Professor M. Johnson
Comm 370 Summer Session 3
Generation X Box
For the past twenty years our technology has been advancing rapidly in all aspects of life. Technology for entertainment sake has been advancing particularly fast, especially video games. The natures of these games are changing. They are becoming more graphic and lifelike each year. Ever since the start of video games we saw an undertone of violent behavior in the games. Fighting, swords play and gun violence has been intertwined into the theme or “game play” of a majority of video games produced. But for the last 10 years video game producers have been making games so life like many people think that playing the games will create a violent nature in the persons playing the games. According to the 2001 article titled, Fair Play: Violence, Gender, and Race in Video Games, “A 2001 review of the 70 top-selling video games found 89% contained some kind of violence”. Almost half of all the games (49%) contained serious violence, while 40% contained comic violence.” The question is do violent video games lead to violent behaviors in the gamers? Not only do I believe video games can institute violent behaviors, I believe video games lead to many negative attributes in many individuals that play video games on a consistent basis.
Video games have many adverse affects on society as we know it. They are known to lead children and adults into unhealthy lifestyles of obesity, desensitization of violent acts, and gender stereotyping. Video games continue to generate negative lifestyles in our society for all generations alike. According to an 2008 article titled, Adults and Video Games, “More than half – 53% of all American adults play video games of some kind, whether on a computer, on a gaming console, on a cell phone or other handheld device, on a portable gaming device, or online”. Often times playing video games replaces physical activities in people’s lives. It’s ironic that a majority of our population would rather play a video game related to their favorite sport, instead of going and actually playing the sport. A report from Drs. Anderson and Genitle reports that, “children are spending 13 hours per week for boys, on average, and 5 hours per week for girls”. Spending this much time playing video games can not only make you lazy, but can assist in developing feelings of isolation. If you are sitting around for hours at a time it is more than likely you may not feel as comfortable interacting with other people in comparison to someone who might be involved in activities that require face to face interaction with other people.
The major issue with playing video games on a consistent basis is that you may start to imitate what you are doing on the game. No, you may not go steal a car and start shooting up a neighborhood as you would in the game “Grand Theft Auto”. However studies say that you are more prone to develop aggressive feelings after playing violent games. In 1998 a study by Dill and Dill concluded that short-term exposure to violent videogames increases aggression (Lin and Atkin 67). Research has proven that by playing violent video games you are more prone to wanting to imitate behaviors portrayed in that game. Players are able to take on certain characters that are fighting, and therefore may want to imitate specific actions of violence in everyday life. An example may be a child playing a ninja turtle game, and then going and whacking someone with a stick to imitate his favorite character. Personally when I was younger my friends and I would act like certain characters on video games. We wanted to box like the Mike Tyson video game, so we thought it would be a good idea to buy boxing gloves and start pummeling each other, just like we were seeing in the video game. Certainly television and seeing acts of violence live can promote violent behavior, but giving a person the option to kill or destroy another person in a video game is sending the wrong message. You are awarded in a video game if you are more violent, or create more destruction.
The main problem is raising a child to think that playing hours of video games every day is a good way to pass the time. We don’t offer our children enough alternatives to spending time effectively. In a society where pop culture rules and whatever is shown on television is popular, we seem to have lost some of the core values in our society. Younger generations are finding it hard to concentrate on reading literature, due to the fact that it’s not like reading a computer screen, or playing a video game. It’s solitary. The words won’t move across the screen for you, and therefore kids lose interest much faster. It is important to instill positive values and morals in children’s lives today. Playing video games every once and awhile is fine, but don’t play for hours at a time, and certainly don’t allow your children to play for extended periods of time. Our society needs to start moving toward a more active lifestyle. We also need to start censoring our children from violent games and television programs. The younger generations of people today are so desensitized to violence because of their exposure to it in the media. Violence in video games may not be the reason that acts of violence happen every day in our society, but there is a lot to be said about the negative attributes people are developing from playing video games in an overwhelming fashion.
Children Now. (2001). Fair Play? Violence, gender and race in video games. Los Angeles, CA:
Lenhart, Jones, Macgill. “Adults and Video Games”. 7 December 2008.
Anderson, C.A., Gentile, D.A., & Buckley, K.E. (under review).Violent Video Game Effects on
Children and Adolescents: Further Developments and tests of the General Aggression Model.
Lin, Caroly A; Atkin, David J. Communication Technology and Social Change Theory and
Implications. University of Connecticut, 2007. https://my.carrollu.edu/ICS/Student/