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The issue of violent video games has raised major controversies among different stakeholders for a long period now. The root cause of this controversy emanates from the fact that violent video games can affect the child’s aggression, significantly.
This issue has raised a critical debate that has lasted for a long time. However, the two sides have not reached to an agreement. Many researchers have taken many studies on this issue. Some have found that video games have an impact on the children while others have proposed that there is nothing wrong with playing the same.
Some of them have also come to the conclusion that some children can be affected while others cannot be affected by playing these games. These differences have led to controversies over the issue. Although various attempts has been made to come up with a consensus, there is no effective conclusion that has been done on the impact of the long term effect of violent video games and the long term implications on individual’s behavior.
There are several players who are involved in this controversy. We have some concerned parents and legislators on one side and the video game manufacturers on the other. For instance, many concerned parents as well as legislators are determined to promote the restriction of the sale of these video games to minors.
Policy makers play a significant role in this debate because they determine the measures taken against (and for) the issue. They have come up with a number of measures in order to legally restrict the minors from accessing violent games. On the other hand, the video games manufacturers have been arguing otherwise.
The opponents of the video games have been arguing that these games can significantly increase aggression in individuals. According to the study conducted by Bushman and Gibson, violent video game can increase aggression long after the game is off especially among the men (Bushman & Gibson 22).
Gibson and Bushman have carried several studies on the psychological issues that affect behavior. Their study is therefore important in understanding the issue at hand. In their study, 20 students were let to play video games half of which were violent and half non-violent. The results indicated that there was no difference in aggressiveness in both categories. However, the men who were made to think about the game became more violent (Teng 599).
Based on this argument, the opponents of violent video games argue that individuals will become more and more aggressive in case they are continuously exposed to video games. This may increase the cases of violence in the society with time.
Past studies have indicated a close relationship between the times spent playing these games and the impact they have on the children’s behavior. The longer the child is exposed to violent video games, the more violent the children became (Gunter 59). Gunter did an intensive examination of the myths surrounding the video games especially on its impacts on individuals.
Most of the video games entail the killing of innocent people, which involve the use of various weapons. By participating in such games, children will become demoralized and this will change their behavior gradually. Parents argue that when the children are exposed to violent video games, a significant provocation will lead to unnecessary high level of aggression among them. Many parents are therefore advocating against the video games in order to protect their children from such impacts.
Many parents and policy makers argue that individuals will tend to imitate certain aggressive behavior when they are exposed to a certain situation. For instance, children may tend to imitate what they have seen when faced by certain circumstance while interacting with their colleagues.
Some of the policy legislators have been arguing that violent video games are the possible causes of violence in schools. For instance, the increased cases of school shootings are to some extent being linked with exposure of the children to violent scenes through video games (Kutner and Olson 86). In their book, Kutner and Olson provide a close examination of the impacts of the video games on the children.
Violent video games opponents have been arguing that exposure of children to such games will encourage fights among them. This frustrates the parents and the guardians of these children. According to the past studies, approximately 20.9% of the girls who were involved in violent video games were in one way or another involved in a physical fight (Kutner and Olson 99).
Similarly, the results indicated that about 51 percent of the boys exposed to violent video games in the past one year are likely to be involved in a physical fight (Nielsen, Smith and Tosca 254). In their book, Nielson, Smith and Tosca have conducted an intensive study on the implication of the video games on the children. They have discussed how these games can affect children negatively or positively. The more violent video games the child is exposed to, the higher are the chances of the child to being involved in violent activities.
Based on these arguments, several states have enacted laws restricting the sale of this game. For instance, the State of California prohibited the sale or rental of video games to minors (Schwarzenegger and Brown 156). In this case, violent video games were considered as all forms of games that involved killing, maiming, or sexual assaults. All businesses are required to abide with these regulations and any violation will lead to fines. However, the software organizations and entertainment association appealed against the ruling.
State legislators argue that the restriction of the sale of video games does not in any way violate the freedom of speech. The court attempts to explain the difference of freedom of speech and other kinds of speech that can be harmful to the children. The state legislators argue that the parents have the authority to choose how to bring up their children. This right is granted by ensuring that they control the resources that the children access. Therefore, it is right for the parents to advocate against violent video games.
The video games manufacturers have been arguing that it is not necessary to ban video games because they play a significant role in learning and teaching purposes. For instance, the have been arguing that such video games can help in motivating the children who will become more determined. Therefore, these games are said to be useful for the young children.
Entertainment associations and entertainment software associations has been actively opposing the idea of abolishing the video games. For instance, these organizations have been arguing that abolition of the sale of these video games is a violation of the First Amendment of the freedom of speech (Schwarzenegger & Brown Et al 152).
This article contains valuable information on the implication of the First Amendment Act on the fight against the sale of violent video games. The article gives the case where software and entertainment associations sued against the decision to prohibit the sale of violent video games. The proponents of video games argue that it is the right of a person to choose which game they want to play. Therefore, abolishing violent video games will be violating individuals’ right to freedom.
Violent games proponents argue that these video games are not a reality but just a simulation of reality. Therefore, they argue that the games cannot affect the behavior of the children. They will just be for entertainment.
Despite the varying differences between the two sides, most of them agree on one issue. For instance, most of them have come to an agreement that the minors are exposed to danger of being affected by these video games. Both sides are convergent on the idea that adults can manage themselves and therefore can be left to choose the games. However, there is a hot debate on video games when it comes to children.
The main target of the video game software companies is to maximize the level of their sales hence maximizing their profits. One of the way through which they have achieved this is by maximizing the level of sales. This has significantly affected their arguments. They will do anything in order to maximize their sales.
Based on the above discussion, it is clear that there has not been any significant study that has attempted to investigate effectively on the impacts of exposure to violent video games on an individual. Most of the studies concentrate on the short term effects. However, these studies have predicted that aggression may extend throughout the life of an individual. There is therefore a need for such studies to be carried out.
Bushman, Brad and Gibson Bryan. Violent Video Games Cause an Increase in Aggression Long After the Game Has Been Turned Off. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2010; DOI: 10.1177/1948550610379506
Gunter, Barrie. (1998). The Effects Of Video Games On Children: The Myth Unmasked. England: Continuum International Publishing Group, 1998. Print
Kutner, Lawrence and Olson Cheryl. Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth about Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2008. Print
Nielsen, Simon., Smith Jonas., and Tosca, Susana. Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2008. Print
Schwarzenegger, Arnold and Brown, Edmund et al. Is the California Ban on the Sale of Violent Video Games to Minors Constitutional? Supreme Court Debates, a Pro & Con Monthly | December 2010 (Vol. 13, No. 9)
Teng, Scott et al. Grand Theft Auto IV Comes to Singapore: Effects of Repeated Exposure to Violent Video Games on Aggression. Cyber Psychology, Behavior & Social Networking; Oct2011, Vol. 14 Issue 10, p597-602, 6p