Developing Aggression: Violent Video Games Essay

938 words - 4 pages

The first set of cold, clammy hands closes around my ribs. Another circles my ankle, my arm, my neck. With an irritated sigh, I restart the level for the third time as the words, “Game over” flash across the screen. Sound familiar? This scene is very common among modern zombie apocalypse games. Though the titles of these games vary, the theme remains the same: to fight for one’s life. Users are thrust into a world where they must combat violence thrown at them with violence of their own. The sheer thrill of it can be very exciting and relates well to many youth because of its life or death component. All of a sudden, eight year old boys are armed with machine guns to blast the heads off of shuffling zombies, bug-eyed aliens, and more commonly, modeled soldiers. But, while the video games continue to be mass produced, the cognitive and social skills of America’s youth suffer. With the mental health of the newest generation on the line, is it really justifiable to pass off buying the newest violent video game as innocent fun?
Cognitive skills are skills that allow children to grow and develop into adults mentally. They are the tools for understanding the building blocks of academic material and more importantly, how all of it fits together. Being able to prioritize problems, understand them, and find solutions are cognitive skills. Interestingly enough, violent video games mimic these skills in the way that gamers are confronted with an enemy that they must defeat within a certain time interval. In a way, when the gamer defeats an opponent, they have solved a problem. Most often the opponent is defeated by simply having the “bigger gun.” The trouble is in the fact that users begin to gain a confidence in their virtual victories that is hard to switch over to reality. The way a person views a video game problem should be much different than the way they view a real life problem. Violent video games blur this line between virtual challenges and real life challenges. They enforce the idea that all problems can be solved by using impulsive action and the “bigger gun” way of dealing with anything that gets in a persons way. Craig A. Anderson, Ph.D. said, “Violent video games provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations” In reality, problem solving takes careful planning and looking at all sides of an issue before making a decision. Violent video games derail learning this skill.
Basing social skills off of video game experiences is okay when a person is seven, but not when they’re fifteen. The case with violent video games, especially online ones with interplay is that the gamer becomes wrapped up in their own personal environment outside of reality. In a gaming world, a user can do almost...

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