Video Games vs. Children

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English 1120
10 March 2006
Video Games vs. Children
The promotion of violence by today’s media, especially video games, has caused violence and aggression in reality to become a major concern. As gaming graphics and special effects are becoming more realistic, this portrayal of violence is one of the many important concerns in society. These days, a person can pick up a controller, move a joystick around, press a few buttons, and totally devastate an entire city. The recent uproar about this kind of entertainment is based on the debate of whether or not violence is affecting children who spend countless hours playing violent video games. Some people claim that the violence in the media has influenced horrible acts, such as many recent school shootings. Some people argue that these types of games are no harm to children at all. In my opinion, this type of fantasy violence acted out in today’s video games is doing a great deal of damage to children’s developing minds. I believe parents, with cooperation of the government, should find ways to increase the acceptance and availability of games that are more educational and less violent, so children today can stop filling their minds with such violence and aggressive behavior.

Back in the 1970s, when video games made their first appearance, these games were not near as popular as they are today. Then in the middle 1980s, there was an up rise of video gaming obsession with the release of the Nintendo gaming system (Casarone). Since then, the graphics of video games have become more realistic, and also more violent. They have become more violent in the sense of the portrayal of violence against humans. Almost every video game made exhibits some sort of violence from one source to another. The new games today show more realistic violence against humans than ever before. From my experience, I can tell a major difference in the scale of violence in games, such as the late Mario’s World 3 compared with the more recent Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. They are both very popular video games among kids today. In Mario’s World 3, the objective is to defeat King Bowser and save the princess by jumping on a few make-believe mushrooms and several evil turtles. In the more recent Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas game, the objective is to kill, steal, sell drugs, and do whatever you can to make it to the top and become the “ultimate gangsta”. People can do whatever they please in the game. Whether it be smoking a joint on the street, or blowing a person’s head off with a variety of weapons, people can do practically anything by pressing a few buttons. Like I said before, the major problem with this is not only the violence, but the realism of this fantasy violence. When playing the new consoles of today, the games appear so realistic that a person feels like they are actually in the game. This is one of the many reasons why there is such a controversy on whether or not we should allow children to interact with this kind of “fake” violence.

Studies today show that there has been a major up rise in children playing video games in the recent years. According to researcher Jeanne Funk, one of her studies examined 357 seventh and eight grade students and their interaction with video games. Nearly 32 percent of the students favored playing games that involved animated violence. Sports games, which also contained some acts of violence, came in second with 29 percent. Almost 20 percent of the students enjoyed playing games that had an all around non-violent, entertainment theme. Another 17 percent liked games that portrayed acts of violence against actual humans, while less than two percent of the students preferred games with an educational theme (Funk 1993). The research also found that almost 36 percent of the male students played video games for up to two hours at their home per week; 29 percent played up to three to six hours per week; and 12 percent did not play video...
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