Videogames and Violence in Children Term Paper

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Video Games & Violence in Children

"It depends," Eisenman (2004) stresses in regard to whether playing violent video games, one of the primary contemporary substitutions for yesteryears' play, increases violence in youth. Eisenman (2004) concedes that although video games may, under particular circumstances, increase violence in some children, they also provide enjoyment, and likely improve perceptual and motor skills. He contends that a person predisposed toward violence could potentially more easily become more prone to displaying violent behavior when encountering violent images, whether these surface in the media, in a neighborhood, in homes or in video games. In the study conducted during 1999, by the Media Analysis Laboratory at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, entitled "Video Game Culture: Leisure and Play Preferences of B.C. Teens," the video game industry earned 10 times the amount of children's television production: 30% of the U.S. toy market of $8.8 billion; larger than Hollywood's box office gross ($5.2 billion). ("Technology: Violence and Video Games," 1999, p. 173)

According to Reuters (2007), "For 2006, PwC's preliminary estimates are for the U.S. gaming market to have expanded 10.6% to $9 billion."

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TOPIC: Term Paper on Videogames and Violence in Children Assignment

Macpherson (2002) notes in her study that, "Violence is not a new phenomenon," and notes David Gill (cited by Macpherson (2002) notes in her study that, "Violence is not a new phenomenon," David Gill (cited by Macpherson, 2002) describes violence as: "acts or conditions, which obstruct the spontaneous unfolding human potential, the inherent drive towards development and self-actualization. This may occur at interpersonal; institutional and societal levels." Dr. Anne Ganley (cited by Macpherson, 2002) describes violence as: "harm or threatened harm to a person, to assert power and control without regard to another's well being, and is done to control or dominate." Levinson (2006) presents a simple, straightforward definition of violence. He purports that violence occurs when one individual "inflicts or threatens to inflict physical or emotional injury or discomfort upon another person's body, feelings, or possessions." Another definition for students, cited by Levinson (2006), purports that "Violence is any mean word, look, sign, or act that hurts a person's body, feelings, or things." Violence may range from a rude act like breaking in line to "the Holocaust of World War II." According to the American Heritage Dictionary, six separate entries are needed to adequately define the word. At times, the setting also defines whether an act is considered violent or not, whether it occurs on a community sidewalk or at a football game. Causes Contributing to "It" the question: "What causes violence?," on the other hand, is not so easily answered. Researchers attempted answer this contemporary concern in a number of ways; however, no specific answer has yet merited the approval of the majority of researchers. In the school setting, for example, "Some experts believe that because violence has become an accepted norm in the media, children have become desensitized to the level of violence around them. Other experts say that parents contribute to the problem of violence in schools by not communicating responsible values to their children or by their own violent behavior." (Levinson, 2006) One study indicates that playing video games did not contribute to teenagers becoming more aggressive, albeit, later research proposes video games may contribute to aggressive behavior in some youth, "under some circumstances.... "(Eisenman, 2004) One has to question: Why the different results?" (Eisenman, 2004)

More recent video games, Eisenman (2004) reports, "are more violent than the one used in the earlier research by Winkel et al. (1987)." He purports that two types aggression exist: proactive and reactive. In proactive aggression, no provocation exists; however, one expects aggression to lead him/her to his/her goal. When reactive aggression occurs, a person perceives the provocation. Individuals who are habitually aggressive reportedly tend to over-perceive that others act aggressive toward them, even when this is not true.

It" the depiction of violence in video games, according to millions of Americans, Witham (2002) reports, dramatically contributes to "carnage in our streets, on our playgrounds and in our schools...." Proponents of this particular perception range from politicians to worried parents. Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman, a military "expert" regarding the psychology of killing, contends that violent video games, along with other representations of violence, "break down a natural immunity to killing our own kind, and after repeated exposures, desensitize people to committing violent acts." (Ibid) on the other side of the question regarding the impact violent video games exert on youth, however, millions of Americans argue that the opposite proves true. These individuals include First-Amendment specialists, individuals involved in producing video games, as well as a number of "America's best academic minds and experts in the fields of human behavior." (Ibid) Kill-ology? The unnamed author of "Technology: Violence and Video Games" (1999, p. 173) reports that Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman spent more than 25 years studying and learning and studying "how to enable soldiers to kill." Techniques the Army utilized to enable soldiers to kill, Grossman contends, reflect the identical techniques contemporary violent video games incorporate.

