7 April 2010
Violent Video Games and Their Effect on Children
Ever since the creation of the first video game, they have had a certain effect on the individuals who play them. As video games have become more advanced and elaborate, children’s interest is at an all time high. With the degree of violence that has been a part of video games since the early 1990’s, parents and activists have claimed that these games are affecting children negatively. This claim only seems to contradict other major factors that may have a part in the developing minds of youth. There are other mental, problems at home or school, as well as programs and movies shown by the media that could have an effect on children. There are other ways to restrict what children are playing in regards to video games. Over the years, people have pushed to have these games removed from the shelves because they feel that they contribute to youth violence. Though the outcry against certain graphic video games is great, these games do not contribute to youth violence and should not be banned.
Violent video games are typically a way to relax, a temporary outlet from a person’s everyday stress and problems. There have been speculations that violent video games effect children negatively, but do they truly drive children towards violent behavior. Dr. Jeanne Funk, a psychology professor at the University of Toledo has done research regarding the impact of playing violent video games. She states that “playing electronic games requires the player to make a series of choices that determine his or her progress through the game (1).” It’s true that violent video games reward the gamer for using violent means to accomplish a goal, but “rarely produce realistic consequences (Funk 1).” Dr. Funk has conducted multiple experiments to test the theory of how violent games impact children. Many of the children may have been previously exposed to violence prior to these experiments, but Dr. Funk concluded that, Adolescents with a preference for violent electronic games were more likely to view themselves as anxious, not as overtly aggressive; those with higher preference for violent games were also more likely to self-report signs of psychological disturbance (7). It’s safe to say that there seems to be a psychological risk factor to consider when children play violent games at a young age because their minds are still in development. This and other outside sources in the media could also be attributed to youth violence.
To continue on with the idea of children with behavioral and emotional problems, research was done to answer the question if children with behavioral and emotional difficulties associated with television and playing violent video games. Dr. Oana Mitrofan, who works with the Health Sciences Research Institute at the University of Warwick, concluded through research found “insufficient, contradictory and methodologically flawed evidence on the association between television viewing and video game playing (5).” Children with these traits exhibited higher exposure to violence on television and through playing video games (Mitrofan 8). Their time of exposure is also higher and those who don’t show any behavioral or emotional hardships (Mitrofan 8). It has been shown that young people have a tendency to copy something they may have seen from time to time, but this temporary adrenaline rush goes after time if it is explained that it is make believe.
There are also other factors that show why violent video games don’t cause youth violence. Kara Williams, Lourdes Rivera, Robert Neighbours, and Vivian Reznik, all of the University of California, work in the Department of Pediatric, conclude that, Exposure to violence has been linked to…depression, stress, fears and worries, aggression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, low self-esteem, post traumatic stress disorder, and self-destructive behavior (Flannery qtd in...
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Mitrofan, O., M. Paul, and N. Spencer. "Is aggression in children with behavioural and emotional difficulties associated with television viewing and video game playing? A systematic review." Child: Care, Health & Development 35.1 (2009): 5-15. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 10 Mar. 2010.
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Williams, Kara, Lourdes Rivera, Robert Neighbours, and Vivian Reznik. "Youth Violence Prevention Comes of Age: Research, Training and Future Directions." Annual Review of Public Health. 28. (2007): 195-211. Print.
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