Monday, April 18, 2011

Violent Video Games and Child Aggression

By: David Newsome

Over the years video games have become more and more violent. As a result there have been many discussions concerning what playing these games is doing to the minds of our youth. Certainly many of these violent games are not to be sold to children under a certain age. Consequently a wide range of young children still find it easy to access these games. Indeed studies have shown that playing these games does alter the behavior of children not just in the U.S. but around the world.

Video games such as the Call of Duty and Grand Theft auto Series (both pictured below) are popular among children around the world.

(The games pictured above clearly state on the covers that they are for video gamers ages 17 and above however thousands of children under that age find it easy to access these games.)

A study involving three groups a children was conducted. The first group consisted of 181 Japanese students ranging from ages 12-15. The second group involved 1,050 Japanese students ranging from age 13-18 and the third group involved 364 U.S. children ranging from ages 9-12. Researches monitored what games the children played and how much time they spent playing them. After playing these games students monitored there own behavior in addition to being monitored by there peers and teachers. Indeed it was discovered that students with more exposure to violent video games had become more aggressive than those with less exposure. Children exposed to more violent video games tend to get into more fights and are more likely to react violently in certain situations. As a result many researchers see this as a predictor of future behavior problems. 

Dr. Huesmann, director of the Research Center of Group Dynamics at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research in Ann Arbor has been studying violence in the media and behavior for over 30 years. He came to the conclusion that the most obvious result of exposure to violence is imitation. For example, children that are exposed to violence in the media may develop the mindset that the world around them is hostile and that violence is an acceptable way of dealing with it. Furthermore Huesmann states that children can become desensitized to violence. In other words too much exposure to violence can lead to a lower emotional impact on an individual. In addition Huesmann asserted "Once you're emotionally numb to violence, it's much easier to engage in violence." However, there are some who disagree with Huesmann's viewpoint, I am sure they all agree that video game violence and child aggression are closely related.

(The video below shows a guy explaining his point of view on the topic)

All in all children who played violent video games were found to be more aggressive. There are indeed many children who play these games without being effected by the violence. However, that does not take away from the children that are. Indeed overtime new information will develop involving this topic.

(For more detailed information on the study described in the paragraphs above click the link below)

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