Video Games Effect On Society Essay

1593 words - 6 pages

Video Games Effect On Society

The U.S. population consumes violence media voraciously. Youths between the ages of 8 and 18 spend more than 40 hours per week using some type of media, not counting school or homework assignments (Rideout et al.). Television is the most common source of violent media, but electronic video games are rapidly growing in popularity. Numerous studies have shown that video games, especially ones with violent content, make teens more aggressive. Part of the increase in aggressive behavior is linked to the amount of time children are allowed to play video games. In one study by Dr. David Walsh, a majority of teens admitted that their parents do not impose a time limit on the number of hours they are allowed to play video games. The study also showed that most parents are unaware of the content or the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating of the video games their children play. Many scientists have found that video games affect people both positively and negatively.
The interactive quality of video games differs from passively viewing television or movies because it allows players to become active participants in the game's script. Players benefit from engaging in acts of violence and are then able to move to the game's next level. This method of repetition has long been considered an effective teaching method in reinforcement learning patterns. Video games also encourage players to identify with and role play as their favorite characters. This is referred to as a "first-person" video game because players are able to make decisions affecting the actions of the character they are imitating. After a limited amount of time playing a violent video game, a player can "automatically prime aggressive thoughts" (Bushman & Anderson, 2002, p. 1680). The researchers concluded that players who had prior experience playing violent video games responded with an increased level of aggression when they encountered confrontation. In a Joint Statement before the Congressional Public Health Summit, the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry caution parents about violence in the media and its negative effect on children. Their report states that exposure to violent media can elevate aggressive feelings and thoughts, especially in children. These effects on aggressive behavior can be long-term.
Although the first video games emerged in the late 1970s, violent video games came of age in the 1990s, with games like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Wolfenstein 3D. In all three games, the main task is to maim, wound, or kill opponents. The graphics and sounds of these games were cutting-edge at the time of their introduction. By the end of the 20th century, even more graphically violent games became available to players of all ages. Numerous educational, nonviolent strategy and sports...

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