How to Combat the Effects of Violent Video Game Playing on Children
“Stay alive at all costs! Kill the bad guys! Head shot!” These are just some examples of the dialogue spoken amongst children who play violent video games such as Call of Duty and Halo. Twenty years ago, this would not be the typical game play dialogue amongst children, but with the surge of popularity of violent video games this is now becoming the norm. Playing these violent video games is just another way to pass time on a Saturday morning or an afternoon after school. However, this pastime comes with repercussions. Studies have shown that consistently playing violent video games leads to psychological, mental, and social disturbances in children. Some extreme cases of the effects have been seen in tragedies such as the 1999 Columbine shootings, the Virginia Tech massacre, and most recently the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in which each criminal had been known to be an avid video gamer and practiced for their crime using violent first-person shooter video games. The repercussions of playing violent video games can be stagnated if parents take the initiative to discuss the inappropriateness of violence, limit the amount of time their children play video games, and understand the ESRB system.
To completely distance children from violent video games would be extremely difficult. According to the Children NOW organization (an organization “for people who care about children and want to ensure that they are the top public priority”) 89% of video games have some form of violence and 50% have some form of serious violence. These numbers indicate that the ultimate goal of the game is to perform an act of violence, ranging from killing or assaulting characters to destroying a building. Studies reveal that the showing of violent content can affect the brain of a child. Constant exposure to violent video games tends to desensitize children; essentially making children believe that there is nothing wrong with violence. Dr. L. Rowell Huesmann, the Director of Research Center of the University of Michigan who’s dedicated his work to studying the issue of media violence explains, “When you’re exposed to violence day in and day out, it loses an emotional impact on you. Once you’re emotionally numb to violence, it’s much easier to engage in violence.” (Englander, 2003) Exposure to violence is inevitable, whether it be through the news, daily life, or first-hand accounts. However, the glorification of violence in video games is detrimental to a child’s mental state. However, there is a government system that parents can take advantage of to familiarize themselves with the violent content of video games
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) system was created as a result of growing concern over the vending of violent video games to children. The ESRB system has three main components: a rating category specifying what age group the game is appropriate for, a content...