Is Video Game Violence the Cause of Juvenile Delinquency?

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Interactive video games and the Internet have become the entertainment of choice for America's adolescents. Nearly seven in ten homes with children now have a personal computer (68.2%), and 41% of homes with children have access to the Internet. Annual video game revenues in the United States exceed $10 billion, nearly double the amount of money Americans spend going to the movies. On average, American children who have home video game machines play with them about 90 minutes a day. The impact of video games containing violence has recently become a focus of research because children are theoretically more susceptible to behavioral influences when they are active participants than when they are observers. To date, violent video games have not been studied as extensively as violent television or movies. The number of studies investigating the impact of such games on youth aggression is small, there have been none on serious violence, and none has been longitudinal. Many studies about video games have been conducted. A number of studies are conducted by splitting a certain number of people into two groups, one group playing violent games, and the other playing non-violent games. Shortly after the allotted time of play, the subjects' aggressive thoughts are measured. Almost always, the people who played the violent games had a much larger amount of aggressive thoughts than the people who played non-violent games. We live in a world where real violence is everywhere, from neighborhood shootings to the war in Iraq. We're mostly helpless to stop it, and we just have to live through it, but when a juvenile turns on a violent video game and spends endless hours playing does it change their perception of the real world and cause them to become delinquent. Many things can cause an inability to distinguish right from wrong, reality from fiction. A teen may be mentally unstable, too immature (not just in age, but in reasoning) to understand the magnitude of their actions or maybe they're actually already a heartless, cold-blooded murderer who likes games. But does a video game make them that way. Each time juveniles play violent video games, they rehearse aggressive scripts that teach and reinforce vigilance for enemies, aggressive action against others, expectations that others will behave aggressively, positive attitudes towards use of violence, and beliefs that violent solutions are effective and appropriate. Video game play may affect children who lack protective factors such as nurturing relationship with at least one adult. In today's society in order to support a family both parents need to work and when this happens there is less time to spend at home with the children. Some parents would rather stick a video game controller in their child's hand just to keep them occupied and out of their way. Given the ubiquity of violent game play among boys we might see a J-shaped curve similar to common findings in research on adult alcohol use: a little is healthy, but a lot becomes a health risk A moderate amount of interactive game play may be associated with a healthier social life, while increasing amounts of play may correlate with poor adjustment or emotional difficulties. A teenager who spends hours playing games over the Internet might miss key opportunities to build social skills with real people or lose opportunities for healthy physical activity. Violent computer/video games have an even stronger effect on children's aggression than T.V. because: the games are highly engaging and interactive, the games reward violent behavior, and because children repeat these behaviors over and over as they play. Psychologists know that each of these help learning - active involvement improves learning, rewards increase learning, and repeating something over and over increases learning. One of the greatest problems is that murder and violence performed by the hero of the game are practically never punished, and often even rewarded. This...
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