Violent Video Games Breeding Violence?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
This work is to show how perhaps the fault lies in the user and not the software, when discussing video games relation to children's violent behavior.

Submitted: May 03, 2012

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Submitted: May 03, 2012

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Violent Video Games: The Scapegoat for Our Children’s Behavior

Violent video games are to be blamed for our children’s violent behavior these days, or so many believe. But to what extent can we blame violent video games and not point the finger at all of the psychological factors that are involved in every case. In my opinion, every child that is a bully or decides to become a terrorist has some deeper problem than just being an avid player of video games. Doug Lowenstein represents the video game industry as a whole stating, “I don't think video games inspire people to commit crimes… if people have a criminal mind, it's not because they're getting their ideas from the video games. There's something much more deeply wrong with the individual. And it's not the game that's the problem." (Leung, CBS News). We need to look at the environment, the parenting, and the daily struggles that are faced by children in our school systems.

When people say that kids are just mimicking what they see, this is a very true statement. The old expression, “monkey see monkey do” has been the basis of human evolution and development. We all learned to stand and walk as children by watching all of the other people around us, therefore mimicking “real” people. So the common misconception of believing that children playing video games and watching these images is forming a learned behavior seems to be valid. But this idea couldn’t be further from the truth when kids know that what they are playing is fake and just for mere entertainment. “Children are able to distinguish between reality and fantasy between the ages of 3 and 5, according to new research at The University of Texas at Austin.” (“Young Children”). Children are playing these video games for fun and know that what they are doing is a game, hence the word “video games!” So if learning to behave is derived from playing video games, then we had better bar our doors shut and seek shelter from all the children running around in mobs wielding shotguns and samurai-swords.

If we can all agree children mimic real people then it seems logical to look at the parents next. If a child’s parents lack the proper parenting skills of teaching their child what is right and what is wrong, then that is where the problem lies for so many troubled kids. Parents deciding to ignore their children by not listening or watching for cries of help, seen in so many troubled adolescents leads to a drastic change in the child’s behavior. Some of these troubled adolescents that have taken to terroristic actions by shooting up their schools have been associated with violent video games being the cause as well. But when these children’s parents think it is ok to have an arsenal of machine guns in their home and not keep them locked up and out of reach from their children, than the fault lies with the parent’s neglectful nature. So many forms of entertainment have been blamed for the issues we have with our children, and this isn’t the first form of entertainment media that has been society’s scapegoat. Paul Smith is a First Amendment lawyer who has represented video game companies and states, “In the 1950s, lots of people blamed comic books for kids' bad behavior, which is the same phenomenon playing itself out again with a new media.” (Leung, CBS News).

The worst part about kids is that they can be cruel to one another and push their peers to the point of breaking without even realizing how influential they can be on one another. Most children that play video games say that it is an outlet for releasing unwanted aggression or frustration in general. The violent video games that have received this bad reputation of influencing children to become aggressive have turned out to be some of the best anger management tools that are available for the child. Instead of going out and looking for trouble and an outlet to release their built up aggression, these kids stay home and take it out on some fictional characters in their games. Some of these kids just feel pressured in school and need to escape and blow off steam with some fun role playing game that takes them away from reality for a while. In the end, these kids realize that video games are just games and don’t constitute for anything more than sheer entertainment, not to be exploited as a teaching tool for how to treat others. More than anything else, games can help antisocial individuals to befriend other children with similar interests via the internet. So many kids have problems making friends and feel that they are all alone, but when they share a common interest it makes it that much easier to make friends. If it weren’t for video games I fear there would be more acts of aggression accounted for with children in our society, and many more incidents that could have been prevented by a little harmless fun.

To blame video games for kids being violent is saying that anything a child views will have a direct impact on what that child does. My nephew is 8 years old and loves all of the marvel comic superhero characters. All of the recent movies that have plagued theaters for the past few years have embodied at least one of these characters. They are always depicted as death defying stunt devils, jumping off of buildings tall enough to kill any living person. And my nephew wants to be just like them, but he knows that it’s all just a fantasy someone came up with to entertain people. I can guarantee that he will never perform anything that is harmful to his self or others just because the fictional characters did so in the movie. Point being, kids are not as gullible as we all would like to think. They are not going to go out and kill or hurt people just because a video game is depicting violence. It’s all just fun and games, and until our society can accept the fact that maybe digging a little deeper to find the root of the source is more logical than pointing a finger at something that is in the same category as the “little black box” every family in America watches, then there will always be ignorance towards gaming.

Works Cited

Young Children Learn to Tell Fact From Fiction. Dec. 4, 2006. April 23, 2012.

Leung, Rebecca. Can a Video Game Lead to Violent Behavior. CBS News. Feb. 11, 2009. April, 22, 2012. < http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/04/60minutes/main678261.shtml>


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