Why are video games linked with increased aggression, usually in children; why is criminal activity is associated with video games? Psychologyhas a big factor in aggression as well, a fact most probably forget. ” One study reveals that young men who are habitually aggressive may be especially vulnerable to the aggression-enhancing effects of repeated exposure to violent games” (as quoted in ” Violent Video Games”). ” Ahuman personshould also have the ability to decipher the difference between the real world and what is part of a simulated world”(Nypen). Are video games really the cause of this increased aggression or is there another underlying factor?
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Video games are also said to desensitize players toviolence, making violence not as heinous as it should be. Desensitization is real, and it is rumored violent video games are used in the military for this purpose. A person without existing tendencies towards violence probably will not be desensitized towards actual graphic violence; but if the person had these existing tendencies or some mental impairment, they are more likely to be desensitized. This desensitization can lead to criminal activity depending on the person, like mass murder.
Mass murderers have a warped sense of reality, and violent video games definitely don’t help. Evan Ramsey for example, snuck a 12 gauge shotgun into his Alaskan High school; killing a fellow student and the principal. “ I did not understand that if I… pull out a gun and shoot you, there’s a good chance you’re not getting back up,” (Jaccarino). Quoting Evan Ramsey looking back the event, his warped perception showing. He was already psychologically unstable and video games didn’t help his perception of violence. This is like how someone with PTSD (Post TraumaticStressDisorder) will have a mental breakdown when exposed to certain situations, the video games were the factor that made him snap.
Video games are linked with many negative effects, obesity, lack of social skills, etc.
These effects come from being addicted to video games, like the phrase “ Too much of a good thing” this applies directly to video games. People become addicted when their psychology is already an “ at risk” factor, video games probably never help someone who is already at risk. If someone spends all their time playing video games the positive effects are of course negligible to the negatives. Things like lack of social interaction depend on the video game itself, some video games require interaction with other player to succeed.
With all these cases of murder and crime linked with video games, is anything happening from the government to prevent future incidents? There is a content rating system in place, called the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board). “ The ESRB uses a group of three specially trained raters. The raters are of various ages and background and cannot have any ties to the computer and video game industry. They are not expert game players and are kept anonymous to ensure the integrity of the process” (Crecente).
Even then sometimes there are slip ups with the rating system, like the hot coffee controversy of GTA SA (Grand Theft Auto San Andreas). A mini game found within the games files that allowed you to have sex with one of your in game girlfriends. This was content made by the game’s publisher and the ESRB immediately changed the game’s rating to Adults Only.
This proves that things can get pass the ESRB, even though its whole purpose is to protect from potentially disturbing content. If something like the hot coffee minigame can get past the ESRB what happens to violent content? Take Manhunt for example, a death row inmate who participated in brutal killings in snuff films. This game was banned in many countries, and was blamed on the murder of Stefan Pakeerah. A boy who was murdered by Warren leblanc in a copycat style killing following a execution you would do in the game of manhunt.
These are of course a few bad cases, not every game has a hidden sex scene or such disturbing violence. Games can help with hand eye coordination, logic, multitasking, accuracy and more. Some studies have shown that video games even help surgeons make less errors by increasing their hand eye coordination, also they can even practice surgeries in a video game.
Video games are also used in the military not only for the rumored desensitization. but to increase situational awareness. Strategy games can require you to adapt to changing situations quickly, and adapt correctly, otherwise you are in jeopardy of failing the objective. This translates directly to military’s need to heightened situational awareness, and is beneficial to that goal.
In conclusion video games are linked with increased aggression and criminal activity, probably because of the psychology of the person playing. Video games may increase aggression, but depending on the psychology is how much these video games will effect the person. Kids can be more aggressive after playing these video games, although the effect is minimal. Just because someone plays a violent video game, doesn’t mean they will be desensitized to graphic violence. It also doesn’t mean they are more likely to go out and commit criminal acts such as murder. The psychology of a person is the most determining factor behind it, whether or not people act in such extreme ways to some video game violence. Video games (like any other type of media that can show controversy) seem to be used as a scapegoat to try and avoid the psychological aspect of these cases. Again video games increase aggression, and the trend leads towards that, but it ignores the fact of the psychological stance of the person playing in general.
- Violent Video Games can Increase Aggression. American Psychological Association. Washington, DC, April 23, 2000. 9/22/2015
- Jaccarino Mike. ‘Training simulation:’ Mass killers often share obsession with violent video games Fox News September 12, 2013
- Crecente Brian. How Game and Movie Ratings Work 4/27/10 9/27/2015
- Nypen Tanner. Violent video games used as scapegoat for recent shootings 11/5/2013 9/28/2015