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The Negative Effects of Video Games on Children

The popularity of video games is nothing new. In 1976, the very bare bones gaming system called PONG debuted and it was a sensation. Of course, video games have grown and developed significantly as far as sophistication goes. Today, video games mimic many motion pictures. While some of these games can be a true marvel to look like, they possess certain negative psychological effects. Some of these negative effects are most evident when it comes to their influence on children.

In actuality, there are many negative effects that video game overuse can instill in children. Probably the most significant way in which video games are a bad influence on children is the fact that abuse of video game playing leads to a lethargic child who has been desensitized to violence. Some may assume that this criticism towards the video game industry is overstated. Granted, it is true that many children do not experience negative effects from playing video games. However, the number of children who do experience negative effects is significant.

In fact, the numbers are so voluminous a strong argument can be made that video games truly are a bad influence. This argument will be developed in this essay using factual information in support of the thesis video games are responsible for lethargy and desensitization towards violence. First, it is important to look at the way in which video games promote lethargy in children. Actually, the way in which this is achieved is fairly obvious. When a child invests significant time sitting in front of a video game console, the child is not out and about moving around.

It would be very difficult to develop an argument that such a non- The Negative Effects of Video Games on Children – Page 2 action is healthy. There are a multitude of negative consequences that can derive from inactivity. Health issues would be the most apparent. Calories only burned when one is active. If a child is perpetually inactive due to video game addiction, then the child runs the risk of obesity. As the Kansan points out, “Inactive leisure activities…such as playing video games…[heavily] contributes to this problem.

” (Hoffman) This is no minor problem. Obesity can lead to many future problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and a multitude of other disorders. Then, there is also the problem of lethargy of the mind. Clicking on the controls of a gaming system all day does little for developing cognitive thought. This is one of the less discussed negative consequences of video games even though it is a serious issue. As previously mentioned, another significant problem with playing videogames is the exposure to violence.

It is important to note here that when the word “violence” is used, it is not used flippantly. The violence present in many video games is not cartoonish. Many times, the violence is incredibly real and quite graphic. Such overt exposure to violent images greatly increases the potential to be desensitized to violence. At first, the child may become desensitized to video game violence. In time, however, the child may become desensitized to real life violence. Now, some may wonder how such a leap from fantasy to real life can be made.

Actually, the leap is a progressive one built on the foundations violent video games create. That is why it is important to look at this The Negative Effects of Video Games on Children – Part 3 process closely. Many video games revolve around action-adventure, war, horror, and martial arts themes. In some instances, the material presented in the games is quite graphic. This greatly contributes to the problem of desensitizing a child towards violence. However, it is not the images alone that exclusively contribute to this problem.

It is a combination of the amount of time a child plays these video games and the constant repeat images of violence. Keep in mind, video games constantly feature repetition. For example, a game involving shooting will constantly involve firing a weapon. “…playing video games may increase aggressive behavior because violent acts are continually repeated throughout the video game” (Norcia) and the danger here is that this causes psychological acceptance of violence through re-enforcement of repeated images.

Then, there is the very serious problem of increased aggression as a result of playing too many violent video games. When one looks closely at video games, it becomes obvious that there is significant subtext in video games to reward violent behavior. This leads to potentially increased aggressive behavior in the child as he matures. Adolescents experience “a general increase in aggression…[and when] combined with exposure to violent [games, there will be a re-enforcement and increase in] aggressive cognitions, affects and arousal.

“ (Kooijmans) Needless to say, this is hardly a good influence on a child. There is an obvious problem with video games in the sense that they create lethargy and a desensitizing to violence among children. This is no small problem as it can lead to increase aggressive behavior and actions. As such, it is critical to never The Negative Effects of Video Games on Children – Page 4 overlook the negative consequences of violence present with overexposure to video games. The future of our children depends on it.

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