The “Real” V.G.: Video Games or Violent Gamers
“In 2008, 298.2 million video games were sold in the US, totaling $11.7 billion in revenue. Six of the top ten best-selling video games included violence, with four of the games carrying a "Mature" rating recommended for persons aged 17 and older.” However, violent video games are becoming a serious issue due to increases in bullying, violence toward women and school shootings. Although, many individuals will claim that video games are just an easy accessibility to express oneself, there have been thousands of researches worldwide hoping to find the relations, threats, and even benefits transferred from violent video games to the gamers. In fact, some of the “most focused on” studies force to claim that playing violent video games does present a threat to a user’s psychological health which leads the gamer to aggressive(dangerous) behavior, increases social isolation, and should be prevented from purchase by minors.
“Physical aggression” is defined as behavior intended to harm another person physically. Organizations such as the Journal of the American academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association have actually been focusing on video games and the ties they have with physical aggression. The American Psychological Association concludes that adolescents who play video games may become increasingly aggressive over time(Yee 454). Several other studies have come to identify a cause/effect relationship between dangerous aggression and violent video games. Obviously, many gamers are not displaying much physical aggression personally while they are blowing the brains out of the “bad guys.” However, as many researchers proclaim, “Exposing children and adolescents to violent visual media increases the likelihood that they will engage in physical aggression against another person”(Anderson 445). With that stated, as the gamer may not be exploiting physical aggression at the time playing the violent video game, that individual has a high risk of absorbing similar aggressive characteristics especially after playing the game repeatedly. Along with an expected increase of physical aggression, many researchers believe that, “Media violence also produces an emotional desensitization to aggression and violence”(446). A gamer that is newly introduced to the genre of violent video games may become less sensitive or emotionally unresponsive toward violence as exposure to such genre increases and repeated game play occurs.
According to James Gee, “Game players are active problem solvers who do not see mistakes as errors, but as opportunities for improvement. Players search for newer, better solutions to problems and challenges”(451). Besides all of the negative opinions on violent video games and straight from the text, “A recent Texas A&M International study shows that violent games could actually reduce violent tendencies and could be used as a therapy tool for teens and young adults” (Greenberg 456-7). The majority of teens are students, occasionally have emotional stress, or just plainly need to relieve stress and to many the best way to do so is by pulling out the new Grand Theft Auto. Violence portrayed in video games—similar to reality or not—is thought of to “help children with difficult feelings such as powerlessness and fear of real violence”(Greenberg 456). Similarly, with no direct relationship, cigarette smoking is not a sufficient cause of lung cancer; although it is a cause that is closely related. Physical aggression may be increased with the direct use of violent video games, just as the risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer increases for the individual who smokes a cigarette. However, the list of risk factors in order to develop lung cancer stretches far beyond than just the cigarette; and even the one that does smoke may be in healthy shape for the majority of a lifetime. With that stated,...
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