There are quite a few contributing factors that are considered when looking at childhood aggression. The main factors surround media violence. Violent media depicts intentional attempts by individuals to inflict harm on others. An individual can be a nonhuman cartoon character, a real person, or anything in between (EFFECTS ON VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES). Forms of violent media are video games. Violence in games has been an ongoing social issue in our time. Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and other well-known games have been negatively impacting the youth. Studies have supported the effects being left on children and adolescents who interact with these games. It can change mind functioning which can lead to reckless behavior and contribute to aggression. American Psychological Association argues that video games cannot cause behavior problems and that there is insufficient evidence supporting the link that extends to criminal violence or delinquency (APA CITE).With supported evidence, it will be shown that video games does contribute to violence among the youth.
As video games become more popular, society spends more time engaging in these games. Grand Theft Auto grants players the ability to kill, solicit, and steal. In the games, players are reward to carry out these actions. In Call of Duty, players are rewarded for killing others. These players also acquire extensive knowledge on guns and ammunition. Iowa State University’s study on rewarding such behaviors believe that people who play video games that reward violence show higher levels of aggressive behavior and aggressive cognition. Reward game violence might also yield more positive attitudes toward and beliefs about using aggression to resolve real-world conflicts (REWARDING ARTICLE).
Playing games in excess can encourage kids and teens to act out in a violent and aggressive manner. In games where the only objective is killing, they can be trained to handle situations aggressively. It alters their cognitive thinking and if done long enough, becomes embedded into their subconcious. Repeatedly playing these games also aid in their desensitization to real life situations, as well. A study defined video games as a reduction of emotion-related physiological reactivity to real violence (DESENSITIZATION ARTICLE). Games like those stated previously contain blood, explosives, screaming, and corpses. This type of exposure can cause this desensitization. This study helped support that video games desensitize its players which makes them more likely to commit a violent act.
Playing too much might convince the audience that violence is enjoyable. Kids and teens could view this type of violence as a form of entertainment which can be displayed in their daily lives. Karen Sternheimer’s research study after the Columbine shooting was administered to see if school shooters were playing a game called Doom excessively. Her results showed that the students that carried out the fatal shooting were habitual players of violent video games (KAREN S. ARTICLE). This study helped strengthen the link between the video games and the desensitization to real-world issues that we carry over into our daily lives. The video game, Doom, was licensed by the United States military to have their own versions called Marine Doom and America’s Army as a recruitment tool to train soldiers (Reagan). The game is a first-person shooter that consists of a team of four soldiers that have to carry out a rescue mission and destroy enemies. This game is still used in our present day in some areas to help soldiers train. Habitual playing of these games for an adolescent or child would have a negative outcome which is shown in Sternheimer’s study.
Playing in abundance can negatively affect social behaviors in three ways. First, children lack empathy. They are unable to comprehend and understand another person’s feelings. Second, they lack the ability to interact. Video games can be viewed as protection from the outside world. It reduces their opportunities to go out and interact. With video games being highly addicting, it makes it difficult to practice developing good interpersonal skills. In these games where your importance is defined by ranking or leaderboard placement, it becomes hard to apply that to your real life which is why children sometimes struggle. Lastly, they struggle with dealing with conflict. Due to the fact that aggressive and violent behaviors are rewarded in video games, kids might find themselves exhibiting that behavior as their first form of conflict management. The study by effect on behavior_ shows us that children’s cognitive thinking is altered which causes them to lack in these areas.
Children also suffer with health issues from excessive play. Sleep deprivation and addiction are common issues among kids that play video games. Psychology Today refers to this as wired and tired. Two main factors for the sleep deprivation when playing are unnatural brightness of the screen and electromagnetic radiation (EMR). The intense brightness disturbs circadian rhythms and also does damage to the eyes. The level of EMR in the electronic devices disrupt the body’s melatonin release (Dunckley, Wired and tired). Addiction is a common result of habitual play with children. Time and effort is constantly invested in these games which cause these kids to become addicted.
Aggressive behavior, poor social skills, and many others are negative results of excessive video gaming. These games reward kids for carrying out violent acts which cause kids to be more aggressive in their lives. It also desensitizes children and increases their chances of creating violent acts. With these games as forms of entertainment, kids view violence as enjoyable. Such views pose as a problem when it is carried over into the real world. Video games have been viewed as a contributing factor to school shootings. It also contributes to social and health issues among the youth. Kids are not able to develop interpersonal relationships due to addiction to these games and lack of time with others in real-life. Evidence supports that video games do contribute to violence among the youth.
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