Video Games and Violence in Children
One of the most fundamental questions that psychologists ask themselves is what leads to violent behavior in people. There have been arguments that such behavior is as a result of a pre-disposition to violence in the media as well as in video games.
This theory is heavily criticized as it is supported. Proponents of this theory claim that playing video games especially by children may lead a psychological formation of violent behavior; however, opponents of this theory claim that there is too much violence in the society and that video games cannot be solely blamed for such violence.
It has been found out that the average child plays an average of about 43 minutes of video games every day. Proponents of the theory explain that video games leads to violent behavior argue that active participation in an activity reinforces learning.
As such when children actively play these video games they are actually learning and involuntarily adopting violent behavior. This is because exposure to video games leads to imitation and further modeling of violent behavior (Rathus, 2008).
This theory is further supported by the fact that repetitive action increases learning about that action, thus repeated playing some video games increases the chances that they will be violent.
It also argued that playing video games has more than physical effect on the child. Exposure to video games has cognitive as well as psychological arousal.
The child cognitively grows knowing violence as a way of life. The child thus builds violent emotions involuntarily, which leads to violent behavior. It has also been found out that children who are exposed to violent games grow to be anti social (Gentile & Anderson, 2003).
On the other hand, this theory has been greatly criticized. To begin with, critics argue that there are concourse studies on the effects of video games on children behavior that can lead to such strong conclusions.
This is because there are no valid procedures that can measure the effects of video games. Such studies also have several weaknesses. It is argued that those who study the effects of violent video games on children fail to have a parallel study on non violent video games.
Furthermore there are a number of positive effects of playing violent video games on children. Other than being active in video games activity, video games act as avenues for children learn how to compete with each other.
Such competition is done of friendly basin and as such reinforces friendship bonds between children. Furthermore children also derive a lot of satisfaction from teaching their playmates how to play and win in such games.
Therefore video games act as a motivator to other socially constructive behaviors that are helpful to the normal growth and development of a child. Therefore violent behavior in children can be attributed to other factors such as the broken social-cultural norms as well as mal-functional homes (Grapes, 2000).
It is factual that exposure for a long time to video games does involuntarily and over a long period of time shape a child’s emotions and cognitions to accommodate a lot of violence as a normal way of life. Moreover violence that is in video games is very similar to violence on the television and as such there is a relationship between violent behavior and exposure to violent video games.
As such the effects of video games cannot be ignored, However, there need to be done extensive studies which will yield conclusive findings that will finally link exposure to v violent video games to violent behavior.
Gentile, A., & Anderson, C. (2003). Violent video games: the newest violence hazard.
In Douglas A ed. Media violence and children: a complete guide for parents and professionals. West Port, CT: Praeger
Grapes, B. (2000). Violent children. Pennsylvania: Greenhaven Press
Olson, C. (2008). Video games and children friendships. Document for interpersonal theory and research newsletter.
Rathus, S. (2008). Psychology Concepts & Connections: Media & Research Update. Ontario: Thompson Learning