Effects Of Violent Video Games On Children
Before discussing the effects of violent games on children, keep this in mind: two boys, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, loved to play the video game Doom. They played all the time, talked about the game, and even dressed up as characters. Doom is a video game with intense and realistic violence. It was developed with the help of the US military and their ways of teaching soldiers to effectively kill. The two boys were often teased relentlessly by other students and were outcasts. In April of 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, lovers of Doom, entered their school, Columbine High, and begin shooting. They killed 13 and wounded 23.
The debate is whether or not the video game Doom is to blame. Are there effects of violent games on children, or is it just an excuse and someone else is to blame?
Here are some statistics to take into consideration:
- During a study, young men were asked to play Grand Theft Auto III, another video game with a lot of controversy. Studies showed that these young men started to become uncooperative. They discussed that their opinions that use of alcohol and marijuana might not be so bad as they first thought.
- It has been studied that violence in games increases aggressive behavior and thoughts. It also increases psychological arousal.
- Another effect of violent games on children is that they are less likely to be helpful or willing to help someone else.
- There has been a report of increased delinquency and fighting at schools, as well as increased criminal behavior like assault and robbery.
But, do violent video games make a child commit murder such as seen at Columbine?
Many gamers will say they've been playing violent video games for years and have never committed a crime or known other gamers who have. This is even including 1st person shooters, such as Doom, which allow the player to experience the violence through the character's eyes. If they watched themselves murder on a video game and liked it, does that mean they're going to want to do it in real life?
Chances are the answer is no. The effect of violent games on children is slim compared to a child's psychological mind and their outlook on life as shown and taught to them by their peers and their parents. If a child has trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality, then their families have more to worry about than video games. Not every child is going to react to the violence in games the same way, as each child's mind is different and they are all taught different morals.
The best way to handle the "maybes" of the effect of violent games on children is to know what your child is playing. Many games nowadays are beneficial to children and they should be allowed to play, but make sure the games contain only graphics and themes that you, as a parent, deem OK for your child.
Video games have warning labels, but that doesn't mean you should just pick up a game that is rated E (Everyone) and assume it contains no violence. Even cartoon violence, such as Wiley E. Coyote getting blown up by dynamite, could affect some children's minds. Rating boards often claim that there are no effects of violent games on children when it comes to cartoon violence, but a parent might disagree.
Look the game up, find out information on it, and make sure you deem it good enough for your child. Whether you let them play a violent game or not, if your child grows up to push others around on the playground, then video games can no longer be blamed.