Term Paper: Video Games and Their Effect

Pages: 5 (1435 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Recreation  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Some people, as noted earlier, believe in the 'Catharsis' theory that propagates the channeling effect of playing violent video games that releases aggression. Most experts believe in the 'opposite' effect that finds a direct co-relation between the increasing violence among the youth and their exposure to media violence. For example, the Funk study quoted above found that:

In general, while video game playing has not been implicated as a direct cause of severe psychopathology, research suggests that there is a short-term relationship between playing violent games and increased aggressive behavior in younger children.

Funk quoted by Cesarone)

The proponents of the benefits of video games cite its interactive nature that is supposed to be an advantage over the passive medium of television. Other experts believe that this 'interactivity' of video games in which the player practices the performance of 'violent acts' instead of just watching them is much more damaging. They believe that the more children practice violent acts the more likely they are of performing them.

Increasingly Violent Video Games

Scientists have studied the physiological response of playing violent video games on people by measuring such responses as the heart rate and the galvanic skin response (the electrical activity on the skin). The studies show that the responses vary according to the content of the games -- the more violent games tend to produce a response similar to an adrenaline rush and the reactions were more pronounced in the adolescent males. (Clements). The research also shows that the players of violent games quickly get de-sensitized to the degree of violence. This 'de-sensitization' has more than one disturbing aspect to it. It leads to the development of indifference to violence and death in the youth and induces the manufacturers of video games to make their product even more violent in order to get the same level of response from the players. The development of computer and software technology that leads to increasingly life-like graphics also leads to more life-like and 'graphic' violence in the video games.

Other Negative Effects

Certain other negative aspects of video games are more common sense effects such as promoting obesity that have been confirmed by recent scientific studies. There is little doubt that physically inactive activities like video games have replaced the more physical play activities among children and promote obesity and weight problems.

Another problem of video games is that the games stress autonomous action rather than group action. Most video games are also geared for player of not more than one player at a time. This gives rise to an increasing degree of isolation and works against social interaction and team play.

The contents of most video games contain a level of gender bias that assigns a passive role to the female and sometimes depict them as victims. This has the potential of influencing children's future attitudes toward gender roles.


Video games, like most other technological developments, have their negative as well as positive aspects. It is apparent that video games per se are neither inherently good nor bad. It is only when children start to spend long hours in video games playing that the activity starts to become a problem. Parents, therefore, have an important role in controlling the amount of time their children spend in video game playing and keeping an eye on the contents of the games they buy or download. The manufacturers of such games too have a social responsibility in reining in the amount of violence that is presently depicted in their product as their products are mainly used by children and the adolescent.


Cesarone, Bernard. Video Games and Children. ERIC Digest. 1994-01-00. [Available Online] December 6, 2002 from http://www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed365477.html

Clements, David. "Video violence too close to the real thing." Sterling News Service [Available Online] December 6, 2002 from http://www.media-awareness.ca/eng/med/home/artvidgm.htm

Mitchell, Edna. "Video Games Visit Harvard Yard." September 1983. Antic Vol. 2, # 6.

Available Online] December 6, 2002. http://www.atarimagazines.com/v2n6/videogames.html

Video games: Cause for concern?" BBC News: November 26, 2000. [Available Online] December 6, 2002 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1036088.stm

Funk, J.B. (1993). Reevaluating the Impact of Video Games. "Clinical Pediatrics" 32 (2, Feb): 86-90. PS 521-243.

Cited by Cesarone in "Video Games and Children." Eric's Digest

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