Media violence refers to a form of overelaborate aggression orsadism, which occurs in numerous forms of strategies and principlesmaking the whole enterprise a construction of terrible entertainment.Nonetheless, daily consciousness, reactions, and innateconsiderations may vindicate the personality of a person during mediaviolence. The world is undergoing a propagation of violence in themainstream Televisions, and unless people commit to protecting theguiltlessness of the future generation, then media violence willcontinue to cause more harm. People including children usually citeviolent movies, television series, and more significantly video gamesas their most favorite form of entertainment. Over the years, socialscientists such as Gentile and Bushman (138 – 151) in particularpsychologists have studied the effect of violent media on humanbehavior with special interest on violent video games. Over the lastdecade, increasing incidences of violence especially involvingchildren has raised the concern of violence in video games. Studiesas will be shown in the paper continue to prove that, children arehighly engaged in violent video games, which has significantlyaffected their behavior. Although the debate on whether or notviolent video games continue there is increasing body of evidencethat there is a causal link between the two. Ultimately, violentvideo games influence violent behavior in the society. As such, thediscourse offers an analysis on how media violence has led to theproliferation of aggressive behaviors among people particularlychildren.
Why ViolentVideo Games are More Harmful than Any other Media
Humanity has become aggressive and as such, the public continues tohear urgings that undergoing television violence desensitizeschildren to accept real violence. Although media has educated peopleand increased their wellbeing, media violence has acted as anuncomplicated model of the considerations and deeds of the societythus, media violence acts as a conduit for which humanity replicatesits actual nature and content as to respond to the surroundings. Infact, Gentile and Bushman write, “Media violence effects onaggression and violence can be best understood within a risk andresilience approach that considers several risk factors,” (139).This means that media violence acts as a risk factor to violence.Since people establish a simple model approach of what they watch,observe, or perceive, media violence affects the progress of violenceamong people. For example, as kids move from childhood to adulthood,they comprehend the significance of intellectual abilities,widespread violence in the communities, and development challenges.According to Boxer, Rowell, Bushman, O’ Brien and Moceri, “Thereexists significant connections between current exposures andchildhood to media violence and both violent behavior and generalaggression,” (422) thus, media violence is a self-influencedresponse, which progresses and spurts within a person only underconvinced conditions. In fact, Boxer et al posits in their researchthat media violence contribute to violence by retelling the story ofsix teenagers who in 2008 launched a crime spree to imitate theactions of Niko Belic, the character in the Grand Theft Auto IV (417)
On the other hand, the rationale for choosing violent video games inthis research is motivated by the fact that violent video gamesengage the participant. Video games have a more harmful effect onbehavior than any other media for three main reasons. First, playingvideo game is active while watching television or movie is passive.Social scientists through social learning theory argue that peoplelearn better when actively engaged. For instance, a person who wishesto learn how to fly an aircraft may learn better by using a flightsimulator as opposed to reading a book or watching televisionprograms. Secondly, one is likely to identify with a certaincharacter in the game while playing a certain video game. Forinstance, if the character is a shooter or a killer, the player willhave similar visual perception as the character. Even if the game isthird person, the person playing it controls character’s actionsfrom a distant visual perspective. In some games, verbal praises, arecommon even after maiming or killing an enemy. In psychology,behavior that is rewarded is reinforced hence, this is the case invideo games. While watching television, reward is not linked to thebehavior of the viewer. Therefore, the construed comportment that oneattains from playing video games make him/her more inclined todemonstrate reactions seen in video games. In the above example, whenpeople win in a violent video game, they win points (a case that doesnot happen in other media platforms), which in some cases allowpeople to perceive what happens in the games as right.
The Extent ofVideo Games in the U.S
Video games have become an ubiquitous part of the current child’slive with 97% playing a video game at least once or one hour in day.In fact, Granic, Lobel, and Engels assert, “Roughly 91% of Americanchildren play video games according to a study by NPD group and 99%and 94% for boys and girls respectively according to Lenhart et al,”(66). In 2010, video games added US$25 billion to the GDP and this isa cause of concern especially when research links mass killings toyouth who play violent games (Granic et al 66). Over the years, videogames have continued to be more violent and graphic as technologyevolves because the games are more realistic and bloodier thanbefore.
