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Understanding the Ill Effects of Violent Video Games

The tremendous popularity and significant effects, whether good or bad, of video games to teenagers have long been the topic of debate and scandal. Crime- and violence-related consequences of video games are the greatest concerns by parents, lawmakers, government leaders, religious groups, and other concerned sectors. Easy access and decreasing parental guidance contribute to the ill results of video games. The increasingly realistic and stimulating characteristics of video games, such as their computer graphics and special effects, can really change the actions, thoughts, and feelings of teenagers.

For these reasons, a teenager’s preference to entertainment is now subjected to the violations resulting from playing video games. According to a paper written by Dr. David Walsh, almost eighty percent of Americans from seven to seventeen years old are now engrossed in playing video games. This is on a regular basis with an average of eight hours per week. Generally, video games were designed to benefit the players because they bring fun and enhance the skill development of teenagers with regards to problem solving, logic and strategy.

However, video games are always challenged because they promote violent crimes and these electronic diversions contribute to the unsociable attitudes of teenagers. This even bolsters the impression that video games are inappropriate not only for young people but also harmful to adults (Walsh). Walsh justified the concern about violent video games based on the premise that they intensify hostility and violence among teenagers.

He cited the extensive body research done by the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association, which concluded that television violence affects children’s behavior. The three organizations reported that there is a cause and effect relationship between television violence and hostility among the youth who watch it. Walsh also reported that based on this study, a lot of researchers have theorized that it is expectable that the impact of video games is greater on the ones playing them.

He provided four reasons for this hypothesis. First, teenagers tend to follow what a video game character is doing because they identify with the point of view of a shooter or an offender. Second, the innate quality of video games calls for active participation rather than passive observation of a player. Third, violent video games imply repetition of such attitude. Lastly, video games increase the reward system of education. These outcomes manifest that concern over the violations coming from video games is indeed justified (Walsh).

In paper of Walsh, several studies are also cited which show that constant and regular exposures to violent video games increase biological awakening of teenagers. This can be manifested through an increase in heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure of teenagers playing violent video games. Walsh added that these biological effects resulting from playing violent video games are significant because these are the same types of physiological responses that a teenager’s body who is involved in a combat manifest (Walsh).

One good example of a biological arousal from video games is cited in the study of Ballard and Weist (qtd in Walsh) of the violent game called Mortal Kombat. The research showed that playing Mortal Kombat, utilizing the blood “turned on” character, resulted in an increased and higher systolic blood pressure than playing with a blood “turned off” feature (Ballard and Weist qtd in Walsh). Other studies further presented the related psychological reactions to playing violent video games. These studies have attested that violent video games increase assertive ideas of teenagers.

Kirsh (182), for instance, found out that when teenagers are exposed to violent video games, their violent attribution bias increased. The term “hostile attribution bias” is the way in which aggressive teenagers understand the actions of their colleagues. Another research also reported that there is a strong similarity between the violent attribution bias and a teenager’s social maladjustment, such as sadness, negative personal representation, and peer resistance (Crick 319). Griffiths and Hunt (qtd. in Walsh) also reported that the exposure of teenagers to violent video games increase their aggressive feelings.

Teenagers usually acknowledge these aggressive feelings themselves. According to Griffiths and Hunt (qtd. in Walsh), many students believe that video games make people more temperamental and assertive. The said study further stated that teenagers, who were more hooked to playing video games, are inclined to manifest aggressive feeling all throughout the game (Griffiths and Hunt qtd in Walsh). Another study included in the Walsh article showed that violent video games increased the measure of aggressive behaviors of teenager players. Anderson and Dill (qtd.

in Walsh) conducted an experimental research with teenagers as participants. The participants were given a combative reaction time job wherein they played against another colleague. The said study was characterized by loud “noise blast” which the teenagers have to deliver when they beat other players. The results of the study report that teenagers who have previously played the violent video game expressed longer noise blasts to their opponents (Anderson and Dill qtd in Walsh). The American Psychological Association’s (APA) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology presented the two studies made by Anderson and Dill.

According to Anderson and Dill, playing violent video games such as Doom, Wolfenstein 3D or Mortal Kombat can increase a teenager’s aggressive ideas, emotions and conducts both in laboratory settings and in actual life. Anderson and Dill’s initial study consisted of 227 college students who finished a level of trait assertiveness. The study documented the participants’ true hostile behavior in the recent past and video game playing habits. The next study they conducted was composed of 210 college students who engaged themselves in either a violent video game called the Wolfenstein 3D or a nonviolent video game called the Myst.

The participants who played the Wolfenstein 3D shouted to their opponents different noise blasts with varying intensities. The players who were engaged in the said violent video game manifested a longer period of time of noise blasts than their opponents who played the video game Myst (Anderson and Dill 772). Anderson and Dill concluded that violent video games give an assembly for education and practical application of aggressive answers to problems. The impact of violent video games is apparently to be psychological in character. In a brief time period, engaging in a violent video game seems to impact hostility by preparing assertive ideas.

Extended time period impacts tend to be also extended, as the teenage-player determines and exercises fresh hostility-related scripts which can be easily accessed just in case true-to-life- problems occur. Anderson and Dill added that if continued playing of violent video games by teenagers actually result to different and an enhanced aggressive information structures and thus efficiently changing the teenager’s innate and primary personality nature, the subsequent modifications in everyday social relations of the teenagers are incline to result in regular increases in aggressive impact (Anderson and Dill 788).

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