Do Violent Video Games Cause Delinquency?
Is it possible violent video games are becoming the blueprint driving the average teenager to turn their virtual world into actual violence? There’s no doubt videogames are becoming increasingly violent. What is disturbing, video games reward players for killing police, villains and even innocent bystanders. Participants are rewarded in game play as they maim, kill, set off explosions, and fire off flame throwers and even decapitated villains. Consequently, as video games become more violent, violent teenager crime appears to follow suit. Could there be a common denominator between game violence and the real thing? The Columbine attack and the recent Virginia Tech University shootings have repeatedly raised this question. In both cases, perpetrators’ of these senseless crimes have been reported as avid violent video games players. In the pages that follow, Team “A” of Criminal Justice Administration 430, University of Phoenix, developed a hypothesis, research design and methodology to examine the theory. The team goal was to seek any evidence of causation linking violent video games with teenage delinquency. This assessment summarizes the data and reports our findings as suggested by the collected surveys. We will unveil the research project’s relative reliability as well as discuss how the project could be improved if replicated for future use. In conclusion, we discuss the team’s findings and the results of our study.
Other Studies and Their Findings
In the past, many different activist groups have conducted studies to link violent video games to violent acts. Starting with the Columbine school shootings in 1999, groups such as the American Psychological Association have been trying to make a cause and effect link between the two. David Walsh, Ph.D. with the National Institute on Media and the Family stated the following in his report to these claims: a. Children are more likely to imitate the actions of a character with whom they identify. In violent video games the player is often required to take the point of view of the shooter or perpetrator. b. Video games by their very nature require active participation rather than passive observation. c. Repetition increases learning. Video games involve a great deal of repetition. If the games are violent, then the effect is a behavioral rehearsal for violent activity. d. Rewards increase learning and video games are based on a reward system. (Walsh, 2001)
Other critics have cited opinions video games cause psychological changes due to the interactive nature of the game being played. In other words, if someone plays Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and kills innocent people, he or she may be more apt to kill in real life as well. In direct contrast an article in Wired Magazines online website, references a study conducted by the Swineburn University of Technology. Swineburn used 120 children, 11 to 15 years of age who played Quake 2. Their findings concluded that “violent video games only influence the behavior of children who already show aggressive or violent tendencies. This directly refutes other recent studies that have linked playing violent video games with increased negativity and violence in kids” (Wired, 2007). This battle is seemingly ongoing and many studies have come up with different findings. Our methodology and findings in answering this intriguing question is in the paragraphs to follow.
Summarizing Data Collected
Our team surveyed 17 random students, both males and females from different East cost of the United States. Age groups ranged from 11 years old to college students. Each student was given the same survey on video game violence and delinquency. The survey revealed: a.
On average each students spends about 7-10 hours playing video games per week. b.
The majority of the students have played video games rated for Mature and have depicted violence. c.
About 50% of the students...
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