How ViolentGames Influence Violence
The media industry assesses the system of appealing to the kids tosituate an economic awareness that annihilate the behavior of kids.Aggression and rebellious behaviors are highly connected with theoccurrence of play and affinity for video games. The media industryis the cause factor of these behaviors on kids as their principal aimis to make profits and not the interests of people. Since kids do nothave the means of production, the media have plenty of where withalto advance its goal on kids. Societal violence gets its roots fromviolent video games. Kids who constantly play video games show a hightendency for criminal behaviors and physiological arousal. Accordingto University of Missouri, experienced gamers will show a tendency topromote anti-social behaviors and depict religion as violent (16). Astimulating narrative is designed to coerce kids to play video games.
Playing video games can lead to increased aggression as severalstudies show. Both field experiements andexperimental studies show that media violence infleunces people tobehave more aggressively immediately afterward. In fact, Gentile andBushman assert, “Exposure to media violence is associated withincreased risk of later aggression… and the greatest risk occurswhen multiple riks factors are present,” (145). Supportersof violent video games sometimes argue that, the games are importantand useful in relieving stress or built-up anger through harmlessways. However, violent video games lead to decreased empathy amongplayers. The media culture is highly standardized with propensitiesto influence manufacture of material. The media is controlled by thejudgment of profit to sustain a few people in the society. In thisregards, continuous exposure to video games will lead to addiction.In addition, the regulation of the gaming industry has had a largeoutcome on generating an empire unparalleled in the market to tapinto the mind share of kids, which has resulted to a deep linkbetween confrontation and video games. Most violent video games havecreated a tendency of confrontation in kids e.g. death race and thegrand theft. In this regards, video games have contributed to a senseof conflicts where gangs of children have developed to cause terroron people by imitating what they see in video games. For example, theaforementioned story of the six teenagers who decided to cause terrorin 2008 show how violent video games link strongly to confrontation.
A research byAmerican Psychological Association, “Confirms that virtual gamescan increase aggression on kids,” (6). In fact, the researchreveals that children who spend hours playing violent video gameswill cultivate a tendency to show aggression as most children learnby observing. In fact, behaviorists argue that children learnbehaviors through imitation and observation thus, children willgenerate violent behaviors as they play violent video games. Bullyingincidences in schools are partly linked to the increased popularityof violent video games among children. Clearly, there is a connectionbetween video games and aggressive behavior. Violence video games dodesensitize players into actual violence. The kind of learning thatviolent video games bring to the player is that, violence is a way ofsolving conflict acceptable in the society. This is due to the factthat, the player is usually rewarded for killing or humiliating anopponent in a game. According to Fergusson, a study carried out in2009 established that, teenagers who played violent video games donot believe much in the use of non-violent strategies to resolve aconflict than those who played video games that were not violent(384).
In violent video games, a player must have an active participation,identification with a certain character and repetition. This leads toaggressive behavior and arousal. When playing a violent video game,the physical and emotional aspects of a child are affected. The heartrate increases and aggressiveness increases as well. Gentile andBushman assert, “Media violence is not the only cause or the mostsignificant cause of violence among people, but it acts as asignificant risk factor,” (147). This means playing violent videogames lead to the development of aggressive behavior scripts. Abehavior script can be understood as a behavior learnt throughrepetition of actions and influences the subconscious mind. Forinstance, a driving script which directs the driver to get into thevehicle, tie a seat belt and turn on the ignition results to behaviorformation. Similarly, video games can lead a child to actaggressively following a certain approach.
Currently, numerous adolescents in the society establish thereplication of their views and notions as they mature through thediverse developmental stages. The findings, based on a researchconducted by Boxer et al and supported by the Centers for DiseaseControl (CDC) reflect the true nature of media violence in thesociety (417 – 428). Children are swift to learn, imitate, and makethe imitative features a portion of their lives. Aggressive behaviorsoriginate from commitment to media violence mechanisms that haveexposed countless children to violence. Nevertheless, people cannotprove the thesis without carrying out in depth research on the effectof media violence since children also acquire aggressive skillsthrough physical elements.
