The 20th Century has seen the advancement in technology which has come along with both negative and positive effects. Heated debates of whether video games have positive or harmful effects to those who play it more so young children and male adults have ensued. These debates have not been conclusive of whether video games have negative or positive effects on the gamers. Video games played from Playstation 3's, Xbox 360, laptops, and computers have made access to video games possible to the lovers of the game. Critiques, however, hold divergent views over the subject with those arguing against it presenting strong arguments on the harmful effects video games carries along with it. Institutions like the government, for example, consider video games as harmful to its populace because it kills the nurturing of noble careers such as engineering, doctors and scientists who opt to play video games at the expense of their careers. It also sees a looming problem of having an obese nation resulting from physical inactivity by the players.Nations all over the world are crying over its populace, which it sees, sinking into an abyss of low moral standards and unbecoming behaviors caused by excessive playing of video games. Children, on the other hand, have not been spared the axe by video game critiques. They argue that video games are not suitable for children in that they nurture impoliteness and make them behave weirdly at school or home. Violent nature and increased aggression among male adults have also been blamed on video games. Video games have been condemned from all angles and its contents believed to have harmful effects to children and adults alike. However, it should be noted that the same violent video games carry positive effects on the gamers. This is just an overview of what this research paper is going to address. It will narrow down to the effects of violent video games on children and adults, some of the positive effects of violent video games, and finally recommendations on the subject.Effects of violent video games on Children
Over the past years, the society at large especially parents and children welfare organizations have asserted that violent video games are unsuitable for children. The same groups have equally put up spirited fights to curb access to violent video games by children. Calvert, Sandra & Tan, Siu-Lan, argue that the contents of video games have harmful effects, which it passes, over to players (p, 126). Violence the video games contain, for instance, is detrimental to children. Critiques believe that it instills negative thoughts, aggressive thoughts and behaviors, and isolation among children. The interactive nature of the game also heightens further these effects on children. In some of these games, instead of punishments, characters get rewards for the ills they perform. For example, a character who kill, stab, shoot is regarded as a hero rather than facing condemnation. "Mortal kombat", one of video games versions is a perfect example of a game where violence is at its peak. In Mortal Kombat, the plot contains blood gushing scenes where the characters use weapons such as blades, edged fans, bladed hats, and swords to strike each other. Similarly, spine breaking and explosion of torso, soul stealing, and cannibalism among other ugly acts characterize Kombat II. The use of characters like Kano, Kung Lao, Scorpion, add to the authenticity of these games and children think that trying out one of the actions their celebrated characters acted has no harm. More often than not, these characters seem temporarily disabled or unaffected at all by the violence. Such scenarios receive different interpretations from children. They get the impression that since what the characters in the game do not actually injure or seriously injure their opponents; they would also try the same with their colleagues in real life and not hurt anyone seriously. This arises due to the failure of these video games to convey right and wrong in the society and depict the actual consequences of violence. Studies on most popular video games indicate that characters who kill other characters did not suffer from negative consequences. On the contrary, the killers get hefty rewards for their acts.Parents, on the other hand, claim that violent video games instill wrong values in children such as violent behaviors, the art of vengeance, and reward of violent behaviors. Furthermore, video games socially isolate children as well as kills imaginative thinking (Huesmann & Malamuth, p, 84). Performance in school in terms of academics and discipline is also interfered with by excessive play of violent video games.Violent video games and male aggression
Studies in social psychology and personality science indicate that there is a correlation between violent behaviors and playing of video games with violent content among male (Ballard & Wiest, p, 234). These studies further assert that aggression among violent video game players is registered long after the games have been turned off. The aggression is mostly noted among male as opposed to their female counterparts. Anderson & Morrow, Observe that long after playing the game, players still muse upon it, and this tends to increase potency of the game leading to aggression (p, 422).Two scholars, Brad Bushman and Bryan Gibson of Ohio State University and The University of Central Michigan in an effort to establish he relationship between aggression in males and violent video games conducted a study. In their study, they wanted to show how video games increase aggressiveness in men. The study comprised of random selection of college students to play six different video games. Half of the selected games were violent while the other half was non violent. The players were asked to think about the game long after the play. After twenty four hours, the players were asked to suggest better ways of improving the game the next time they play. The following day, on interviewing the representatives found out that those who played non violent games as well as those who played violent games and never mused about them had no aggressive thoughts at all. On the other hand, the ones who played violent games and did muse and ruminate about them harbored aggressive thoughts than any other group. Female counterparts were found out to be immune to violent video games in that they do not show any aggression (Donnerstein p. 120). The study, therefore, concluded that the correlation between video game violence and aggressive behavior is strong. This correlation is, however, stronger in males than females. It also established that the last fifty years have seen the concept of violent video games inducing male aggressive behaviors. These violent behaviors are encouraged by the fact that children and male adults ape video game content (Leo p, 48).
