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Does video game equal aggression?

By , Chicago, IL
A man’s best friend will always be the dog. This saying has now been altered to a man’s best friend will always be video games. Video games sales have been rising exponentially throughout the nation, especially from 1996 to the present. This is alarming because it is not the peaceful saving the world type games, but the violent games that seem to increase in sales. It is increasingly clear that children in America are becoming more aggressive due to such releases of games.

According to the November Issue of the Journal Pediatrics, “kids in the U.S. who reported playing lots of violent video games had more aggressive behavior months later than their peers who did not.” This can be seen in the way the children socialize and interact with those around them. These new type of video games require children to fully engage and have undivided attention to the game. Thus, children have to be mentally hooked and mentally inside the game in order to be a successful “gamer.” Researchers at the Indiana University of School of Medicine conducted an experiment to analyze gamers. Results prove that a violent game player has a higher activity in the areas of emotional arousal and a decrease in areas such as areas of control, and inhibition. Gamers get hooked into the game in a matter of seconds. This is the violent game's goal, and they succeed. Some type of violent games can be more interactive by allowing options such as choosing the type of weapon, choosing the type fighting action, plus more. Basically, video games offer an alternative cyber world which is sometimes merged into the real world by the gamer.

One example of a gamer merging these two worlds can be seen in the deadly Aurora theater shootings in Colorado. The Aurora theater shootings took place on the premier of the new Batman movie. As the movie started Holmes, the perpetrator, dressed up as the villain of the movie and began shooting the audience with assault rifles and other type of guns. This fatal accident claimed the lives of twelve people! According to the New York Times, Holmes was reported as being a gamer by his neighbors. In addition, CNN contributor Pat Brown said video games were one of the biggest contributing factors to this deadly outcome: “If you’re a psychopath, video games help you get in the mode to do the killing. So it is a problem in our society with teenaged psychopaths, that they do get inspired by this and want to make it real.” Although there is no concrete evidence to prove Holmes owned the game, it is very likely that he did due to the fact that he was a gamer and that he had an obsession to the Batman movie.

Another infamous and horrific example of gamers losing touch with reality because of games is- Columbine. Two teens, Harris and Klebold, also in Colorado, began a shooting spree where they went to school, Columbine High School. Researcher and psychiatrist studying the Columbine case Jerald Block, states in the New York Times that the teens went on a shooting spree after their parents took away their video games: “They relied on the virtual world of computer games to express their rage and to spend time, and cutting them off in 1998 sent them into crisis.”

Although many argue that there is no direct link between video games and violence and some might say that there has been a higher violent game sale with a decreasing teen crime offense. We can see what happens when this output of violence is taken away. More specifically, with the Columbine case. Furthermore, the “American Medical Association, flirted with adding video game addiction to its list of mental illnesses,” in June of 2007. Video games might not be the primary or only factor that makes children increase their aggressiveness or tendency to be violent, but it sure is a contributing factor.

To add up, higher aggression can be found in children that are addicted to violent video games. Although some people may state otherwise, there is enough evidence to back this argument. It is also known that video games are not the only media that increase these tendencies, but also movies, social networking, and more. Statistics prove that in most cases family influences are an important factor. To avoid such conflict possible resolutions can be restricting mature content video games to younger people. Adding to this, another key solution would be education. Educating family members about such alarming events and statistics can help decrease the aggression.



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