However, researchers continue to carry out in-depth research on thecorrelation between media aggression and aggressive behaviors amongpeople. Most of the studies such as Gentile andBushman (138 – 151) and Fergusson (377 – 391), and AmericanPsychological Association (6) have revealed a strong correlationbetween media violence and aggressive comportments among people.However, media violence has increased dramatically over the years. Television can have the same effect, for example, a boy whosefavorite program is a WWF wrestling program, may develop violentbehaviors as he tries to imitate the actions in the program.According to Martelle, Hanley and Yoshino, two brothers fromRiverside, California aged 20 and 15, who strangled their mother anddismembered her head and hands from her body. When apprehended by thepolice they said that a popular program, The Sopranos, inspired theirmotives (16).
Some researchers have argued that, violent video games are not themain cause of aggressive or violent behavior. They argue that, withincreasing popularity in violent video games, there has been ageneral reduction in violent juvenile crime in the United States. Invideo games, when one kills or does something wrong, they are notpunished or sent to jail they are rewarded with points. Althoughthey may not go and kill, they can be aggressive and use verbalabuse, use aggressive images and are not able to control their angerand externalize issues violently. In addition, children who arenaturally aggressive have an increased tendency of playing violentvideo games. The game a child plays may be a reflection of theiractual personality. This is so for example in the statistics ofplaying video games among boys and girls. Boys are more likely toplay a violent video game than girls are which shows that, by nature,boys are more aggressive or violent than girls. However, it isevident that, playing violent video games affect the physiologicaland emotional aspects of a child. Thus, whether a child is aggressiveor non-aggressive prior playing a game, the violent video game willhave an aggressive influence on them.
Ultimately,violent video games cannot be entirely blamed for violence oraggressive behavior among the youth. Even supporters of video gamesas a causing factor for aggressive behavior agree that, violent oraggressive behavior can be caused by other factors. Teenagers usuallyhave different issues as they grow up. They are learning on variouslife aspects including responsibility, trust, relationships as wellas coping with school and peer pressure. If they are not guidedthrough adolescence, they may face crisis and develop aggressivebehavior in self-defense. The increased playing of video games canalso be part of children trying to deal with isolation or loneliness.This can be a trigger factor for violent behavior among suchchildren.
Children across America are increasingly becoming addicted to playingviolent video games, an issue that has been connected to increasedaggression among the population. In fact, Granic et al assert, “Largescope surveys suggest that about 8% and 3% of Americans and Dutchrespectively who play video games exhibit pathological symptoms ofaddiction,” (74). This shows that no matter the magnitude ofviolent video games, they contribute to violence in the society asplaying violent video games leads to psychological and physiologicaleffect, which increase aggression. Policy makers and industry playersmust come up with an approach that will see the negative effects ofviolent video games reduced. People learn aggression throughobservation and simulation hence, media violence will linger toeffect aggressive comportment among people. As shown in the paper,media violence acts as a risk factor of violence and aggressionthus, people need to develop plans to check on the extent of violencein the media.
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Ferguson, Christopher J. "Video games andyouth violence: A prospective analysis in adolescents." Journalof youth and adolescence 40.4 (2011):377-391.
Gentile, Douglas A., and Brad J. Bushman."Reassessing media violence effects using a risk and resilienceapproach to understanding aggression." Psychologyof Popular Media Culture 1.3 (2012):138 – 151. Print
Granic, Isabela, Adam Lobel, and Rutger CME Engels."The benefitsof playing video games."American Psychological Association69.1 (2013): 66-78. Print
Martelle, Scott, Christine Hanley, and Kimi Yoshino. "Sopranos`Scenario in Slaying?." Los Angeles Times LosAngeles Times, 28 Jan. 2003. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.<http://articles.latimes.com/2003/jan/28/local/me-brothers28>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. Video games depict religion asviolent, problematized, studyshows. Science Daily, 27 Feb. 2012.Print