In recent discussions of violent video games, a controversial issue has been whether violent video games are bad for youth or not. On one hand, some argue that video games do not affect the youth at all. On the other hand, however, others argue that violent video games affect the youth tremendously. According to media violence researcher Craig Anderson, Chair of Iowa State University’s Department of Psychology, “in a violent video game, you rehearse the entire aggression sequence from beginning to end” (Hoerrner & Hoerrner 2).
According to [his] view, he is saying that “you have to be vigilant, looking for enemies, looking for potential threats; you have to decide how to deal with the threat, what weapon to use, and how to use it; and then you take physical action to behave aggressively within the game” (Hoerrner & Hoerrner 4). The issue is whether violent video games are bad for eight, nine, or even ten year olds. My own view is that violent video games are indeed bad for young children.
Though I concede that whether a child’s parents choose to allow their children to play these violent games is up to them, I still maintain my view that violent games are bad. A perfect example reassuring a parent that their child is not participating in playing these violent games is to check the ratings on the video games to make sure there is no violence in them. Although it might be objected that parents do not have time to check the ratings on their kid’s games, I reply that it is, once again, an option guaranteeing their children are not being exposed to violence.
All in all, the issue is important because these violent video games are affecting children’s behavior, making them more aggressive, as well as more violent. Allowing kids to play violent video games changes the way they act towards their peers by causing them to become more aggressive. They no longer seem to have compassion towards one another, but instead coldness towards each other. This was proven when the American Psychological Association concluded that “playing a lot of violent video games is related to having more aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Furthermore, playing violent games is also related to children being less willing to be caring and helpful toward their peers” (Junior Scholastic 1). Therefore, when children experience more aggression, they are going to feel that their aggressive manner is fine. This age group is not going to take a second look at their negative actions since they see it as “just fun and games” (Junior Scholastic 1).
In essence, by allowing kids to play what they want and not setting boundaries for the kids, parents are not doing any justice to their offspring; instead, parents are saying that it is alright to treat others in an aggressive manner as long as it is just in fun and games. Another perfect example of how violent video games cause children to become more aggressive towards their peers would be the afterschool program I work for — LA’s Best. There I see how these games affect the kids due to how they act towards each other.
They are always play-fighting with each other and having fun in their eyes, that is, until someone comes to me or my other staff members crying. When we ask them why they were play-fighting to begin with, they all have the same similar respond-‘that’s how they fight in Mortal Kombat. ’ Mortal Kombat is a popular series of fighting games that contain high levels of blood and gore. So to see our kids reenact what they see on their video games is upsetting because it shows us, the staff, that our kids version of playing together is hitting and tumbling around with each other until someone gets hurt.
The eight to ten year olds no longer see playing together as participating in a friendly game of soccer, but instead, a vicious way to kick those who they despise. Therefore, by allowing our kids to involve themselves in these vicious games, changes their definition of the meaning of ‘fun’. They now see fun as hitting and kicking each other until someone is down in pain since they see this type of act of violence in their video game. Lastly, not only do kids experience aggressive behavior through video games, but also criminal violent behavior.
This is due to the high rating of violence in the kid’s games. These games make it seem okay to shoot and kill people because the young children can always restart the game and play again. However, in reality, the only thing that these games do for children is actively train them to kill. Take for instance, Retired Lt. Col. Dave Grossman who “argues that children learn to use weapons and become sharp shooters through simulated games the same way soldiers use simulations to improve their shooting precision.
Just as children can improve their phonics with Learn to Read with Winnie the Pooh, they can learn to shoot with deadly accuracy, playing Doom, Splinter Cell, Hitman, and other first-person shooter games” (Hoerrner & Hoerrner 2). Although many would question what Grossman is saying, it actually was proven to be accurate “in [the] 1997’s high school shootings [in] Paducah, Kentucky, [when] the 14-year-old who opened fire on a before school prayer group landed eight out of eight shots on eight different targets. Five of those were headshots” (Hoerrner & Hoerrner 2).
Keep in mind the “teenage shooter had never held a real gun before his shooting rampage… however, spent long hours playing first-person shooter games that simulated killing with the same weapon he used that morning” (Hoerrner & Hoerrner 2). To sum it up, the violence in video games does lead to violent behavior. Video game interaction leads kids to think that using violence is acceptable, causing them to choose their fist over rationality. In conclusion, violent games do indeed lead to aggressive and violent behavior.
Not only do these games cause children to be aggressive towards one another, but they also lead to the physical pain of others due to the high content of violence. This is due to children having the entire aggression sequence from beginning to end imprinted in their mind. This therefore, leads them having to seek potential threats while having to figure out which physical action will have the best outcome. This is why every parent should watch the levels of violence in video games as well as set boundaries to what their children can and cannot play.