Violent Video Games: They are Bad for You
Studies from around the world have proved and disproved the fact that the violent content in some games causes violent acts in people. The research and studies also show that this is not an issue of gender with almost as many girls playing video games as boys making them a large portion of people playing today. The effect of violent video games has desensitized players, they have shown to have less empathy, and have been found to be more aggressive all around.
Boys though in this instance seemed to be more prone to violence than the females participating in the studies. Another problem I found in the gaming society is the fact that some parents were not abiding to the rating system put out by the ESRB. This exposes young children to the violent acts that take place in these games. This has been a huge concern and it is seeking to be fixed in the near future. The effect of violent video games in young adults is negative because of the desensitization of the players to acts of violence and crime around them. Players of these games have also acted out in violence to those that have been close and around them. Causes of this are the rewards that players receive for shooting people, beating people up, and committing other criminal acts. These are thought to be the causes of the Sandy hook shooting, The Naval yard shooting, and the massacre at Virginia tech. A solution to the problem that has been implemented is the Nationwide rating industry. This also limits the amount of violence that can be put into video games nowadays. This rating system also judges based on the amount of violence in the game whether this content is appropriate for certain age groups. Another possible solution is stricter laws preventing the use of m rated games to children that are severely under age. This would allow parents only to enjoy these games until those children have reached an appropriate age to where they can play these games.
First, one would have to analyze the causes of such violence in these people. One cause that researchers have debated upon is the fact that the rewards, the achievements, are the main reason for these acts of violence some researchers say. “In 2006, an 18-year-old named Devin Moore was arrested in Alabama on suspicion of car theft. The police officers brought him into the station and started booking him without any trouble. Minutes later, Moore attacked one police officer, stole his gun, shot him and another officer and then fled down the hall and shot a 911 dispatcher in the head. He then grabbed a set of car keys on his way out the back door, got in a police car and drove away.” (Layton 2013) Moore had no history of criminal activity and it was thought to be strange that all of a sudden one boy would go on a shooting spree in the middle of a police station. It was later found out that he had been playing a lot of grand theft auto. This game rewards players with experience points and money for pulling off heists but in this specific instance there was a tie to the fact that players get experience points for escaping the police and that is what he did. His distinction between the rules in reality and the rules of the game world were somehow detached. He must have thought he was in the game where you use the money you receive money to buy armor and weapons which enable the player to pull off bigger crimes and to hurt more people. Another example would be the Call of Duty franchise. This has a multiplayer element that is based on large team versus team battles with as many as 8 to 32 people playing at once. During these certain games, you either are taking down certain enemy strong points or destroying certain objectives. Any game modes you play you are trying to kill the players on the enemy side, either to obtain experience, or to protect or attack objectives. After extended periods of time these games have been found to make children more aggressive. “High levels of violent video game exposure have been linked to a delinquency, fighting at school and during free play periods, and violent criminal behavior.” (Anderson 2013) this shows that this is a cause for bad behavior in people.
Another cause of the violent acts against people is the missions in the games that cause players to go through high stress situations involving the character and the player are put through. Most of the time these missions call for acts of violence to get out of these stressful situations with enemy upon enemy raining down upon you. “Many studies have found the same thing: A dose of violent gaming makes people act a little more rudely than they would otherwise, at least for a few minutes after playing.” (Carey 2013) These stressful situations that these games put their players through are a large cause for the player to seek an outlet for their built up adrenaline. Some of these people seek criminal activity or acts of violence. Some studies found that college students who played violent games compared to those who played games filled with non violent themes were more prone to anger. (Anderson 2013) This is why the missions in the violent games contribute to the violent things that players do after they play these games.
The effects of this constant bombardment of violence toward players while playing these games is a negative one. Players often are desensitized to violent acts that go on around them because they are used to it because it is presented to them so often in these types of games. There has been shown a,”Decrease in empathy” when people in these studies had a prolonged period of playing those games (Shaw 2013). This can be as simple as seeing a classmate being beat up and laughing while it is happening because of the violence that these video games promote. This is a major problem because people don’t think like they usually would after playing games and are less sensitive to those who happen to be around them. They often act rude or they can just be plain mean to those around them.
Another effect that video game violence has on players is an increase of violent behavior. “The average offender had committed around nine serious acts of violence.” (“ScienceDaily”) In cases where violent acts that supposedly had been caused by video games almost all of them had committed acts of violence before then bringing a very popular discussion whether it is the violence in the video games themselves or if it is the background that the person comes from and if the family has a history of violence. It also has to do with the game because in comparative studies some say “it is because the comparative game is less exciting.”(“Do Violent”) some studies would agree because usually the games that they compare these mature games that have a heavy amount of violence against games that are designed to entertain children under the age of ten. The only problem with that is that some people have been found to have no history of violent behavior but after playing those games commit violent acts against innocent people.(“Layton”)
A solution to the problem of video game violence would be a national rating system which is already in effect and it is named the E.S.R.B. It has caused the sale of mature rated games to minors plummet ever since it had been implemented. This prevents those that are too young for the inappropriate material that is showcased in these games from seeing these things. It also makes it illegal to sell minors games that they are not old enough to buy. For instance a 8-year-old boy cannot buy an M (17 and up) rated game to prevent the child from being exposed to the killing that might scare the child or hurt him in terms of his psychological development. This has proven to be a very good idea with violent video game violence that has been declining in the United States because of it.
Another solution would be to make sure that parents are informed about the effects that these games have on children. “The consequence of this psychological effect is that people may often agree that media violence has a bad effect on some people, but not on themselves.This thinking leads to a denial of the overall importance of the effects from a public health standpoint.” (“Bushman”). This happens all over the country with our young people. They don’t realize the fact that they also become very violent and aggressive and often act out against the people they love first. This is why parents if informed can know the signs in their children. The signs are as follows: outbursts of rage shortly after finishing a game, not being as sensitive about violence that goes on around them like laughing when someone gets punched in the face for no reason, and becoming more aggressive in their everyday activities such as being more physical with siblings or friends.
The E.S.R.B. which stands for the Entertainment Software Rating Board determines how games are rated. Their rating system goes from E for all ages of players, T for those who are 13 and older, and M for mature players which happen to be those who are the age 17 and up. Now the E.S.R.B. was created to rate games like the way we rate movies. Their whole goal is to make sure that these games are appropriate for the right age range. So if we prevent children from going to R rated films the same concept is applied to M rated games. This has decreased the amount of violence since it has been introduced and therefore has become a very good solution to the problem at hand.
In conclusion, violent video games are having a negative effect on our culture. They are exposing children to the horrible acts of violence that go on in our world at a young age. These games also have been linked with the Shootings such as Columbine and Sandy Hook. Tighter control on violent video games would do this nation some good. This would decrease the amount of crime that happens with our teens and young adults. Things like the E.S.R.B. have already shown to have a major impact on the amount of crime that has happened based on violence that kids learned in video games. In this upcoming era for the gaming industry the need for parent involvement will be much greater due to the fact that games are getting more violent and more life like.
Violent Video Games: They are Bad for You