Violent Video Games And Increased Aggression

2027 words - 9 pages

Video games have been a rapidly expanding industry since their inception in the 1970s. Along with their growth have come concerns about violent video games and their effects on aggression and violence in young people. The endless numbers of school shootings have pushed this issue to the forefront. These events brought about the question: do violent video games induce aggression in youth? That’s the question I set out to answer by looking at research. The research shows that there is a link between playing video games and increases in aggression in adolescents. What implications does this fact have ethically? It means that video game producers and distributors need to be held ...view middle of the document...

So it is clear that many children have access to violent video games and they have a big impact on their lives simply because of the amount of time spent playing them.
The shooters at Columbine high school, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold frequently played violent video games such as Doom, and Harris even created a modification for the game. The modification allowed two shooters to use a large arsenal weapons to shoot unarmed civilians (Anderson 353). Is seems eerily close to the actual events that took place. But just because individuals who were involved in school shootings frequently played violent video games, it does not mean that video games increase aggression in people. We have to look to research to see if a link between the two exists.
Unlike television and motion pictures, violent video games are a relatively new invention and studies on their impact are not as numerous. There has been a lot of such research on the effects of movies and television. Over five decades, research has shown that “even brief exposure to violent TV or movie scenes causes significant increases in aggression, that repeated exposure of children to media violence increases their aggressiveness as young adults, and that media violence is a significant risk factor in youth violence” (Anderson 354). These types of media do increase aggression and violence, but how do violent video games compare to these forms of media? This is the relationship that researchers Craig A. Anderson and Brad J. Bushman studied.
After 33 independent tests that involved 3,003 participants, these researchers have found that “video-game violence was definitely associated with heightened aggression” The effect is so high, that it is in fact “as strong as the effect of condom use on risk of HIV infection” (Anderson 357). The research shows that exposure to violent video games poses a threat to young people. Exposure to these games is “positively associated with heightened levels of aggression” and “negatively associated with prosocial behavior” (Anderson 358). The bottom line derived from these studies is that violent video games do in fact have negative effects on youth since they cause aggression and increase antisocial behavior.
Not only are violent video games made available to kids, they are also heavily advertised to them. There is a loophole that allows games to be advertised before they are rated. One article notes that PlayStation magazine, which has 40% of its readers under 18, ran an ad for a game called Evil Zone, encouraging players to “get a lesson in Pain 101.” The game’s rating was pending. Moreover, “Sports Illustrated for Kids ran an advertisement for Resident Evil 2 before it was rated ‘Mature’” (Anders 271). Mature games are intended for those over 17, but magazines for kids are advertising them. Ratings are also sometimes left out of ads completely, or printed so small that one can hardly read them (Anders 272). There is clearly a moral issue with...

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