The younger generation has grown a fond love for video games. There are so many different genres of games that it makes it impossible for them not to find a game right for themselves. On Best Buy websites rating of the best selling video games for teens Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty Black Ops III, Call of Duty WWII, and Destiny 2 are among the top four sellers. All of those games share a similarity of being a shooting game and three out of four of them are rated “M” for mature, which is 17+.
The rating on video games is designed to reflect the amount of violence, sexually explicit content, or the amount of profanity in it. It’s supposed to help restrict certain games from younger individuals and help consumer decided whether a game is appropriate for themselves or who they are gifting it to. Although despite the age rating, young gamers are finding ways to get access to games with high age ratings.
A survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 97% of young people play video games and routinely able to get there hands on games rated “M” for mature or “AO” for adults only ( School Community Intervention and Prevention). The exposures the young gamers are getting from playing those type of games are not doing them any good besides leaving negative affects on them. Due to the effects of playing video games with criminal and violent content, children are more aggressive towards others, insensitive to gun safety, and disconnected academically.
Video game technology has advanced dramatically since it 1980s. During the 1980s, video games had a simple graphic with innocent a storylines such like Pac Man. The concept of that game was to run away from ghost and collect all the yellow dots in the game. However, today’s video games are much more advanced with realistic graphics, 3D features, and with a wild and violent storyline, such as Fortnite. In this game, players are dropped into an island, have to collect armor and weapons and kill or hide from other players to be the last survivors. Despite the makers creating the game in a cartoonish style with interesting dance moves, it still has the primary purpose to kill other players.
Video game creators are creating games, such like Fortnite, that are subliminally exposing young gamers to violence, causing them to have a negative behavior changes. An international that study that looked at more than 17,000 adolescents, ages nine to 19, from 2010 to 2017, found playing violent video games led to increased physical aggression over time. Even during playing these games, young gamers are lashing out because things are not going the way they want it to be. A 9-year-old from Broadlands, UK smashed his television and remote controller due to losing in his games. His mother stated that “He didn’t play fortnite for a fews days, but it was a nightmare. He was crying and being naughty at school”. Additionally, to physical aggression developing from playing those games, anger issues and aggressive thought can manifest.
According to the center on Media and Child Health, research shows that video games violence can significantly increase anxiety and aggressive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in children over the long-term and short-term period of time ( School Community Intervention and Prevention). Then, if someone is already suffering from behavioral issues and anxiety then it could make their preexisting issues worse. Since violent video games can have that effect on young adults, game creators should strive to make games with less violence. Dimitri Christakis from Seattle Children’s Research Institute said, “ research has shown that a child’s aggressive behaviors decreases when violent media is eliminated and replaced with positive content”.
Crime and violent content video games also tend to have an aduabance amount of shooting and gun in them. Young gamers who are playing those type of games might develop disregards to gun safety and the magnitude of power that a can gun holds. Already kids have injured themselves and other because of curiosity about loaded weapons in there home. “Between 2004 and 2014, over 6,000 minors intentionally shot themselves.
The vast majority of them used guns owned by someone in their home”. Guns and shooting games do not help with decreasing those number, it will only widen young gamers curiosity and make them forget that it’s an actually lethal weapon when used incorrectly. Furthermore, in those types of video games slaughtering your opponent is glorified. The creators make it even worse by giving particular kills greater value such as shooting someone in the head, a headshot. Since it holds greater value in the game, young gamers are going to strive for that type of kills to hold a higher ranking than others. This completely makes them take no notice in the fact that they are executing their opponent with no remorse and it affects their psyche.
“One study involving college students, participants played either a violent or nonviolent video game for 20 minutes then watched a 10-min video featuring real-life violence involving actual courtroom outbursts, police confrontations, shootings, and prison fights. Those who had played a violent game showed a less physiological response to the video of real violence”. Overall, these violent video games are simply brainwashing young adults. They become numb to explicit violence and the potential destruction a gun can cause.
Furthermore, young gamers spending an unbelievable amount of time playing video games. “A 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that youth ages from 8 to 18 devote seven-and-a-half hours a day to entertainment media”. Those long hours spent playing video games has been linked to a decrease in their academic performance. In a study, the results found that young boys had a strong preference for violent games and was associated with lower self-competence scores in one or more developmentally important areas, including academic, interpersonal, and behavioral skills”.
Parents should intervene when it comes to the amount of time their children are playing such games to ensure their kids do not suffer in school. Establishing a set amount of time for them to play video games, can make them have a better academic performance. In a survey-based study that questions parents involvement, found that parents who limited their child’s time spent playing video games that contained violence had a better behavioral and academic outcomes. All parents should take the affirmative to set limitations because they are helping their kids in the long run. Their academic performance, especially for those in high school grades, is important because they indicate whether they get accepted into certain colleges.
Although there is research that supports the negative effects that children could develop from playing high content video games, there is some that say otherwise. “According to a 2013 meta-analysis found that playing shooting video games improved player capacity to think about the object in three dimensions just as well as academic courses to enhance these same skills. They also found that enhanced thinking was not found in playing other types of video games such as puzzles”.
Additional, some think there are other factors have a greater effect on a child’s behavioral development such as the home environment. “Researchers have found that living in a violent neighborhood and experiencing violence as a victim or witness is associated with an increased risk for violent behavior among youth”. Despite the opposing side, there is so much more research that argues how much damage violent video games played on a young adult. Although the home environment could have a greater contributing factor to why young adults are developing behavioral issues it does not help having been exposed to another violent source, such as first-person shooting game. That will just likely increase a youth probability to engage in violent behaviors.
Overall, there simply needs to be a heavier restrictions on the the exposure of high violent content video games for young gamers. For the longest time videos games have been looked as a harmless hobby for children but they have losted their innocent once it’s storyline is intertwined with explicit violence and crime. What many do not know is that those games have a powerful negative influence on the youth behaviors. There has been multiple studies that proven that video games with explicit content can lead to young adults to developing impulsive behaviors, a lack empathy of gun violence, and slacking off in school. The hypodermic needle theory that says that media, which in this case is the video game industry, could influence a very large group of people, young gamers, with “injecting” them with message, violence.
- American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry; Journal of Adolescence; Pew Internet & American Life Project (Pew Research Center), The Center on Media and Child Health; Psychology Today; www.boystown.org
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