Adolescent Aggression Based on Violent Videogames
Violent video games played by millions of people every day results in animated characters having hearts ripped out, heads decapitated, and blood squirting across the screen as their mutilated bodies are erased from the screen. Most players play these games to pass the time, increase hand eye coordination, and create harmless competitions amongst those playing. However, some who play these games are entranced by the violent aggressive behaviors demonstrated in the games and may even act out behaviors learned from playing them. Is the correlation between violent video games and violent aggressive behavior demonstrated by those who play these games a coincidence or do these games actually enhance these antisocial behaviors?
On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold launched an assault on Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, murdering 13 and wounding 23 before turning the guns on themselves. Although it is impossible to know exactly what caused these teens to attack their own classmates and teachers, a number of factors probably were involved. One possible factor is violent video games. Harris and Klebold enjoyed playing the bloody, shoot-‘em-up video game Doom, a game licensed by the U.S. military to train soldiers to effectively kill. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which tracks internet hate groups, found in its archives a copy of Harris’ web site with a version of Doom that he had customized. In his version there are two shooters, each with extra weapons and unlimited ammunition, and the other people in the game cannot fight back. For a class project, Harris and Klebold made a videotape that was similar to their customized version of Doom. In the video, Harris and Klebold dress in trench coats, carry guns, and kill school athletes. They acted out their videotaped performance in real life less than a year later. An investigator associated with the Wiesenthal Center said Harris and Klebold were “playing out their game in God mode”(Pooley, 1999).
Cesarone stated in the results of his study in 1993, “video games have a direct effect on people’s behaviors. Violent video games, games with fighting, killing, or intentional harming of a game character, are most likely to have an effect on someone’s behavior. Mostly young adolescent males and college males play violent video games. At one time, video games were thought to have a positive effect on children” (Cesarone, 1993). This assumption does not hold true in today’s time with the high graphic content of today’s games. The fantasy violence present in today’s games is more realistic than ever, characters punch, kick, shoot, and mutilate each other in every way imaginable. Very few games are liked by adolescent and college males that do not involve violence in some way. Positive correlations are yielded between video game playing and aggression (Fling et al., 1992). For many people, video game playing might...