Do Video Games contribute to Anti Social behaviour in our children in this Modern Age?

10 Oct

“It is clear to me that the causal relationship between televised violence and antisocial behavior is sufficient to warrant appropriate and immediate remedial action. There comes a time when the data are sufficient to justify action. That time has come.” – (Steinfeld, Surgeon General in 1972). 

There are two strong sides to this debate. For the purpose of this project I’m going to be concentrating on the pro side of things. Obviously I’ll be including the opposite opinions but mainly the pro side.

Personally, I think it’s ridiculous to be completely against this statement as we’ve all heard about acts of violence in real life based on those of the gaming world. The youth of today are exposed to violence, blood/gore, sex, drugs and murder in gaming from an extremely early age. It’s so easy to pick up any game you please nowadays no matter what age, even with the age restrictions laws. Guaranteed that 99.9% of kids (who’s families can afford consoles) have indulged in a few hours of a violent game before they’ve reached their teenage years. Everyone has witnessed violence in gaming, there’s no two ways about it. This image below is a perfect example of this. We see here two young boys, no older than ten with a new copy of Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 3 which is a violent war game with endless hours of violent gameplay where you basically go on killing sprees with your friends online.

Kids and COD

Yes, children can decide to just not play them, but in fairness, violence is fun in video games, a lot more fun than any educational game you can get your hands on. Shooting or Math? A brainless question to ask a ten year old. Don’t get me wrong, not all kids become violent after playing violent video games but it does effect there actions and thoughts.

There are many reasons to why video games can cause such an influence on children in relation to their behaviour.

    • First, video game play is ‘active’. People learn better when they are actively involved. Suppose you wanted to learn how to fly an airplane. What would be the best method to use: read a book, watch a TV program, or use a video game flight simulator?
    • Second, players of violent video games are more likely to identify with a violent character. If the game is a first person shooter, players have the same visual perspective as the killer. If the game is third person, the player controls the actions of the violent character from a more distant visual perspective. Players are more likely to behave aggressively themselves when they identify with a violent character.
    • Third, violent games directly reward violent behaviour, such as by awarding points or by allowing players to advance to the next game level. In some games, players are rewarded through verbal praise, such as hearing the words “Nice shot!” after killing an enemy. It is well known that rewarding behavior increases its frequency. (Would you go to work tomorrow if your boss said you would no longer be paid?).


Many people also believe that violent video games are good for you!, are they? Here’s some reasons why they can be.

  • Some people claim that violent video games are good for you. Some players believe that violent video games are cathartic (i.e., they allow players to release pent up anger into harmless channels). Yet scientific evidence directly contradicts this idea. Over 130 studies have been conducted on over 130,000 participants around the world. These studies show that violent video games increase aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, physiological arousal (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure), and aggressive behaviour. Violent games also decrease helping behaviour and feelings of empathy for others.
  • Other people claim that playing violent games increases eye-hand coordination, and research supports this claim (like Green & Bavelier, 2007). However, violent content might not be required to obtain these beneficial effects. Perhaps similar video games without violence would also increase eye-hand coordination.

As you can see there’s very strong examples here and elsewhere to why children should play or stay away from violent video games. Both are very persuading, yes they are fun, relieving and can improve your skill set but then again they reward and praise players for mass murder. For a young child who hasn’t developed their full moral set, they’d be lead in believing that killing is a good thing, that they’d be praised for it. This is definitely not true. This should NOT be believed by young kids.

Douglas Gentile and Craig Anderson’s chapter in the ‘Handbook of Children, Culture and Violence’ called ”Violent Video Games: The effects on youth, and public policy implications’ proves a good read into the points declared above. They delve deep into the history of violent video games and how it’s had an effect on children. Throughout there study they’ve monitored loads of children playing violent video games such as ‘Wolfenstein’ and further monitored their behaviour.

There findings were quite interesting which you can read about in the link below. These findings will be included on my next post where I talk about the types of persons, gaming scenarios and real life actions which was been spurred by violent video games.

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