Two teens in black leather coats waited with their vehicles near the west entrance of Columbine High School. The teens, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold , headed toward the school. Armed with four guns, several knives and dozens of home-made explosives, they launched their assault, injuring several students and killing two before entering the building. The school shooting that took place on April 20, 1999, was evidently a very devastating and emotional day, but what many fail to comprehend is what led these two students to such drastic measures.
After various studies, and concrete evidence, a rational explanation may be that these two killers were fanatical players of violent video games. Unfortunately, the destructive impact violent media has on today’s youth doesn’t end there. Violent video games have been known to cause aggression in players, increased reports of bullying, violence and ruins the virtuous morals instilled in today’s generation. Studies support that there is a strong link between violent video games and aggressive conduct.
Many children that take part in playing violent games often report feelings of aggression and violence. According to the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center, “It is intuitive that young kids who play violent video games, compared to young kids who do not play violent video games, will be more aggressive in certain real-life situations. ” In other words, children who play violent video games tend to see the world from a hostile perspective, triggering them to be verbally as well as physically aggressive.
This is obvious considering the fact that violent video games portray violent behaviors and suggestive material. Procon states, “A 2009 study found that it takes up to four minutes for the level of aggressive thoughts and feelings in children to return to normal after playing violent video games”. These four minutes of aggression is enough to compose violent thoughts in children. Exposing our adolescents or even our general population to these sorts of behaviors can lead to serious and possibly fatal consequences, for instance bullying and school shootings.
Violent media can be very influential and unhealthy exposure may result in disastrous consequences, such as bullying. Though it may seem extreme, studies reveal that after just 10 minutes of violent video games the mind becomes desensitized to the fact that you’re killing someone, and according to psychologist Michele Borba, it can also result in less empathy towards others . Adolescents that play violent video games tend to associate pleasure with the ability to cause pain in others(“Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence”).
Players can sometimes confuse fantasy with reality and at the very least, their brain finds happiness in the suffering of others, which could possibly lead to bullying. The 2008 study Grand Theft Childhood reported that 60% of middle school boys who played at least one Mature-rated game hit or beat up someone, compared to 39% of boys that did not play Mature-rated games (“Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence”). Young people that bully others often times are also involved in playing violent video games, and the violence portrayed on screen, lead players to violence in real life.
Not only do violent games contribute to bullying, scientists also suspect that violent games may play a role in school shootings and other massacres. One of the most extreme, and disturbing effects of violent media is evident in school shootings such as the Newton Elementary Shooting, killing 26 first graders and the Columbine Massacre, killing 13 students. The Hartford Courant has reported that, “Adam Lanza, Newton Elementary school shooter, spent hours playing graphically violent video games in his basement before the shooting that killed 26 children and faculty at the school and Lanza’s mother at her home.
” Obviously, Lanza was influenced by the violence in the video games which then caused him to commit these horrific murders of young, innocent children. According to the Carey Benedict, a journalist for The New York Times, families of the victims of the Columbine shooting sued Sony, SEGA and Capcom for the violent video games the gunmen, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, played. Klebold and Harris were avid players of violent games, The New York Times states, “They [Klebold and Harris] relied on(…) games to express their rage and(…) cutting them off in 1998 sent them into crisis.
” When the teens lost their priviledges, they went on a violent rampage to express their rage and committed a mass murder, The gruesome images portrayed in games can possibly lead to extreme mental issues and destroy the morals we strive to instill in our youth. Our adolescents today will create an impact on tomorrow but our hopes of a bright future may be marred due to the violent nature of video games. Video games cause a decrease in sensitivity and compassion in adolescents, making them less caring and unsympathetic.
The American Psychological Association states, “playing violent games is also related to children being less willing to be caring and helpful towards their peers. ” Video games decrease compassion in kids, and could possibly lead to an insensitive, hostile generation. In addition to reducing sympathetic emotions, video games also allow children to witness foul language, teaching them vulgar words which could influence them to use them in real life (“The Positive and Negative Effects of Video Games”).
Another effect, violent media has on today’s generation are gender inequality. In a majority of video games, women are often portrayed as weaker characters that are helpless or sexually provocative. Procon has stated that, “A 1998 study found that 21% of games sampled involved violence against women. ” Victoria Beck, a professor at University of Wisconsin , states that, Video games showing sexual objectification of women and violence against women resulted in statistically significant increased rape rape-supportive attitudes for male study participants.
” This proves that exposure to sexual violence in video games is associated to increases in violence directed at women and fake attitudes about rape such as, women incite men to rape or that women secretly desire rape. This sort of an outlook on women could greatly harm our adolescents and laws of today’s and tomorrow’s society, possibly causing rape and therefore, leading to all sorts of violence. Insensitivity and rape, these are only a few of the critical effects of violent media, but what exactly is the cause of these disasters?
It is apparent that playing violent video games has many destructive effects, but the serious psychological effects are often overlooked. Douglas A. Gentile, a psychologist in Handbook of Children, Culture and Violence, states, “In a series of studies with children adolescents found that video game violence exposure was related to a wide array of aggression. ” Video games seemingly cause aggression in people, and extended exposure could put our future in jeopardy. People who played video games obsessively could also become socially withdrawn, like the shooters in the Columbine Massacre.
Constant exposure to digital violence could fuel their minds and give them the idea that it’s okay to commit acts of violence. The opposition may claim that, not everyone is affected by the violence presented in some video games, but violent media affects everyone, at least, to some extent. For example, playing video games could be compared to smoking cigarettes. A single cigarette won’t cause lung cancer, but smoking over weeks or months or years greatly increases the risk.
In the same way, repeated exposure to violent video games may have a cumulative effect on aggression. Though, only one third of smokers get cancer that does not necessarily mean that smoking is acceptable for the other two thirds of smokers. Similarly, video games may only have an extreme effect on those with mental health issues, but this does not mean that the repeated acts of violence portrayed in these games is suitable for others to observe, in fact, the repeated exposure could have a damaging effect over time.