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“. . . a new study has found almost half of all "heavy gamers" are six- to seventeen-years-old” (Bennett). The current generation is one being born into the most technologically advanced civilization ever. While this is excellent from a scientific standpoint, it can have some serious negative effects on children growing up with this equipment. Video games are gradually becoming more popular with today’s youth. The rise in video game popularity has caused a major problem with increased aggression and video game addiction in young players.
There are multiple root issues with video games that have caused younger players to become more aggressive. One of these issues is intensified violence in recent video games. Call of Duty is one game in particular that has been selling like crazy. Call of Duty is a war based fps, first person shooter, game that requires the player to kill opposing team with guns, grenades, knives, and even nuclear bombs. The problem with a violent game like this is that the only objective is to kill other players.
The game is rated mature which means the purchaser must be at least 17 years old to get it, but this doesn’t stop children from getting their hands on it. As technology continues to improve, video games are becoming extremely realistic. This is another cause of aggressiveness in children because it leads to children having violent video game role models. Rather than looking up to professional athletes or firefighters, children are looking up to violent video game characters that do not even exist.
Also, the more realistic the game the more a child might believe that they can do in real life what they see in the game. This is a major issue because it is causing children to lash out at others thinking they are indestructible as they may be in a game. The last cause of increased aggressiveness in children is the lack of parental guidance. As mentioned earlier, most violent video games require a minimum age of 17 to buy the game. Some parents do not even look at a game their kid wants and will just buy it for them to make them happy.
This leads to children under 17 being able to play violent video games that they ordinarily would not be able to buy. Not only are parents enabling the children to play such games, they also are not monitoring them when the children do play the game. Children are playing when they want, for as long as they want, and many parents are not stopping them. These root issues lead to several long lasting effects that have caused younger players to become more aggressive. One of these effects is the acceptance of aggression.
Growing up around violent video games and television shows leads children down a road of accepting aggression. What this means is that the youth believes it is normal to become aggressive in real life. Now this may not be the same level of aggressiveness as shown in video games, but it is still an increase from the normal level. Another effect that video games have caused is the desensitization to violence. What this means is when playing these violent video games, children become so accustomed to this violence.
A study in 2006 showed that after playing 20 minutes of violent video games, students were shown a 10-minute videotape of actual real-life violent acts. While the video tape played, they recorded the heart rate and galvanic skin response, both record levels of arousal and stress, and found that students who played just 20 minutes of video games showed lower levels of arousal to the violent scenes (Bennett). It had just taken 20 minutes of exposure to the violent video games for students to become desensitized enough where they would not react the same way.
Now one could make the assumption that if they are desensitized enough to not be bothered by these images, they would be more likely to react similarly because they don’t see it as an issue. One possible solution to these effects is good parenting. Parents need to keep an eye on what their kids are playing, especially if they purchased a game for their child that is rated for older teenagers. Parents can accomplish this task by placing a filter on the video game console. What this does is allows parents to control what their kids can access and play.
Also, parents can keep a tab on what games their kids are playing and refuse to buy them games that may be too violent for their age. This won’t stop children from going to a friend’s house and playing violent games, but if all parents followed these guidelines than that would not be an issue. Not only is video game aggression a problem, but so is video game addiction. One cause of video game addiction is the increased complexity of video games in the last decade. This has contributed to video game addiction because children have endless amounts of accomplishments and goals they can achieve.
Players become addicted to unlocking new items, maps, or weapons in a game and cannot stop playing. Another feature that has become more popular than ever with video games is playing online. When you play online, you have the option of playing with friends and even talking to them over a microphone. Children are now staying home to play video games with their friends rather than going out and socializing. A second cause of addiction is children are using video games as an escape from reality. This means that children are playing a video game to get their mind off their real life.
When playing the game, children tend to tune out the rest of the world and become so focused on the video game that they forget about their own responsibilities. One last cause of video game addiction is parents. A majority of parents have been caving in to their children’s needs, rather than being the parent. By doing this they are enabling their children to play constantly. If parents are not trying to create a solution, they may as well be a part of the problem. Video game addiction can have multiple effects on children. One major effect is the child’s social life.
When children are constantly playing video games, they tend to not have much social interaction with friends. This can lead to depression and withdrawal from society. Not only are they not interacting with peers, but they also are neglecting their jobs, school work, and even family. It is almost as if they are putting themselves inside a giant bubble and not letting anyone inside. There are also physical effects to video game addiction. Some of these effects are carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, and insomnia. These can be serious issues and believe it or not even fatal.
The human body is not meant so spend hours on end staring at a video game which leads to headaches and migraines. Also, when children stay up late playing games, they can mess up their sleeping pattern and have trouble falling asleep when they need to. Another physical effect is poor eating habits and poor personal hygiene. When kids are so concentrated on a video game, they are not thinking about eating, and if they are its not healthy foods. Not only are they eating poorly, but they are also not maintaining personal hygiene.
There are a few possible solutions that may help prevent or lower video game addiction. One of these solutions is removing the video games from the child’s room. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics has shown that children who play video games in their bedrooms play an average of 5 hours more per week than children who do not (Bennett). Another solution is to enroll students in sports or extracurricular actives that will keep their mind off video games. By doing this they become more occupied and may start to shy away from their addiction.
It is obvious that there has been increased aggression in young players as well as video game addiction. Video games are causing serious problems with today’s youth, and if nothing is done about it, the problem will continue to become worse. Addiction and aggression can be very hard to deal with alone as a young child, which is why they need help. Realizing the causes of these problems can help prevent them from reoccurring and possibly stop the negative effects that they have had on today’s youth.
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