A video game is “an electronic game in which players control images on a television or computer screen” (Merriam-Webster). Video games have been entertaining and challenging gamers since the Game Boy to modern console games. Despite the simplicity of the definition of video games, a video game, especially ones containing violence can have a large effect on the gamer. Because of the realism and advancements in the video game industry, video games can influence the player, and can make the gamer more aggressive, even if the game is not a violent video game. Even though video games have grown in popularity over the past decade, some have not been too popular with parents, for the reason that they are too violent. Violent video games affect kids’ behaviors and health, video games also affect people’s social and academic life. Lastly, what do parents do about violent video games?Order now
The effect of video games can be detrimental to the player’s physical health. When someone plays video games, they are in a seated position. “Studies have shown major health effects linked to sitting time, such as an increase in type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease” (Asap Science). In this study, researchers have shown that sitting for long periods of time can lead to many health problems, because the gamer is seated while playing, it can be said that video games can also cause health problems. Furthermore, in the same study, researchers found a correlation between mortality and sitting down (Asap Science). The longer one sits down, the more likely they are to die prematurely. Video games also add to the already growing obesity problem. For “every hour those children would spend playing video games, doubled their risk of growing obese” (Marcovitz 69), this is because if the kids in the study were to be playing basketball for thirty minutes, they would have burned 280 calories. In the same amount of time, a gamer that played thirty minutes would have burned only fifty three calories. Video games can leave a lasting effect on the player’s physical health.
Adding to the harmful effects of video games is their violence. Violent video games teach the gamer to be violent; repetition is a common way of learning something, by having the player repeatedly kill over and over again, the games will engrave the killing into the gamer’s memory (Palo Alto Medical Group 1). “You practice being vigilant for enemies, practice thinking that it’s acceptable to respond aggressively to provocation, and practice becoming desensitized to the consequences of violence” (Peng 1). Video games lead to the gamer becoming desensitized of blood, gore and violence. Becoming desensitized to violence can lead to catastrophic results, if kids do not take violence seriously, they can engage in violent actions away from the game, this can lead to fights and the unnecessary injury of the gamer and other people (Marcovitz 1). “Video games increase aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, physiological arousal (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure), and aggressive behavior. Violent games also decrease helping behavior and feelings of empathy for others” (Bushman 1). Video games can increase heart rate and blood pressure; so not only do violent video games mentally make someone more aggressive, the person will also react to the stimuli of violence through physiological arousal (increased blood pressure and heart rate). Violent video games can even decrease empathy for other people and can decrease the likelihood of the player to help other people (Bushman 1). Violent video games have changed player’s behavioral actions towards other people.
Violent video games have a negative effect on a player’s social life as well. “Teens who play violent video games for extended periods of time: … Are more prone to confrontation with their teachers, may engage in fights with their peers, see a decline in school achievements.” On top of violent video games that make the gamer more aggressive towards other people, they can also lead to a lower academic status, because video games take away from study time and because the student may not have a good relationship with the teacher because of video games. Video Games cause social isolation, for example a 15 year old boy in Sweden pass out after playing World of Warcraft for 24 hours straight, he passed out because he started experiencing social withdrawal, the kid was lacking contact with other humans, and his body’s response to the problem was to pass out. On an extreme level, Ruya Cunningham, a college student spent twenty hours a week playing video games, she eventually “dropped out of school, stopped exercising, and even stopped bathing” (Marcovitz 70). Later on, Ruya Cunningham developed depression, but she kept playing video games because she was addicted to the game. When people are addicted to a game, there is a spiraling vortex sucking the gamer away from society and from sanity. As a consequence of playing violent video games, many teen gamers struggle with real world relationships, this is because they form close virtual relationships with people they meet online. A man in Wisconsin has formed a tremendously close relationship with a group of guys he plays online with, he discusses politics with them and they send each other Christmas gifts even though they do not know each other (Marcovitz 70-72). Video games can also affect the players mental and their physiological state.
Video games, especially violent video games have a strong influence because of their many aspects. First of all, most violent video games are played in the form of a first person shooter (FPS). “If the game is a first person shooter, players have the same visual perspective as the killer” (Bushman 1). FPS games make it seem as though the player is walking in the character’s shoes, and as though they are actually in the video game and doing the killing. Not only do violent video games teach people how to kill through repetition, they also reward them for it, “violent games directly reward violent behavior, such as by awarding points or by allowing players to advance to the next game level. In some games, players are rewarded through verbal praise, such as hearing the words “Nice shot!” after killing an enemy” (Bushman 1) . In most games the player will get rewarded for achievements like headshots, multi kills and revenge. Also, if a video game (no matter whether the violence) is too challenging for the player or if the player does not know how to properly play the game, they may become more aggressive than a gamer who was playing a violent video game (Lee 1). Another aspect of video games is that they are interactive, while watching a movie is passive, so a violent video game will make the gamer more aggressive than a violent movie because of the interaction the player has with the game. Video games are influential because of their encouragement to kill and because of the player’s interaction with the game.
Even though violent video games pose a threat to the player, “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” (Palo Alto Medical Group 1). Many parents do not do much to regulate or control their kids gaming habits. Furthermore, “parents are unaware of the content or the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating of the video games their children play” (Palo Alto Medical Group 1). Ratings tell the buyer what age group the game is appropriate for. Ratings also say why it got the rating it did, for example a violent video game may say blood and gore on the label to warn the buy it may be inappropriate for young people. Parents, contribute to the problem because they buy their kids violent video games, usually unknowing it contains violent content. Efforts to ban violent video games have failed in the past, this is because the creators of the video games are protected under the first amendment (freedom of expression) and are allowed to publish whatever they want in the form of any type of media (Marcovitz 76). Parents add to the growing problem of kids and violet video games.
No matter the age of a person, video games take gamers out of the reality of life; they give people health problems, force them to depression, and increase their aggression. An electronic game, in which the player is supposed to have control over, can actually control the gamer’s life. Even though video games can be fun and entertaining, if not played in moderation and appropriately, they can leave a negative effect on the player, and then it’s game over.
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Lee, Dave. “Aggression from video games ‘linked to incompetence.'” BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. .
Marcovitz, Hal. Video Games. Detroit: Lucent, 2010. Print.
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