Video Games A Curse Or A Blessing Psychology Essay

23 Mar 2015

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Nowadays, video games are more advanced than they ever were. Fascinating story lines, and more complex levels than before, these video games become more and more sought after by today's youth. It has become easier to purchase and access games with mature ratings (M) by underage children and teenagers. Parents would argue that video games corrupt the minds of the teens, and it could lead them to develop a violent personality that can make them become aggressive and commit crimes. And since we are all aware about the parenthood protective instinct, their concerns are understandable. Incidents like the school shooting like the one that happened in Colorado thirteen years ago, child aggression, and the decrease in school work are said to be the effect of video gaming. Of course, it is not for all the video games that exist but games like Doom, Madworld, and Gears of War are some of the games that are blamed.

Parents state that more than a thousand of scientific reviews and studies conclude that the exposure to media violence and violent video gaming increases the aggressive behavior of youths. In a paper that was written by Rachel Ray called "Violent Video Games", she strongly supports the idea that aggressive video games hold some strong effect on the young boy practicing that act. She begins her article by referring to the shootings in Kentucky, Paducah, Colorado, and Columbine. She states that in those cases, the teenagers who were responsible for those shootings were addicted to Doom. Furthermore, she said that there is correlation between youth and teens behaviors and violent video games are undeniable. Ray also stated: "I personally believe that aggressive video games have an effect on young adults, and in turn can cause them to commit crimes". (Ray, 2006)

Another research suggested that when performing violent acts in video games may contribute in teenager's aggression than just watching violent scenes on movies and TV shows. According to this view, the more teens act violently while playing game, the more likely they will perform violent acts in their real life (Cesarone, 1994).  In the majority of video games, females are the ones who are depicted to be victims. Video Games such as, Grand Theft Auto promote and talks about theft, prostitution, and violent behavior.  This game encourages males to behave in a wrong way if they want to move along the levels of the game. Furthermore, research has found that males tend to play video games more than women which may produce factor of such aggressiveness in video games.  It is known that acting out such violence as opposed to just viewing it will cause the young boy to become more familiar acting violently without any consequence.

Moreover, to explore the question about how playing video games my change the brain, Dr. Vincent Matthews and some of his colleagues at Indiana University who have studied media violence looked at what happen in the brain of twenty eight students who were randomly chosen to play either a non-violent or a first-person shooter games (violent video game) every day at an intervals of a week. At the beginning of this study, researchers used Functional magnetic resonance imaging scan for the brain in order to understand its activity when the study participants who are all young adult men, while playing the lab based task either involving non-emotional or emotional contents. The participants were scanned over and over again while repeating the same tasks, after one week of playing the two opposite types of video games (Park, 2011). Researchers found out that the participants who practiced the violent video games showed less activity in the areas about emotions, inhibition, and attention in the brain. Mathews stated: "Behavioral studies shown an increase in aggressive behavior after violent games, and what we show is the physiological explanation for what the behavioral studies are showing" (Park, 2011). "We are showing that there are changes in the brain function that are likely related to that behavior". One task that the participants completed while being under the scan appraised their response to non-violent vs. violent words. The participants were presented with non-violent words such as walk, run, and talk and violent words such as harm, hit, shoot, and kill (Park, 2011).

Therefore, Dr. Mathews came with a conclusion that the changes that happens to the brain while playing violent video games don't appear to be permanent; however, documenting that the brain changes when playing the violent games even if it is for just few hours a day for a whole week., and this can be a significant proof on how young players can be affected when playing these kinds of games.

    Personally speaking I love playing violent video games, because when I do so I forget about all my daily problems and I release all the frustration I assembled during the day by shooting zombies or damaging cars and buildings. The major problem that we had when we wanted to play those games was the approval of our parents because no one of any age wants someone to breathe down you neck or looking over your shoulder in order to observe what you are doing.

For centuries, parents have that protective instinct for their children and want to protect from anything aggressive or violent. For instance, even in sports, it exist violence to some degree. For example, the American football the coach tells his players almost every day to rip the opponent player head's off. The fact remains that violence is all around us and violent computer games simply provide teens and young boys with a new high level to entertain themselves. Almost every year, the bestselling video games in US are the one which are most violent.

When I was 13 years old I enjoyed playing violent Video Games with my older brother, and thankfully our parents allowed us to play any game we chose. Our parents decision to let us play whatever we want was not random because when I asked my mother why she allowed us to play those kind of games she told me that she knew that her and my father raised us well to make our own right decisions and she was sure that we will never practice what we experienced in those video game in real life.

In 2011, the best seller game was Call of Duty, and for those who are familiar with video games that game is one of the most violent. I understand that parents can't stop worrying about the influence of those games on their children. Though, it is possible that young players will be more prone to imitate violence they see, it' is important to keep in mind that the most aggressive video games are rated mature for a specific reason. Reasonable and well raised children won't start walking around and shooting people, robbing old women, or stealing cars. Violence is just a single small part of video games entertainment value. Olsen said in a New York Times article: "teens can try out different identities, how it feels to be a hero, a trickster, a feared or scorned killer or someone of a different age or sex…in a safe fantasy world of video games" (Olsen, 2011). For teenagers, violent video games offer mature oriented adventures that go together with their age range better than those offered by non violent games for children.

Violent games like Call of Duty allows for more interaction and control over the environment you are playing in and it is less structured than the ones we found in movies and TV shows. Through the use of violence, video games can significantly reduce stress by distracting young gamers from pressures of their daily lives. For example, college students who are stuck between school responsibilities, part times jobs, and household chores might find a button machine for violent games a solution to enjoyably release stress and frustrations. According to a study done by Texas A&M professor Christopher Ferguson, violent and aggressive video games can be used as a therapeutic solution to combat anger and depression(Ferguson, 2007).

Moreover, according a research that was published in Psychology of Violence's in August 2011, the degree to which competitiveness young gamers reach while practicing their hobby is more likely than the degree of violence to cause aggression in those gamers' personality((Paul J. C. , Adachi, 2011). Watching, practicing, and playing games that depict bloodshed are very therapeutic in a sense that violence on our screen helps us understand death. As the author of the book "Killing Monsters" Gerard Jones said: "Why children need fantasy, super heroes, and make-believe violence…through immersion in imaginary combat and identification with a violent protagonist, children engage the rage they stifled…and become more capable of using it against life's challenges".(Jones, 2008)

Even though it seems like I am in a strong opposition on how my opponents view on seeing the video games as a curse for children and teenagers, I understand their concern and I believe that the best solution is for parents to monitor their children. That means that they should study their personality, see how they perceive those video games, and then decide based on their kids' personality if they are capable of handling violent video games without switching their behavior from for what their children are allowed to do in their spare time. In the end, they are responsible to know what video games their children play and have the authority to regulate what video games their children play or how much time they are allowed to play video games. Aside from the video game rating system, there is information available about every video game in the internet, parents can Google the game's name and read all the information about it. Parents need to observe and control violent video games for their children only if they think that it will affect their behavior and personality; However, if the parents raised their children well, they will not have anything to worry about because they will trust that they will not behave by the same the characters in those violent video games act. Therefore, when monitored by parents, violent video games will not make teens and children violent and aggressive, it will help them overcome stress and anxiety by providing them with entertainment inside their houses, and it will allow them to take out their daily frustration on fantasy characters instead of taking it out on real people.



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