Approximately 75% of murders of children in the industrialized world occur in the United States (Communities in Schools, 1997). (Aspy, Oman, Vesely, Mcleroy, Rodine & Marshall, 2004) Grossman reportedly claimed that some violent video games serve as "good training for murder," because they teach the player to target and aim for the "enemy's" head; to use kill the targeted individual with one solitary shot. ("Technology: Violence and Video Games," 1999, p. 173) in the study Aspy, Oman, Vesely, Mcleroy, Rodine and Marshall (2004) complete, these researchers note that "antecedents to school violence offer insight into individual risk factors as well as family and community contributions to the problem." Instead of violent video games, risk factors such as bullying, juvenile delinquency, coming from a single-parent household headed by the mother; having siblings or parents previously and/or currently involved with the criminal justice system; using cigarettes, "alcohol, and marijuana at an early age; earn money selling crack cocaine; have a friend who sells drugs; have high achievement in mathematics, but not reading; have high rates of suspension and expulsion; report early sexual activity and numerous sex partners; and exhibit no aspiration for higher education (Daley & Onwuegbuzie, 1995)." (Aspy, Oman, Vesely, Mcleroy, Rodine & Marshall, 2004) in addition, research found that when a youth participated in one risk behavior, he/she put him/her self at risk for other risk behaviors (Flisher & Kramer, 2000). Carrying a weapon was noted to be a predictive indication of involvement in violence. Risk factors contributing to violent behavior were also noted to be linked to a family's available economic resources. Still another potential risk noted for violent behavior was related to being a child living in a single-parent home with a current or former teen mother. (Aspy, Oman, Vesely, Mcleroy, Rodine & Marshall, 2004) Researchers collected data from 1,350 randomly selected households with parent-teen pairs, who resided in inner-city areas of two mid-western cities with populations of approximately 500,000 and 400,000. Results noted that explanatory variables significantly associated with no physical fighting. i.e., the absence of physical violence included participants: "not skipping school; happy at school; friends stay out of trouble; resolve conflicts without fighting; speak calmly, even when angry; did not miss school because felt unsafe; never had something taken by force or threat; never threatened with a weapon; and never stayed inside because felt unsafe." (Aspy, Oman, Vesely, Mcleroy, Rodine & Marshall, 2004) Ultimately, the authors for this study point out that the implied identification with school, conflict management skills, and a safe neighborhood or school environment, but not violent video games.

Video Game Player's Brain

In 2005, Rene Weber, a researcher on the project and an assistant professor of communication and telecommunication at MSU (Michigan State University), and colleagues completed a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to explore the effect video games produce on a person's brain. According to these researchers, "There is a neurological link and there is a short-term causal relationship." (Violent Video Games, 2005) Researchers of the fMRI study observed and recorded the brain-activity patterns of 13 German male volunteers, ages 18 to 26. Participants played a minimum of five hours of video games each week, with each participant averaging 15 hours per week of video game play. The median age for these males beginning to play video games was 12 years old.

Weber and his colleagues purport:.".. playing violent video games leads to brain activity pattern that may be characteristic for aggressive thoughts." (Violent Video Games, 2005) the following image presented as figure (1), obtained from MSU, portrays: "brain activity images during video game play in characteristic regions of interest." (Violent Video Games, 2005)

Figure 1:

Brain Activity Images Recorded During Video Play ("Violent Video Games," 2005)

Positive Proponents Pointed Out Deubel (2006) points out that a positive aspect of computer games; stressing that research confirms particular games, including some online games, are successful "when designed to address a given problem or teach a certain skill..."

Research does agree, albeit, that "children express what… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Videogames and Violence in Children.  (2007, October 6).  Retrieved October 16, 2021, from

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"Videogames and Violence in Children."  October 6, 2007.  Accessed October 16, 2021.