Over the last few years, there have many advances in technology, and video games have become a staple as far as entertainment for children and adults alike. There are many studies that show that the average age range for “gamers” is eight years old to forty (ESRB). As each year passes, the technology that makes video game possible grows and expands. The technology that also creates the graphics or the videos games grows and advances as well. This has made the realism of the video games extraordinary. This realism has caused the video game line of business to become a multibillion dollar enterprise. While all the technological advancements have catapulted the video game industry, there are some negative effects that have come along with this jump in video game sales and usage in our society. Violent video games, and other video games labeled “mature”, do bring some issue to the table. When first introduced, there was much controversy over the possibility of these violent video games producing violent behaviors in their users. This is still a large debate even today. Video games have the potential to develop coordination, creativity, and even increase motor skills.
When did video games break onto the scene? Back in the late 1940’s the first “video” game was introduced. Basically, it was a missile stimulator and its name was Cathode Ray Tube. The Cathode Ray Tube utilized WWII radar displays. Since its release, video games have grown and advanced to become more life-like, worldly, and refines. Nowadays, video games involve in-depth and sophisticated story lines. These tory-lines help players escape their average, everyday life. A great deal of violent video games are well known around the globe. These titles include: Call of Duty, Halo, and Grand Theft Auto, just to name a few. The characters of these games are also well known. Today, video games have found their way into everyday life and are even topic on popular family game shows and even in sports. The video game industry has a tremendous influence on the young people of today.
With all the technological advances of late, gamer can actually feel like they are in the game. There is an issue that comes along with these technological advances and that that the player may want and try to act out what they see or what they do in the game. There have been studies in the past that have focused on mental health problems such as depression, as well as aggression. In these studies, the participants were mainly preadolescent. One specific study collected data from approximately 5,146 fifth grade students, as well as their caregivers. The study discovered that those students which reported that they played high violence video games for less than two hours each day had a much higher rate of depressive symptoms than those students who reported playing low or non-violence video games less than two hours each day (Tortolero). This study also found that, not only was depression a major issue for the players of violent games, but aggression was a major issue as well. Violent video games raise aggression and lower pro-social outcomes, while pro-social video game have the exact opposite effect (Greitemeyer).
A great deal of parents do not seem to believe that violent video games have a negative effect on their children. A large number of parents discount the fact that is actually a ESRB rating for each video game. This rating is a guideline for what ages should play that specific video game. Violent video games are generally rated “M” for mature. The counter argument to this is that many people say that violent games actually relieve stress. A study of students from New York revealed that the students said that is they are under stress, for example picked on at school and bullied, when they play a violent video game it actually relieves and decreases their stress levels. Another counterargument is that video games can also help motor skills, decision making, and even hand-eye coordination. This counterargument especially applies to violent video games because of the skill required to shoot and follow a target, etc. It is also said that just a few short rounds of a first person shooting game will develop an individual; reaction times.
While violent games do aid in the development of certain skills, the game does not need to be violent to develop these same skills. Many non-violent video games help with developing these same skills. The crucial factor is that parents need to learn the ESRB rating system and implement that system with their child. This rating system has been put into action to protect young children from game that are beyond their years. The ESRB rating system is as follows: “C” – early childhood, “E” – everyone, “E10+” – everyone over 10, “T” – teenager 13 years and up, “M” for mature which is 17 years old and up, and finally “A” – adults age 18 and over. This system helps parents and caregivers to pick out age appropriate game for their children. The expanding technology has also made it a great deal easier for parents to provide age appropriate video games for their children.
Over the years, some people have suggested putting laws into place to govern these video games. Many people believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that these violent video game are causing pre-teens and teenagers alike to be violent and act out violent behaviors. Laws do not need to be put into place, this rating system allows a way of governing video games. It is the parents who need to take responsibility for their children, for what their children play, and for their children’s actions.
Children have an ever growing and every developing mind. These young, developing minds absorb and soak in everything that they see and hear. Parents, and caregivers alike, should be aware of what games they are buying for their children and of the games others are buying for their children. They need to make absolutely sure thee video games fall within the correct ERB rating for their child’s age. The rating system is a good one, and one that is effective; however, there should be more information about this rating system made readily available to parents so they can completely understand the ins and outs of it and to make sure that they are aware of the rating system. With all the technological advances, and the many more to come in the future, as well as with the human races dependence upon technology there is no doubt that video games are going to be a continuing staple in our lives and in our children’s lives. With that being said, more people need to be educated a to the negatives of these games and the consequences for not following the ESRB rating system.
Tortolero, Susan R., et al. “Daily Violent Video Game Playing and Depression in Preadolescent Youth.” Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking 17.9 (2014): 609-615.Business Source Complete. Web. 18 Oct. 2014. Greitemeyer, Tobias, and Dirk O. Mügge. “Video Games Do Affect Social Outcomes: A Meta-Analytic Review Of The Effects Of Violent And Prosocial Video Game Play.”Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 40.5 (2014): 578-589. Education Research Complete. Web. 18 Oct. 2014. Kids call video games a stress reliever.” New York Amsterdam News 05 June 2003: 20. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 Oct. 2014. “VIOLENT Video Games Make KIDS SMARTER – More Violent the BETTER.” • The Register. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2014 “ESRB Ratings Guide.” Rating Categories, Content Descriptors, and Interactive Elements from ESRB. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.
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