The Debate Over Video Game Violence

1588 words - 6 pages

Approximately 90% of American kids ages 8 to 16 play video games for about 13 hours a week (Harding). There are many different kinds of video games but the particular genre that is becoming more and more popular among kids is violent video games. Games like “Grand Theft Auto”, “Call of Duty”, “Hitman” and “Mortal Kombat”. Each year these games become more realistic and more violent, leading some people to believe that there is actually a link between video game violence and real life violence. For decades research has been done on this topic to see if violence in video games can cause more aggressive behaviors in players, especially younger players. There are a lot of factors to consider on this issue like the research that has been conducted, if violent video games have been linked to real life violence and the positive elements that violent games can have. Despite all the research that has been conducted I feel like the results have been inconclusive.
Every year video games are becoming more realistic and gorier causing this issue to be more relevant than ever before. Research led by Craig Anderson, a psychology professor at Iowa State University, found that violent gaming can increase feelings of aggression and antisocial behavior in teenagers (Maughan). Furthermore, Anderson did a study on three different groups of kids: 181 Japanese students’ ages 12 to 15 years old, 1,050 Japanese students ages 12 to 18, and 364 U.S kids’ ages 9 to 12. He found that in every group, the students that played a greater number of violent video games did, over time, become more aggressive than the students that didn't play many violent games (Harding). Dr. L Rowell Huesmann, director of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, calls Andersons findings “pretty good evidence” that video games with violence can lead to aggressive behaviors. He also provides an explanation as to why violent games may cause this kind of behaviors:
When you're exposed to violence day in and day out, it loses its emotional impact on you. Once you're emotionally numb to violence, it's much easier to engage in violence (Harding).
In addition, further research has been done by another psychologist from Iowa State University, Christopher Barlett. He conducted an experiment with 47 undergraduates and had some of them play the very violent game “Mortal Kombat” and others play a nonviolent game. Each student would play their game for 15 minutes and after they finished playing, Barlett asked them to give fellow students hot sauce. Interestingly, the group of student who had played “Mortal Kombat” where more aggressive in the amount of hot sauce they gave their fellow students then the group that played the non violent video game (Carey). Similar studies to this one have been conducted and have found similar results. Furthermore, Professor Laura Berk says violent gaming can cause teenagers to “develop antisocial behavior and...

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