Video game violence is an increasing problem in today’s society with violence as one of the most popular themes. Games such as “Grand Theft Auto” and “Call of Duty” are among the most popular games and have been scientifically proven to have a major effect on teens. Many people try to argue that there is a difference in the effects between behaviors after engaging with video games. Video games have the same effects as other forms of entertainment, but other forms of entertainment do not get attacked like video games because the other forms are much larger and have a much wider audience. Playing violent video games can alter men’s brain function, cause teens to drive recklessly, and can contribute to aggression. Many people disagree that violent video games cause behavior problems. It seems doubtful to some people that such violence and aggression can be caused from watching flickering pixels on a nineteen-inch television screen. In the scale of time, television has existed for less than a wink, and if it is indeed undoing what oral and print cultures have so laboriously built, then those traditions may be far briefer than advertised (Smith).
Throughout mankind’s history, each new means of expression has been castigated as the cause of evil in the world such as, books, art, and music (Smith). Some people even believe that violence is linked with aggressiveness and stress rather than with video game violence (Smith). Some may even say, “If society could just put limits on X, society would have fewer problems with Y.” That is not how life works. People who disagree that violent video games cause behavior problems believe that violence exist because people exist, but their logic is simply not enough (Smith). On the contrary, research on the troubling effects of video games is plentiful and persuasive. There is overwhelming evidence that witnessing and engaging in video game violence is predictive of increases in aggressive behavior. In fact, the research on the effects of exposure to video game violence is in keeping with research conducted over the last half century about the effects on people’s behavior of watching television violence (Wendling).
As video games come more engaging, society spends ever-increasing amounts of time playing them (Wendling). In the popular video game “Grand Theft Auto,” people have the power to solicit prostitutes and then kill them to get their money back, drive down the sidewalk of a virtual city mowing down pedestrians, run around attacking people at random, and all sorts of other demented activities that would be tragic in real life (Wendling). These types of video games make these specific crimes seem okay. A recent study provides parents, physicians, and scientists with data proving that differences in brain function exist in teens that play violent video games, compared with those who do not (Wendling). Dr. Matthews and his colleagues at Indiana University, Indianapolis, randomly assigned the adolescents to play either “Medal of Honor,” a violent video game, or “Need for Speed,” an equally exciting but nonviolent video game, for thirty minutes immediately before imaging (Wendling).
The group that played the nonviolent game showed more activation in the frontal lobes, and the group that played the violent video game demonstrated less activation in the prefrontal lobes (Wendling). There have been numerous studies since the 1970s demonstrating that adolescents exposed to violent media demonstrate aggressive behavior, but because the adolescents in this study were randomized into two similar groups, the findings go more directly to the question of causation than did previous research (Wendling).
Playing violent video games can alter men’s brain function, cause teens to drive recklessly, and can contribute to aggression. There have been multiple studies to prove that playing violent video games can alter men’s brain function. In one study, Dr. Matthews and his colleagues demonstrated the short-term effects of violent video games on brain functioning adolescents (Birk). Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) revealed decreased activity in areas of the brain involved in inhibition and attention after thirty minutes of game time (Birk). Dr. Matthews saw that there is a decrease in normal blood flow after a week of playing violent video games (Birk). Violent video games could also lead teens to drive recklessly. Some researchers conducted phone interviews with more than five-thousand teenagers over the course of four years (Correa). Ninety percent of the teenagers they interviewed responded that they were engaged in risky driving habits, including speeding, tailgating, weaving through traffic, and running red lights (Correa).
It is clear that the video game exposure preceded the risky driving because the study began when the participants were playing video games but were too young to drive (Correa). Numerous racing video games make it look cool to drive recklessly, which can cause a great impact on teens to drive in this manner. Lastly, video games can contribute to aggression. School shootings, such as the infamous event at Columbine High School, have stimulated interested in research on the violence of boys and men (Levart). One focus, the effects of violent video games on aggression, has begun to yield some empirical results (Levart). Today, videogames are highly engaging and interactive, putting players in a first-person perspective where they must make a decision to perform a violent act prior to performing the act (Levart). Effects of long-term exposure of violent video games include personality change and beliefs that aggression is an acceptable way to handle a problem (Levart). This may have something to do with the obvious that the objective in most video games is to kill.
Video game violence is an increasing problem in today’s society with violence as one of the most popular themes. Playing violent video games alters men’s brain function, could cause teens to drive recklessly, and can contribute to aggression. Many people try to argue that there is a difference in the effects between behaviors after engaging with video games. To some, it seems doubtful that such violence and aggression can be caused from playing video games on a nineteen-inch television screen. There are others who totally disagree with that logic. People do not just watch video games, but they interact with them.
Wendling, Patrice. “Violent Video Games After Brain Functioning in Imaging Study.” Clinical Psychiatry News Jan. 2007: 39. Psychology Collection. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
Birk, Susan. “Playing Violent Video Games Alters Men’s Brain Function: From the Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.” Clinical Psychiatry News Jan. 2012: 16. Psychology Collection. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
Correa Frances. “Games Inspire Reckless Driving.” Clinical Psychiatry News Oct. 2012: 28. Psychology Collection. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
Levart, Ronald F. and Kimberly D. Thomas. “Does the Endorsement of Traditional Masculinity Ideology Moderate the Relationship between Exposure to Violent Video Games and Aggression?” Clinical Psychiatry News Oct. 2012: 20.1. Psychology Collection. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
Smith, Mark. “Video game backlash?” Technology & Learning Nov. 2005: 6. Psychology Collection. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
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