The Danger of Violent Video Games in Children

Topics: Video game, Aggression, Violence Pages: 9 (2279 words) Published: August 6, 2014
The Danger of Violent Video Games in Children
The links between increased aggressive and violent behaviour and the content of video games is a controversial subject. Increased scientific evidence demonstrates that violent video games are linked to increases in aggressive cognitions, feelings and behaviours (e.g., Anderson and Bushman, 2001; Anderson, 2004; Anderson, Gentile & Buckley, 2007) However, there is still much resistance to the evidence among the public and by the video game industry (e.g., Entertainment Software Association, 2007). Video game advocates believe video games primarily serve as a way to relax and have a good time, while there are some educational games, the most popular and most frequently played video games are those intended solely for the purpose of entertaining an audience (Anderson & Warburton, 2012). There are both positive and negative sides of the this controversial topic; it can be argued that although there can be some positive effects for children playing video games (e.g., Granic, Lobel & Engels, 2013), they are outweighed by the detrimental issues they can cause, including poor school performance, low levels of empathy, increased aggression and violent behaviour (Anderson & Warburton, 2012). Literature Review

Before turning to the negative effects of violent video games however, it is important to stress that video games can have many helpful benefits. There have been research studies to correlate the fact that violent video games elicit violent behaviour in children, but the correlation does not mean causation (Granic et al., 2013). Playing video games, including violent shooter games provide youth with immersive and compelling social, cognitive, and emotional experiences (Granic et al., 2013). Certain studies propose that these experiences may have the potential to enhance mental health and well-being in children and adolescents (Granic et al., 2013). Granic et al. (2013) found that video games can have social benefits for children and adolescents, for example, video games can provide a topic of discussion and something over which children can bond and help make friends. Playing video games can increase self-esteem when the player is struggling in one aspect of their life, but are able to do something correctly in a video game; and, can also learn to take on leadership roles within a multi-player online game (Granic et al., 2013). The importance of these findings does suggest that video games can play a positive role in children’s and adolescents’ lives. Apart from the experiences, Granic et al. (2013) proposes that there are other positive behavioural benefits of playing video games, such as cognitive (e.g., attention), motivational (e.g., resilience in the face of failure), emotional (e.g., mood management), and social (e.g., prosocial behaviour) benefits. These positive behavioural benefits teach children and adolescents’ high-level thinking and life skills that they will need in the future. Video games have considerable potential to enhance the lives of children and adolescents, although excessive video game playing, especially of violent video games, has the potential to impact children in a number of ways (Anderson & Warburton, 2012). Although there are fewer studies of violent video games than of other violent media, research does indicate that they promote an equal if not greater amount of aggression (Anderson, Berkowitz, Donnerstein, Huesmann, Johnson, Linz, Malamuth & Wartella, 2003). In a recent study of over 600 eighth and ninth grade students, girls play video games for an average of about 5.5 h/week and boys average 13 h/week (Anderson et al., 2007), this was a significant increase from 2004 in which children were averaging 4.5 hours and 7.1 hours, respectively (Gentile, Oberg, Sherwood, Story, Walsh, & Hogan, 2004). The authors also stated that teens who play violent video games for extended periods of time tend to be more aggressive, are more prone to confrontation...
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