behavior in both immediate and long-term contexts. ” Children who played video games were more likely to bully and fight with others and less likely to exhibit self-control or empathy. ” Violent video games should not be available to children if these are the effects that they invoke in children.
What’s worse is there is worse behavior that is linked to violent video games. Violent video games have been linked to delinquent crime, most specifically school shootings. “In the last decade numerous headlines have made the connection between gaming and violent crimes. Stories have identified the perpetrators in school shootings and other multiple homicides as adolescents who spent a good deal of time playing violent video games, and FBI reports have suggested that fascination with this sort of media violence could be a arning sign identifying possible shooters”(McCormick). The Columbine shooting in Colorado is historical evidence providing proof that violent video games are bad influences on children. The shooters played a violent video game and make a reference to it in a video. Guy Porter and Vladan Starcevic wrote an article called “Are violent video games harmful? ” and say this: “The 1993 game ‘Doom’…was played by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold before they went on a shooting Rampage at Columbine High School in 1999, killing 12 fellow students and one teacher, before committing suicide.
The two killers had mentioned the game in a video they made before the massacre, stating it would be “just like Doom”. ” This type of behavior should not be accepted in today’s society. Violent video games should not be responsible for fueling children like this to do heinous crimes. Stricter laws should be enforced and parents should be more educated about the violent video games that are available to their teens. Many critics say violent video games are not a bad influence on children and instead are educational and helpful to children.
Peter McCormick writes: “complex and challenging video games engage our children, helping them to learn useful information and master necessary skills. ” Kristin Kalning illustrates the same idea in her article on MSNBC when she speaks of the ESA website. She says: the ESA has done “several studies pointing to games’ potential benefits for developing decision-making skills or bettering reaction time. ” Any video game can be made to be complex and challenging without being violent.
Violent video games may teach you better reaction time and how to make decisions quickly, however; they also usually teach children the wrong lesson. Video games in general take away extra time children can be spending outside doing physical activities and studying. Violent Video games should not be sold to children who are under the age of sixteen. Children who are too young do not have a mind developed enough to understand the violence.

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