Stop Blaming Video Games!
The video games phenomenon is somewhat new in this modern society. Although they often to be entertaining, the contents have become more violent and disturbing as computing technology has become much more advanced. These days, the popularity of violent video games has caused an increase in controversy. Parents and experts feel that some games are just too violent and they demand the government to regulate the sales of these games. However, I strongly believe violent video games do not cause an increase in aggression in adolescents and the forceful plan by the government is caused by an exaggeration of the effects of violent video games and this plan are indeed pointless.
Besides the violent contents, video games have several positive aspects. Based on my experience, video games can push children's competence to the limit by forcing them to master certain ability to overcome the obstacles in the level. For example, "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six" series have become one of the games that require a solid teamwork. The player acts as the leader of an elite anti-terrorist squad consist of 3-4 members. At the beginning of the game, players can choose how to infiltrate the terrorist compound, either by planting an explosive on the door, using a fast rope from the rooftop or simply breaching into several doors to create a surprise assault. These options will ignite the sense of logical thinking and strategy formations in which formal education does not offer.
Aside from the cognitive aspects, video games are also the tool of social interactions. Friendships can sometimes be developed through playing video games and ultimately keeping them away from drug usage and violent activities. Most of the video games today have either multiplayer or online capabilities or even both. For example, I made friends with several Japanese and lots of Americans from playing "Call of Duty 4" online. The game focuses on eliminating the other team hence teamwork has a major role in succeeding the game. With a headset (a combination of a headphone and a microphone), my team members and I discuss and plan a strategy effectively and sometimes talk about our backgrounds. Personally, meeting lots of people online develop my English ability (since English is not my first language) and social skills because for some people, starting a conversation with a stranger can be really tough. In general, video game is an astonishing tool to keep children entertained during leisure time.
On the other hand, some people, although they already know some of the positive aspects of video games, still believe that the negative will overcome the positive ones. The article "Don't Shoot: Why Video Games Really Are Linked to Violence"by Amanda Schafferfrom Slate.com stated "The connection between violent games and real violence is also fairly intuitive. In playing the games, kids are likely to become desensitized to gory images, which could make them less disturbing and perhaps easier to deal with in real life.When video games aren't about violence, their capacity to teach can be a good thing. For patients suffering from arachnophobia, fear of flying, or post-traumatic stress disorder, therapists are beginning to use virtual realities as a desensitization tool."(Schaffer) Though thispresents an evidence that violent games do in fact increaseviolent thoughts, this data still cannot serve as an evidence because the test is conducted in a controlled environment, without considering other aspects that might result inthe change in behavior. Additionally, although violent video games might expose children to violent behavior, the amount of violenceare not as great as the ones in movies and television. Thenews is filled with stories of war and murder, and nearly every movie contains some forms of violence. Plus, these two media are different from games in a very important way because they involve realpeople, not computer-generated characters. As mentioned by Dr. Kipling D. Williams Ph. D, one of the social psychological science faculties in Purdue University, children's violent tendencies can be diverted towards violent video games rather than actually doing it in the real life. (Williams)
Prof. Williams also pointed out that, besides playing violent games, genetics and environmental aspects and self-control must be considered as some of the factors that contribute to the increase in aggressiveness. Genetics tend to play a huge role in personality of a person. Some person might have a tendency to be more rebellious and aggressive. Moreover, easier access to firearms in several countries can lead to violent thoughts and behaviors. "Guns can act as a stimulus because it reminds the person of aggressive behaviors seen on television or maybe in real life. If the person does not have a solid self-control, it can lead him to a violent behavior." (Williams) Self-control is one of the main aspects because no matter how many violent stimuli in the environment are, self-control can suppress one's violent and aggressive thoughts.
Prof. Williams strongly believes that there is no single cause that can lead to an increase in aggressive behavior in children, consistent with Dr. Craig A. Anderson, Ph. D statement during an interview with MSNBC, "Video game violence is only one risk factor for aggressive behavior in the real world. There are also dozen or so known risk factors. It is not the smallest risk factor, but it is an important one." (Anderson)
Finally, I believe that regulations will not prevent children from playing the games they want to. They will still get their hands on those games, whether from a parent, sibling, or older friend. Making violent video games illegal might increase children's curiosity and make the child want to play it more so that heor she can see form himself what all the controversy is about. I think that the responsibility lies within the parent, not the government.
Schaffer, Amanda. "Don't Shoot Why Video Games Really are Linked to Violence." Slate. 27 April 2007. 18 Apr. 2008.
"Violent Video Game." MSNBC TV. 19 Sept. 2006. 18 Feb. 2008.
Williams, Kipling D. Personal interview. 24 Mar. 2008.
Sample Cause and Effect Essay on Video Games Influence of Children
Video games have been a part of children's life for the past few decades. It all started when Atari came up with its first gaming console, which included a very simple game of tennis. The controller had just one stick and one button to play with. Now, we have many different types of consoles available in the market with very complex games that requires controllers with two or more sticks and a variety of buttons. Video games are almost second nature to the modern children and they are more comfortable playing them. Playing video games can have many different effects (both positive as well as negative) on children. Some of these effects include increasing hand-eye coordination and increasing dexterity mental skills; a decreased interest in other activities such as studies and sports; and a very negative effect of inducing violence.
One of the most positive effects of video games is increasing the dexterity of a child and improving his or her hand-eye coordination. As mentioned earlier, the new video games that are coming out are extremely complex and they involve the movement of many different kinds of sticks and buttons on the controllers. These can be very good for children as they learn to make fast connections between what they see and what their hands and fingers are doing. This allows them to think quickly and improves their reflexes. The newest games are very precision-based and it takes very minute and accurate movements for the children to control the characters. This helps in making the children much more adept at handling and operating real-life machinery and objects.
Another effect that playing videogames have on children is that they tend to get addicted to playing these games and give them foremost priority. This takes the children away from their other responsibilities, such as doing house chores, homework, and other physical activities. Children also end up spending more time playing videogames in front of television screens than playing real and actual sports that involve physical exercise. This in turn can have many health-related problems for the children, as they can get obese if they don't exercise and stay home playing video games. This is perhaps the worst negative effect that videogames can have on children. Parents and educators all over the world are concerned about this phenomenon and they are urging the children to not spend so much time playing video games. Many new video game consoles, such as the new Nintendo WII, have come out with games that require users to actually get up and move.
Many researchers have talked about the effects of viewing violence in the media and how it affects children. Videogames takes this to another level, where the children are actually participating in being violent in the video games. There are many game out there that allow the children to play arm bearing characters who can kill anyone that they want, steal cars, and commit many different kinds of crime. These games can have negative implications on the children as they get immune to the idea of committing crime and end up believing that it is all right. Research is still ongoing on this negative effect and it has not entirely been proven or disproven as of yet.
We find that playing videogames can have various effects on the children, both positive as well as negative. Even though the children can benefit by increasing their dexterity and improving their reflexes, the cost of them losing out on their physical exercise and homework, as well as their becoming prone to violent acts, are way too much. It is important that the parents and the educators take up this problem seriously and enable certain rules and regulations that allow children to divide their time responsibly between playing videogames and completing their studies and other responsibilities.