Research Paper: Video Games and Violence in Children

Pages: 10 (3864 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 14  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Recreation  ·  Buy This Paper

Video Games and Violence in Children

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a video game as an electronic game that is played on a video screen and often emphasizes fast action ("Video games"). Computer games are also referred to as video games and according to the encyclopedia Britannica, it is any game which is interactive that is operated by computer circuitry. The machines on which electric games are played include general purpose shared and personal computers, arcade consoles, video consoles that are connected to television sets and handheld game machines. Video game as a term represents the totality of these formats or more specifically those games played on devices that have video displays like television or arcade consoles.

Video game culture

Video game culture is a form of media culture that is new and its influence comes from video games. Video game culture came about after the digital revolution of the last decade changed the film branche rapidly. According to the Media Analysis Laboratory of Simon Fraser University, the first video game, "Space Wars," took PDP1 computer that was room sized and was worth millions of dollars and was located at the basement of the MIT and was created by Steve Russell. This invention showed the possibility of computers as a tool for fun and has, since then, had a profound impact on children's culture in the contemporary society. Russell applied the same cybernetic principles of 'interactivity' that was at the time associated with office technology and automation, to children's entertainment and therefore creating, out of the TV screen, a medium that was entirely new. Over three decades after the invention of the video game, video gaming has become the fastest growing of children's cultural industry and also the most profitable (the Media Analysis Laboratory).

According to Browning, the video game phenomenon's cultural effects are greater than its economic effects. Video games have been blamed for causing everything from suicide to school shootings, like in Littleton, Colorado in 2006. This has caused video games to be taken more seriously giving good and bad results. Good results have included higher game quality games that do not rely on shooting and racing alone and there have also been limits on what children of a certain age can access and buy (2).

Video games have changed a lot and evolved overtime with the introduction of the internet. Video and computer games have influenced all aspects of modern life. Video games are played in a variety of ways socially involving domestic gatherings or even publicly. This can be accomplished through the use of Local Area Network that enables family and friends to create a social event for friendly competition amongst them.

The study of brain with games

Scientists have found that computer games stimulate only those parts of the brain that are devoted to vision and movement and do not aid the development of other important areas of the brain (Wearden). There has been concern about children who spend many hours playing games not developing their frontal lobes that are important for the control of behavior and the development of memory, emotion and learning. This is discouraging as the new generations of children play computer games that are different from those in the past. This affects the children in negatively as the society we live in generally grows more violent. Students are doing bad things as they play games and they are refraining from activities that stimulate them intellectually like reading and learning arithmetic. Scientist found that it is important for children to practice basic mathematics, reading and writing so as to boost the frontal lobe development (Wearden). The development of the frontal lobe is important as it enables one to control their behavior. These were results obtained from a study that was carried out on hundreds of students playing a Nintendo game and was compared to other students who were practicing basic arithmetic. According to Wearden, the results showed that there was a lot more brain activity that was needed to solve arithmetic tasks than the one used to play video games and there was a great difference in the activity in the frontal lobe.

How video games influence children

According to Norcia, video games have been available to people for the last 30 years and are a unique form of entertainment as they encourage players to become a part of the game's script. Video games have become more sophisticated with time and require players to pay attention constantly to the game rather than doing so passively while they do something else like watching television. This has brought about positive and negative impacts on those who play the games specifically the children (Anderson and Dill 779). A common positive impact that is used with reference to video games is that it helps the player, in this case the children, may improve their manual dexterity and computer literacy. With technology always improving and changing, players are able to learn the use of better graphics which give a playing experience which is more realistic. This quality of the video games makes the industry a powerful force in many lives of the adolescents who use them (Norcia).

Violence characteristics

There have been numerous studies which show that video games especially those which have violent content and therefore making adolescents and children more aggressive. A reason for the increase in aggression and aggressive behavior in adolescents is linked to the amount of time they spend on playing video games. A study showed that a majority of teens admitted that their parents did not set a limit on how much time they spent playing video games. This study also showed that these parents did not pay attention to the content or the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating of the video games which their parents played (Norcia). Another study showed that adolescent girls played games for 5 hours on average and adolescent boys played for a total of 13 hours on average (Carnagey et al. 492). Teens that played violent games for extended periods of time tended to display certain characteristics like they tended to be more aggressive, more prone to confrontation with their teachers, most likely engaged in fights with their peers and showed a decline in their academic achievements.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board usually considers a number of factors when rating games. The content considered is the amount of violence, sex, controversial language and substance abuse that a game might contain. it's developed guideline help the ESRB five an age recommendation and content descriptor to each game that has been submitted to them. These rating symbols include EC meaning early childhood and that the content is suitable for children who are older than 3 years of age and does not contain objectionable material, (Norcia). E means that the content is suitable for everyone who is older than 6 years of age and may contain minimal violence and some comic mischief. T means that the content is suitable for persons aged 13 and older. Its content is more violent than that of the E. rating and has mild or strong language or suggestive themes. M is for mature content, meaning that it is suitable for people who are older than 17 years old and has more mature sexual themes, violence that is intense and stronger language. An adult only game is symbolized as AO and it means that the content is suited for adults and may contain graphic sex and/or violence. Nobody under the age of 18 should be accessing the game. A game that has been submitted to the ESRB and is awaiting a final rating is usually symbolized as RP meaning Rating Pending.

Video games may increase aggressive behavior due to the violent acts being continually repeated throughout the video game. Repetition has long been considered an effective teaching method as it reinforces learning patterns (Walsh 3). Players are encouraged identify with their character and role play them, also referred to as "first-person" video game. In this way, the players are also able to make decisions which affect the actions of their character. After a limited amount of time has gone by, a player can "prime" aggressive thoughts automatically. Norcia further says that researchers found that players with prior experience of playing video games responded with a level of aggression which is more than normal when they encountered confrontation. Norcia further wrote that a joint statement was issued before the Congressional Public Health Summit in 2000, the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry cautioned parents on the violence in the media and the negative effect it has on children. This report also stated that this exposure can elevate aggressive feelings and thoughts in children especially and that these effects could be long-term.

According to Harding, violent media spurs individuals to violent actions in two ways. First is through imitation whereby children, on watching violent actions internalize the message… [END OF PREVIEW]

Effects on Violent Video Games on Children Thesis


Violence in the Media TV Movies and Video Games Research Paper


Video Games, Violence, Aggression and Exhaustion Term Paper


Video Game Violence and Restrictive Regulation Term Paper


Violence in Media the Public Essay


View 262 other related papers  >>

Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

Video Games and Violence in Children.  (2010, May 24).  Retrieved August 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/video-games-violence-children/92139

MLA Format

"Video Games and Violence in Children."  24 May 2010.  Web.  19 August 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/video-games-violence-children/92139>.

Chicago Format

"Video Games and Violence in Children."  Essaytown.com.  May 24, 2010.  Accessed August 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/video-games-violence-children/92139.