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The Columbine High School in Littleton Colorado provides another notable incident which clearly shows that violent video games can have harmful effects on its players. Dylan Klebold and Harris Eric, two young male students, went on an indiscriminate shooting spree where they claimed thirteen lives and wounded other twenty three students seriously before turning the guns on themselves. This unethical act sends cold chills down the spines of many people. It led many among them leading psychologists to try and establish what might have been the motive behind Harris and Klebold actions. Grossman, suspects that the two students were fond of a video game called Doom (p, 25). Doom is a game designed by the United States Military to train and equip players on shooting to kill techniques. A version of Doom was found in Harris websites. However, Harris's version was designed such that the shooters in the game were armed with extra weapons and unlimited powder. It is need less to mention that the opponent fighters were rendered helpless and could not fight back. Interesting enough, both the students had produced a tape for a school project. In this tape, there were two characters clad in trench coats carrying guns and killing school athletes. Perhaps, this was a premonition of what was going to happen because a year later, they carried out the infamous act. This incident is a strong indictor that violent video games increase aggression in males which consequently lead to violent behaviors among males. Males who are exposed to violent video are vulnerable to carrying out violent acts. Similarly, exposure to such games further heightens violent behaviors among the players (Dietz p, 243). All this owe to the fact that video games are in nature, interactive and engrossing.Positive effects of violent video games
Contrary to beliefs held by many people that video games are harmful to players, they carry benefits with it. Firstly, the abstract thinking involved to win in most of the video games pass over high level thinking skills to players especially children. Some of these skills are never taught in school. Besides sharpening visual attention, iconic, and spatial skills, video games also allow children learn how to follow instructions, solving problems logically, and coordination of senses.Secondly, video games give a platform in which players bond, for example, online players get to know each other. It also horns skills such as utilization of limited resources available. In games where more than one player is required, the importance of teamwork is cemented in an individual.Video games are complex in nature and, therefore, players must apply tact in playing them. In the games, players also learn to manage variable objectives and acquire multitasking skills. These can be applicable in real- life situations.Violent games can also act as a channel through which children can direct their frustrations and stress. Just like any other game, violent video games act like outlet channel (Anderson & Morrow. P. 1022). One parent argued that instead of his child playing violence in the street, he prefers that the kid get access to violent video games. This assertion was met with lots of anger from other parents.Violent video games have harmful effects on players as we have established above. It, therefore, calls for stringent actions and measures to curb its effects on the general population. First and foremost, parents ought to be keen in checking the content of games their children play. Secondly, the manufacturers of the game should see to it that video games are suitable for the age that is designed for. The games should be devoid of profane language and other inappropriate material. In addition, website owners ought to introduce policies which block users who misuse the sites. Lastly, video game designers should reveal the consequences of violence in the games.The discussion on violent video games has laid down the harmful as well as the positive effects of violent video games. It is evident; however, that the negative effects violent video games have on players far much outweighs the positive effects. This paper also looked at some of the recommendations which can be adopted to curb the spread of violent video game effects.