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Effects of Violent Video Games: A Review on the Research

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Young People
Wordcount: 1789 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Digital Violence

There is an ongoing rise in video game culture. This is highly attributed to an advancement in technology and the accessibility of video games on various devices. Video games can be found in devices such as, smartphones, computers and other home electronics like televisions. Video games are highly integrable in various settings which makes their accessibility more effective. Gamers, a term coined for video game players, have their own unique culture or a way of life. These extremely accessible video games are highly addictive. Violent video games are attributed to increased aggression which leads to real life violence. Like movies, video games have ratings. Some include E (everybody), T (teen) and M (mature). As the rating grows more mature, the games tend to become more violent just like movies tend to as well. In the past years horrific acts of violence have been blamed on the playing of these violent video games. However, there has not been adequate evidence and therefore, playing video games cannot be attributed real life violence.

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In social learning theory, a theory of learning process and social behavior which proposes that new behaviors can be acquired by observing and imitating others, violent video games effects on human behavior can be better understood. Animated characters in these games are portrayed with qualities of humans. Some of the behavior in cartoons are manifested in real life by children (Gunter 129). Various researches have conflicted on the level of video games to provide psychological conditions that render people vulnerable to aggressive personalities or behaviors. Evidence continues to show that there is a limited connection between arousal of aggressive behavior and media contents in the entertainment industry which includes violent video games (Gunter 130). These games can lead to aggressive behavior but violent behavior in real life can be disputed. The real reason that people commit these violent acts of terrorism is not due to movies and video games, they are due to an unstable living environment , abusive parents, substance abuse, easy access to weapons and being victims of bullying. Therefore, disputing the premise that violent video games can lead to violence in situations of real life.

Following the Columbine shootings in 1999, President Bill Clinton ordered the FTC to do a study on the critical practices in the video game industry. Study show that children were able to buy “M” rated games 85% of the time in 2000, but in 2010 only 20% were able to do such. The video game industry was cracking down on allowing children below 17 to buy those type of video games. But according to a study done at the University of Southern Florida, since the year 2000 violent gun crimes have increased vastly. This show that the video game industry was cracking down on allowing children below 17 to buy such types of video games. But according to a study done at the University of Southern Florida, since the year 2000, violent gun crimes have increased vastly. Earlier this year in February 2019, Oxford Internet Institute and the University of Oxford published a new study discussing the topic. This was the most comprehensive studies to date because it did not use data reported from the teenagers, rather used information from parents and carriers to judge the level of aggressive behavior. They came to the conclusion that there is not enough evidence to correlate video games and violence.

Studies have shown that both genders find joy, relief, and inspiration in video games. Some are motivated by the desire to have fun or being challenged while others take it as a mean to pass time. However, this was more prevalent among boys and they would agree with a variety of reasons to play. To better understand the relationship between videogames and violence , it is important to look at the reason behind the playing of video games. Boys in response to the question as to why they play video games would say that it is as a result of the desire to compete and win against other people (Kutner and Olson 113). Others say that they are able to channel out their anger with these violent games. However, some would also say that they are motivated by the love of weapons and in particular, the guns (Kutner and Olson 114). With this understanding, it is now important to look at whether there is a connection between real life violence and long­time exposure to violent video games.

In addition, studies have provided evidence that video games have the capacity to alleviate aggressive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in both longterm and short­term scale. They have the ability to desensitize gamers and they lose the emotional touch with other humans. For instance, video games have the ability to affect prosocial behavior and the ability to act with empathy or understanding. Longer exposure, to these games, can facilitate aggression in behavior, feelings or thoughts (National Center for Health Research). Aggression is manifested on how people react to various situations. For instance, how one reacts to unpleasant exposure for example how one reacts to exposure to hot sauce or the noise they make while playing these video games. However, studies have limited evidence on the ability of video games to impact violent behavior on child children who are under the age of ten. Evidence shows that exposure to video games is better understood as a predictor of aggressive behavior but not levels of violence. Although violence is as a result of aggression, not all behaviors that are can be violent (National Center for Health Research). Therefore, there is not enough evidence that conform to the premise that, video games can lead to enhance violent behaviors.

New studies have shown there is no definite connection that link violent video games and aggressive behavior. In the comprehensive study published Royal Society Open science, proved that there is no connection between videogames and violence. The ability of video games to contribute to increased levels of violence is only an ideal perspective that has not been supported by sufficient evidence (Barder). Aggression can be linked to individual traits. Therefore, even with exposure to violent games on a long term scale, the aggressive behavior of the individuals to a great part will depend on the personal traits of these individuals ( Przybylski and Weinstein 6). Therefore, violent video games cannot solely be attributed to violence among youths as violence is dependent on the personal traits of the individuals.

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A series of experiments with over 300 participants evidence that concepts in video games that include violence to not impact human behavior that is attributed to aggressiveness and violence (Science Daily). This study was based on the premise that exposing people to violent games makes it easier for them to be violent in real life. However, finds shown that there is no link to connect realism that in violent video games and manifestation of aggressive behaviors that are violent in real life (Science Daily). Considering the various factors that revolve around the playing of these games that are not attributed to violence, gamers are more likely to distinguish between realism in a gaming context and real life. There, they are more likely not to have or portal violence in their behavior.

Violent games make gamer more sensitive to violent actions. For instance, in research conducted at the University of Buffalo with 185 participants, the participant played either as UN peacekeepers or terrorists. Those who played later as terrorists, in analysis later depicted guilt which shows that they were more sensitive to the violent actions of terror. However, those who played as UN soldiers did not show any signs of guilt. This is proof that the two classes of participants recognize the difference between the gaming context and real life violence (Stampler). Therefore, they recognize the unjust behavior or violent actions of terrorists and the immoral traits attributed to it.

With the advancement in technology, the entertainment industry has also taken a progressive course. Video games today have more elaborate visuals which improved their entertainment aspect. They are highly addictive and very popular especially among the young due to its ease of accessibility. With the development of video games with violent themes, various scholars have tried so sought out a connection between exposure to video games and violence in society. Some have argued that long term exposure is attributed to behavior that are aggressive that leads to violence. However, there has not been enough evidence to support the premise. The connection is still unclear. Also, studies have proven that those who play games are able to differentiate between the realism of games and real life situations. Therefore, violent video games do not lead to violence in real life.

Works cited

  • Barder, Ollie. “New Study Shows That There Is No Link Between Violent Video Games and Aggression in Teenagers”. Forbes.Com, 2019, https://www.forbes. com/sites/olliebarder/2019/02/15/new­study­shows­that­there­is­no­link­betweenviolent­video­games­and­aggression­in­teenagers/#51f4ab2a328e.
  • Gunter, Barrie. Does Playing Video Games Make Players More Violent? 2016. Internet resource.
  • Kutner, Lawrence, and Cheryl Olson.
  • Grand theft childhood: The surprising truth about violent video games and what parents can do. Simon and Schuster, 2008.
  • “No Evidence to Support Link Between Violent Video Games and Behavior”. ScienceDaily, 2018, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180116131317.htm.
  • Przybylski, Andrew K., and Netta Weinstein. “Violent video game engagement is not associated with adolescents’ aggressive behavior: evidence from a registered report.” Royal Society open science 6.2 (2019): 171474.
  • Stampler, Laura. “New Study Says Playing A Terrorist in Video Games Might Make You More Morally Sensitive”. Time, 2014, http://time.com/2940491/study­violent­video­
  • “Violent Video Games and Aggression | National Center for Health Research”. National Center for Health Research, http://www.center4research.org/violent­video­games­can ­increase­aggression/.


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