Violent Video Games: A Growing Problem for Adolescents? - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1878 Words
Date:  2023-01-23


In recent years, there has been a notable increase in popularity in violent video games. As this popularity grows, parents and educators have expressed concern about the contribution or cause of violence carried out mainly by the adolescent youth. The violence will include juvenile crimes and the recently experienced school shootings, that sadly has become more rampant in recent times. Institutions such as the press have highlighted the causal connection between violence and video games. They have made it an absolute reality, that video games increase the nature of violence among users. Concerns about various impacts of violent video games and the severe acts of aggression have been debated in the general public, and among social scientists. As the discussion continues, it is essential to note the violent content consumed through video games, contribute to violent behavior.

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Children, adolescents, and adults go on with their daily life activities such as going to school and working, while consuming the media for the most part. Children mostly spend an average of 40 hours a week watching TV and movies, listening to music, video gaming, and spending time online (Arundell, Fletcher, Salmon, Veitch, & Hinkley, 2016). In a representative sample of the US teens, 99% of boys and 94% of girls played video games, and 70% of nine- to eighteen-year-olds report playing violent Mature-rated games, meant for seventeen-year-olds and above (Wright, Ogbuehi., Prieto, & Donthu, 2015).

An analogy is derived between violence in video games and other types of violent media, such as TV shows and movies. In reality, violence in video games has an even stronger impact than violence in television and films, which has implications for the past decades. The primary concept here is to saturate one's perceptions of reality when one is continuously a subject to violent stimuli of any kind. The concern is that in real life, one is more likely to respond violently when facing violent occurrences and, react in destructive ways (Ferguson, 2011). When video games are involved in the picture, it becomes even more cynical because of the interactive nature of video games in particular. The player is not asked to perceive something but to do something actively. Therefore, it increases the stakes.

In comparison with the impacts of other violent media on an individual's behavior, the interactive nature of video games acts more like a form of multiplier of the effects on behavior. Indeed, a video game without violence is hard to find, with the fact that violent contents are present in an astonishing 89 percent of video games (Ferguson, 2011). Moreover, there is violence at more than half of E-rated games, which are intended practically for every age. With such an elevated level of exposure to violence, the effect of violent content on young adults is imperative to understand.

There are three reasons which show that violent video games have forceful implications on an individual's aggression than any other form of media. First, video games are an effective method of interaction, while TV is passive (Kuo, Lutz, & Hiler, 2016). When people are actively engaged, they tend to learn and apprehend content better. For instance, the most preferred and efficient way of teaching a person how to fly an airplane is by using a flight simulator. The simulator, compared to just reading a book or watching a video on how to operate, will engage the learner more.

Secondly, violent video game players have a higher probability of identifying with another violent person (Kuo et al., 2016). The gamers have the same visual stance as the leading killer character if playing a first-person shooter. When playing the game as a third person, the violent nature is controlled by the player from a further visual point of view. In both cases, the gamer is directly linked to a violent personality. While on the contrary, a television show viewer might or might not identify with a violent persona portrayed on the show. Therefore, video game players can immediately relate to a violent personality, when compared to other form of media consumers (Kuo et al, 2016).

Third, violent games recompense violence, such as giving points or enabling players to progress to the next stage of the game (Kuo et al, 2016). In some matches, players receive verbal praise, such as listening to the phrases "nice shot!" when a weapon has killed an enemy. Rewarding behavior will automatically boost its frequency. Unlike video games, the prize is not a direct link to the audience's conduct when watching a tv show. Any pleasure experienced, like watching the "good guys" win, is indirect. The latest research showed that playing violent games results in more powerful impacts than watching someone else play them passively. In this research, some users took part in violent video games while others observed them playing. There were more significant impacts on violence on the gamers than in others who only observed (Granquist, Stromberg, & Soilen, 2015).

One of the main concerns regarding violent video games is how the players expose themselves to the games. There has been evidence of a rise in both brief and long-term aggressive behaviors. Experimental study shows that players are more aggressive by directly playing violent matches (Granquist et al, 2015). Typically, these test surveys expose users to violent games for relatively brief periods of between 15 and 30 minutes before aggression is measured. Aggression is generally evaluated by enabling an actor to blast through headphones using loud noise. People playing violent video games gave their opponents long and more deafening noise blasts than those playing nonviolent video games.

