Mind over Matter?

November 1, 2007
By Hannah Peterson, Fort Thomas, KY

June 7, 2003: Three people dead, and one teenager to blame. The cause… violence in video games. This kind of aggressive behavior could take place in other areas across the country due to vehement structured video games, if the situation does not get under control now. Violence in video games provokes aggression among children and teens by influencing areas of the brain, which cause emotional arousal and deleterious brain inactivity.
Through extensive research, brain studies have shown a precipitous rise in emotional arousal of physical and verbal frustration after children or teens play violent video games (www.msnbc.msn.com). During one research study, an adolescent played two different types of video games for 30 min. After the teen finished playing the violent game, his brain showed increased activity in the amygdala, which spurs emotional arousal. After teen’s play video games, stress and frustration levels increase and come out through acts of anger and aggression. Some children may show verbal outbursts, and some may demonstrate physical ways to relieve stress. However, either way could potentially harm people in society. Nevertheless, cases of real life violence can undergo mollification through parents’ awareness.
With violent video games aggression occurs, due to a decrease in self-control, inhibition, and attention, which curbs the brain’s corresponding activity (serendip.brynmawr.edu). Another case of extreme violence occurred at a school known as Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, where 13 were murdered and 23 injured before two boys killed themselves. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, like many other modern teenagers, played hours upon hours of video games, but they liked Doom in particular. For a class project, Harris and Klebold made a video very similar to the video game Doom, which involved them dressing in trench coats, carrying guns, and killing school athletes. One year later, this event played out in real life. Even though no one knows the true reason these boys committed the crime, Doom may have accounted for the source where evil began in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999. Over time, their grip on self -control, inhibition, and attention came to a halt because they could no longer think for themselves. Larry Ley, the director and coordinator of research for the Center for Successful Parenting, believes further research “will prove a cause-and-effect relationship between game violence and off-screen aggression” (www.msnbc.msn.com).
Even though some people may think it is all just fun and games, video games can cause some serious damage. Parents should be aware of the kind of video games their child plays for endless hours because more likely than not, children imitate the actions of a character they can identify with. Do you want your child taking the point of view of a shooter or perpetrator in a violent video game? Less exposure to violent games will decrease physiological arousal, aggressive thoughts, aggressive emotions, and aggressive actions. Prevention of this kind of aggressive activity can occur if parents take the right actions, whether it includes a stricture on age or class/level of education. However, some steps must take place regarding a stricter regulation of the availability of violent video games to young adults and children. “Life is like a video game. Everybody’s got to die sometime,” said 18- year -old Devin Moore, murderer due to the popular video game Grand Theft Auto (cbsnews.com). We must not let mortality statistics burgeon because of a violent video game.

“Can A Video Game Lead To Murder?.” CBSnews. 6 March 2005. .
Kalning, Kristin. “Does game violence make teens aggressive?.” MSNBC.

8 December 2006. .
Shin, Grace. “Video Games: A Cause of Violence and Aggression.”
< http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro03/web2/gshin.html>.

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