What are the effects of violent video games on the society?

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What are the effects of violent video games on the society?

Video games can be portrayed as being extremely violent and better sound, graphics, and animation has made the games more realistic to the gamer. Technology leading to ever-realistic games and disturbing titles such as Manhunt and Grand Theft Auto 3 has led to aggression, anti social behavior and desensitization to violence in children. The technological improvements in graphics and sound have allowed for video game players to not fully distinguish if harmful acts portrayed in video games are appropriate in everyday life, and with the availability to play these games more people are lead toward violence and aggression in everyday life.

In the past decade, the rapid increase of the video game industry has had many people questioning the violence in the games produced. Games are now days so realistic that the line between video games and "simulations" has significantly been blurred. They are so realistic that the government of the United States has released a game called America's Army, to help train soldiers. Violent video games were blamed for a large number of high-school shootings in the late 1990's, the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 being the most devastating ("Video Game Facts"). These shootings present a true concern that violent video games may be affecting the aggression of people.

It is a widely accepted idea that violent media in general desensitizes people. Hogg and Cooper believe that the incorporation of violence in the media in time can change peoples' beliefs about aggression in both the long and short term, making us likely to consider aggression and violence as acceptable. They also note that due to media there has been an increase in aggression consistently found in studies (259-63). Their opinion was developed fully by the social learning theory, which theorizes that people learn social behavior by imitation and observation, repeating rewarded behavior (Myers 366-70). From this theory, aggression could increase if violence was both rewarded and observed (like in violent media).

People experiencing aggression at high levels can cause harmful effects for society, including criminal behavior. A longitudinal study involving 856 youths concluded that violence seen on television during early childhood was positively related to the youths' antisocial behavior 10 years later (Eron, et al 253-63). This analysis does not intend to imply that aggression is solely determined by violence in the media. According to Hogg and Cooper, the primary causes of aggression are a convergence of situational instigators like aversive conditions and several personal characteristics such as hostile world schemas (277-279). Media in turn, would be considered an environmental modifier that could influence personal characteristics, leading to serious potential effects.

It seems that aggression can be potentially increased from most forms of violent media and can lead to highly serious consequences for our society. It is possible that video games can have a deeper effect than television, since gamers are actively involved in hurting others in games. The issue regarding violent games is psychological. Anyone playing these games could become drawn toward violence, with serious psychological consequences. Additionally, playing violent games could persuade gamers to carry out criminal acts in real life. One example of this is when two teenagers fired at cars, killing people claiming that the idea came to them while they were playing Grand Theft Auto (Wellington). In playing violent games gamers are led to believe that killing goes without consequences as is invariably the case, with no harm done to the gamer.

Playing violent and disturbing video games is likely to have a negative psychological impact upon the gamer, sometimes glorifying the actions, encouraging the player to imitate them, or scaring the gamer. An example of the former is the case of teenage stepbrothers who shot two people in cars to death, claiming Grand Theft Auto 3 was responsible for their actions (Anderson and Dill 772-90). It is reasonable to foresee that if a glamorous character in a video game carries out violent acts, some impressionable people will imitate this.

A young player would certainly be scared by some games, usually unjustifiably, by the monsters or actions that are carried out in a game (Faust). It is clear that some children who play a game in which they are killed by monsters, will be unjustifiably scared of monsters, perhaps making them more unstable people. Releasing games such as this without restrictions will expose young children to excessive violence.
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However, the desensitization to violence that may be caused by violent video games may be an advantage to people. They may lose their fear of blood, which could make them better suited to be doctors or surgeons. Playing the kill-or-be-killed games can improve your ability to see objects at dusk, peripheral vision, and the games can even be used to treat amblyopia or lazy eye (Matthews). Another possible advantage is when you play an action video game; you learn to better allocate your resources.

The effects of violent video games if not channeled correctly can be a ...

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