Psychological Effects of Video Game Violence on Children

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Psychological Effects of Video Game Violence On Children
Video games will turn 34 years old in 2006. The industry that started with Pong is now a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry. Over the last decade, video games have become an integral part of American culture where violence is a common factor in many of these games. An increasing number of people are becoming concerned with this violence, and its possible effects and influences among gamers. As we enter an age made of computers and filled with virtual realities, knowing the effects of violence in video games is becoming increasingly important. Video games, in all forms, lead to aggressive behavior in young children.

When electronic video games were introduced in the late 1970s, they were basic, animated interactive games such as Atari's Pong, a simplistic version of Ping-Pong, which accounted for 0% video game violence. Early popularity of video games was somewhat sporadic until the late 1980s. When the Nintendo system with its more sophisticated graphics was introduced a surge in video game interest resulted. “Constantly improving technologies (e.g., laser applications, virtual reality), varied platforms (e.g., handhelds, CD-ROMs, cartridge consoles, Internet, etc.), and increasingly realistic and complex game scenarios have resulted in growing popularity and increased profits ever since” (Game Zero 1). Therefore, the industry is continually expanding at a rapid pace as graphics attract more gamers to spend money to fulfill their needs of violence. Unfortunately, greater sophistication and realism found in today's video games are associated with increasingly violent themes. One of the first "violent" video games was Pac-Man. However, in today's games, children can battle realistic looking characters and witness the resultant blood, gore, and mutilation. The intense, active nature of children's play when presented with violence further emphasizes these concerns. Or else, the children would be confused between what is right and what is wrong, such as things to do in front of others. For instance, if John takes his child to a social event, and the child is in his little formal outfit. To his surprise, he finds the child running around and acting out James Bond, using his “finger gun” and making gun noises to kill the “enemy.”

Growth of electronic games has not been without controversy. However the subset of games, which features violence, gore, and antisocial behavior, has raised concern among parents, educators, child advocates, medical professionals, and policy makers. As a person becomes increasingly aggressive, the social environment responds. The types of people who are willing to interact with them, the types of interactions that are held, and the types of situations made available to the person all change. Even the social interactions with teachers, parents, and non-aggressive peers are likely to degenerate, whereas interactions with other "deviant" peers may well increase (Anderson 2). Therefore, people would react differently accordingly to the environment they are in and the people they associate with. Games such as Unreal Tournament have fostered this principle. The purpose for this game is to assemble in clans, groups of gaming individuals, to “battle” other clans as these gamers are immersed in the violence, and also finding friendship with other gamers they meet online. This leads to great psychological impacts, due to their violence associated with these types and other types of games. The implication of games in high profile school shootings has led to congressional hearings, government investigations, and legislative proposals. The intense concern about video and computer games is based on the belief that the ultra violent games are inappropriate and harmful (Walsh 3). Thus making parents concerned and reevaluating whether their child is safe anywhere anymore from violence in society.

The pioneer in modern gaming violence, Doom, which has...
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