On April 20, 1999, two adolescent boys walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, and shot 12 of their classmates and a teacher. Then, they killed themselves. When authorities investigated, they found that the boys had played thousands of hours of a video game that had been set to occur in their high school. They used yearbook pictures to create the game's virtual victims. The event that took place at Columbine High School is only one of many tragedies that have taken place due to the influence of video games. Violent video games should not be played by children and teens because they gain early exposure to extreme violence, mature themes, and explicit language.
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Games with mature content have age ratings that are supposed to limit their viewing audience, but a recent study by the AAP shows that 90% of parents don’t monitor the ratings of the games that their children play (Eakes). Many parents don’t realize that ratings even exist, or don’t know what they mean. The rating M for mature means that the game can contain victims being shot, beaten to death, decapitated, burned alive and urinated on. Some also present positive views on prostitution, racism, misogyny and drug use (Eakes).
With mature content comes mature language, and many games are filled with words and innuendos that young children, and even adolescents, should not be exposed to. Many parents worry about what kind of language their children are exposed to. Most of the time, parents don’t realize that language is a concern when it comes to video games. Studies have shown that the language that children are exposed to can affect their behavior. One study on the correlation between profanity and aggression was lead by Sarah Coyne, a professor of family life at Brigham Young. Coyne said:
“From using profanity to aggressive behavior, it was a pretty strong correlation. And these
are not even the worst [profane] words that kids are exposed to, since there are seven ‘dirty’ words that you’re not allowed to say on TV. So we’re seeing that even exposure to lower forms of profanity are having an effect on behavior (Park, “Children Who Hear Swear Words on TV Are More Aggressive.”).”
Not everyone feels that video games are directly linked to aggressive behaviors in children. Christopher Ferguson, chair of the psychology department at Stetson University, says:
“Studies that link violent video games to violent behavior, he says, often fail to account for other factors that can contribute to aggression, such as...