Longitudinal studies have also shown other realistic instances of enhanced aggression. They include arguments with educators and greater participation in physical conflicts. Besides enhancing aggressive behaviors, violent video games can also boost forward thinking (Lobel, Engels, Stone, Burk, & Granic, 2017). After a tough match, individuals list more bold ideas, and more harshly interpret ambiguous narratives. In reality, exposure to violent video games may make the player understand many distinct circumstances in a more aggressive manner. Violent video games can also enhance aggressive feelings on players. People report that they are more anxious and hostile after playing an intense game (Lobel, et al, 2017). This physiological excitement can later influence how the player interprets a mild emotion like wrath at an unrelated case such as having to go through a hesitating remark from fellow individuals. It can make the player feel the emotion stronger than otherwise because of the provocation, which is known as an excitation transfer, stimulated by a violent game. This transfer of excitement might make the player more aggressive because of an increased excitement in a scenario in which he or she might not usually behave.

Age is one of the most crucial attributes that influence how much an individual who interacts with violent video games may be affected by them. Children are particularly at risk for the long-term psychological impacts of being exposed to violent video games (Lobel, et al, 2017). Neurological and cognitive development, emotional maturity, and personality growth are not fully developed at young ages. Therefore, children are more vulnerable to changing their developing scripts, beliefs, emotions, behaviors, and personalities because of the exposure to violent video games.

Another major concern over video games related to violence has been significantly heightened in the aftermath of school shootings within the United States. The rampant violent acts have caught the attention of President Donald Trump. The February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida, left seventeen students dead (Brown, Joshua, & Goodin, 2018). The President then invited gaming companies' executives and critics to the White House. The President initiated the meeting with a montage of video game scenes. "This is violent, isn't it?" Trump asked. The President was concerned with the effects of video games have on young people, and how they are engaging with extreme violence as a form of entertainment (Brown et al, 2018).

In earlier shootings in Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, and at a movie theatre in Aurora Colorado on July 20, 2012, the two young men who fired at innocent civilians shared a common trait. The two were video gamers who seemed to be playing some dark, digital delusion (Brown et al, 2018). It was as if the exposure they had on video game violence, had given them the concept of going on a rampage, or at least fueled their actions. In other words, some fear that these young men began acting in real life in the way they had already been conditioned to think through violent video games. This potential connection raises two main issues. The first is whether the dispute is genuine and whether the correlation exists. Secondly, the relationship, if any, needs policy intervention at the stage of controlling and regulating violent video games.

Conceptually, differences in severity, degree, or scale of how video games relate to violent behavior are usually essential. The use of violence can and does, in the brief term, generate hostile urges and slightly aggressive behavior. Therefore, it is essential to note that violent video game exposure over long periods raises the chances of a person committing violent crimes. The crimes will include murder, rape, or assaults such as the school and theatre shootings. Because of the relationship between violent video games and violent behavior, it is necessary to evaluate the strength or magnitude of this relationship (Ferguson, 2011).

How games are rated, and the target audience is a policy that the government should clearly state to protect the corruption of young minds and to escalate violent behaviors. The loss of lives that have been caused by individuals acting by induced violent behavior should be the basis for need for regulation. The limit of how young people interact with violent content should be governed by strict policies. The function of media violence in such a model, including video games, is not causal. Violent video games could be more of stylistic catalysts. If a person with a high tendency to violence chooses to behave violently, he or she can model the violence to that they have experienced through the media. As such, the violence style or shape can be modeled socially but not the willingness to take violent action. Therefore, a person can model violent behaviors that he or she has seen in a video game (Ferguson, 2011). However, if this video game is limited from the modeling possibilities of that person, violence may happen in another way but not as severe. Therefore, it is also right to say that in some instances, video game violence does not cause violent behavior, but may have an impact on its form.


In conclusion, video games contribute to the causes of violence in modern society. As technology improves, these video games become more realistic. Virtual reality games with themes such as warfare can configure the minds of players to have a notion that they can articulate video game figures in real life. With strict age restriction in other forms of media such as movies, the same restriction should be laid down for video games. Children have unlimited access to console devices, and the content they interact with is unregulated. It therefore emphasizes the need to be more socially responsible with the younger generation. Parents teachers in schools and the federal government are all responsible for the design of the social structure. Violence can be an excellent form of entertainment, but it shoul...

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