The Negtive Effects of Video Gaming on Children Children don’t have to buy an expensive gaming system to play video games anymore, than can simply log onto the internet through their home computer or their handheld devices and they have an array of videogames to choose from. Every time a child pops a role playing videogame into their gaming console or logs onto the internet to play so called interactive video games, they enter a virtual world where there are no real consequences for their actions. While playing violent video games children can choose to play the violent roles of either car thieves or killers.
The more time a child spends playing video games the less time they spend engaged in normal social activities with their friends. When a child is allowed to spend hours a day playing video games, especially violent role playing games, they can cause them to become violent, socially isolated, and depressed. First person role playing games allow children to identify with their character (Harding). The more time children spend as killing machines in the false reality of the video gaming world, the more desensitized they become to death and killing in the real world.
Studies have shown the more time children spend playing violent video games, the more likely they are to respond to real world situations with aggression and violence (Gordon). A 2004 study published in the Journal of Adolescence found children, particularly teens, who played violent video games are more likely to become aggressive, confrontational, and see a decline in their academic performance (Harding). Allowing children to play violent video games is not worth the risk they pose!
Children are exposed to enough violence through television without the help of violent games offered to them over the internet and through popular video gaming systems. Video games do not only expose children to violence they allow them to engage in it through the violent roles they allow them to play. Many of the roles children play over the internet or through their game consoles simulate real world situations where they can steal and murder with no consequences.
Parents should not need to read the results of a study for them to realize that allowing their hild to play violent roles in video games, where they kill and steal, will encourage violent behavior from them in the real world. During September 2009 in Ohio a sixteen year old boy named Daniel Petric was forbidden by his father from buying the new version of the violent video game Halo that he was obsessed with. After being forbidden from buying the new version of the violent game Daniel snuck out of his house and bought it anyway. When Daniel’s father discovered he had disobeyed him, and bought the game, he took it away from him and locked it in his lockbox where he kept his gun.
Later that same night, sixteen year old Daniel unlocked his father’s lockbox to retrieve his game and found his father’s gun. After finding the gun Daniel went into his parent’s bedroom and shot both his father and mother in the killing them (Gordon). No one can say with absolute certainty that the video game Halo caused the boy to shoot his parents. One thing is obvious, if the boy’s account of events are to be believed, the game played a huge factor in his descion to murder his parents that evening. Violent behavior unfortunately is not the only negative effect from children playing video games to often.
A recent study by Douglas A Gentile, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University found that children who spend several hours a day playing video games are at risk to become addicted to them. Once a child becomes addicted to their video game, their addiction can cause them to become depressed, anxious, and have social problems including social isolation (Gilmore). If a child is spending several hours a day gaming they can very easily become depressed. When a child spends most of their day playing video games they do not engage in normal healthy physical activity with their friends.
It makes sense that the more time a child spends isolated playing video games the more likely they are to become depressed. Children need to spend time interacting with their friends in order to develop normal social skills. When children isolate themselves playing videogames alone all day, they begin to lose their friends and social skills. Studies show that the depression caused from children pathologically playing video games can be easily lifted when they simply stop playing them (Frontelera). Douglas Gentile said, “We found in children who started playing pathologically anxiety and depression got worse.
And, when they stopped gaming the depression lifted” (qtd. in Gilmore). The idea that allowing a child to play his or her favorite video game for a couple hours a day can lead them to social isolation may sound farfetched, unfortunately it is not. The more time a child spends playing video games the less desire they have for one on one human contact. Although, children have the ability to interact with other players including their friends through the internet, their friends become part of the game itself and there is no real contact.
Children need to spend time in social environments with their peers in order to learn and maintain the social skills they need to navigate through life. When a child loses his or her social skills they quickly become isolated and depressed. Their isolation and depression can lead them to identify themselves more with the character they are playing in their videogame than their own real life. First person role playing games allow children to identify with their character. Studies have shown the more time teenagers spend playing violent videogames at home the more likely they are to respond to real world situations with aggression and violence.
A child’s imagination is amazing and sometimes limitless, unfortunately it can become dangerous when they begin to imagine themselves stealing cars and murdering people while playing first person role playing Videogames allow children to become kings and queens, or car thieves and murderers. Children can become so entranced by the different roles they play in the virtual worlds created for them through videogames that the line between the real world and the virtual one depicted in the video games they are playing becomes blurred. . Violent video games rewarded children for things like stealing cars and killing people.
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