Videogames and Young People

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Videogames and Young People

Violent video games have been sources of extreme criticism over the past decade or so. With the recent advancement in video game technology, games are getting more realistic and are able to expose people to new types of content that wasn’t possible at the turn of the century. While this new content seems like a step forward, there is plenty of evidence showing that videogames are becoming an increasing problem to youth in our society. Ultra-realistic murders, brutal assaults, and rewarding thieves are just a few of the ways that videogames can perverse children and teenagers into skewing their ideals and morals for the worst. Video games in this decade have overstepped their boundaries of ideal non-violent, family friendly content and are now infecting the youth with these ideas that violence and aggression are the proper ways to act. Violent videogames need to be made more difficult to get into the hands of impressionable young people.

This decade has seen an extremely controversial new game series rise to popularity and is right now the top game series in the world, the Call of Duty series. Last November saw the release of its latest iteration, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. This game was only available for sale for seven weeks in 2012 and in those seven weeks it became the top selling game for the year. Just behind it and being released only a week before, was the newest game from the Halo series, Halo 4.(VGChartz) These two games have outsold the next highest selling game not from either series by over 400%. This shows that a large portion of gamers are buying these violent games. Studies from 2009 have shown that up to 25% of the total population of gamers is children and teenagers younger than 18; as well as showing that up to 68% of Americans play videogames.(Entertainment Software Association) Using these two data numbers we can conclude that 17% of our total population is young children or teenagers that play videogames, and with such a large amount of sales of these extremely violent videogames, it would be naïve to say that none of them are reaching these same group of people. A study was done that had children aged 9-12 play games both with and without violence and consistently it was shown that when questioned about which type of game the child liked more, those children would respond with the violent game was more interesting with about 48% finding the violent game interesting and only 17% found the nonviolent game interesting.(Anderson Page 68) This shows that when given the choice, a higher percentage of young people will choose a violent game over a nonviolent one.

Violence in videogames is without a doubt negatively effecting the youth. In a recent study, it has been shown that children and teenagers that play violent videogames have increased aggression levels shown in more physical behavior such as pushing by a correlation rating of over 0.6, meaning that the violent videogames have a relatively strong relation to violent actions.(Anderson Page 64, 135) The same study also shows that these children have lowered empathy levels to their peers. This is directly showing that playing immoral games are worsening the social skills of these young people and could possibly, with repeated access to these games over a long period of time, lead to an overall lessened ability to interact with their peers over their lifetime.

The study mentioned in the last paragraph also had a third important point that it found is that as time increased in front of the television screen of these games, their performance in school decreases directly.(Anderson Page 135) Schooling is a very important thing for these young people as they try to make themselves useful to society in some way, and videogames are limiting the amount of time that they focus on their schoolwork. If more and more time is allocated to video games instead of their classwork, grades and school performance will...
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