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Violent Video Games' Affect on Youth Today

Essay by review  •  February 10, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,163 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,033 Views

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In the more recent times it seems as if America's youth is becoming more violent. Concern for those aspects in our society which influence violent acts has become an issue since the tragedy at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Many feel one aspect of today's society affecting our nation's youth in a negative manner is video games. Is this form of entertainment really a factor in teen violence? I think not. We should blame the parents for teen violence, not video games.

John Holts article, "Kinds of Discipline" states that the youth watch very carefully what people around them are doing and want to do the same. The example of these grownups is contagious (490). Now days the media makes it seem like it's alright for the youth to be watching these violent movies and playing these violent video games as long as they have their parents permission.

For some reason, though, video games are approached differently. Joshua Quittner, author of "Are Video Games Really so Bad?" states the idea of one's child controlling an electronic character whose main objective is to steal cars and kill police officers is socially dangerous. Studies have shown that kids do not actually have illusions of doing these things (52). Kids do know that killing is bad. We all have morals implanted genetically; they just need to be strengthened through parental guidance.

Royal Van horn showed in his 1999 article, "Violence and Video Games," a large stance on the issue is not one of influencing kids actions. David Grossman, a retired Lieutenant Colonel for the U.S. Army and former professor of psychology at West Point believes it is the desensitization parents should be concerned with. It is not in human nature to kill one another and for this reason soldiers must be trained to shoot on instinct (173). In fact, only one-fifth of all American soldiers in WWII never fired their rifle (Quittner 52). For that reason, simulators similar to video games such as Doom and Quake have been used to train soldiers how to kill without thinking. This may be true, but the simulators used show real soldiers in enemy uniforms, and users are told to take a single head shot at all enemies in the room. Games like Quake and Doom however similar require numerous shots to kill an enemy and do not distinguish between where the enemy is shot: i.e. a shot to the foot equals a shot to the head (Quittner 173-4).

Another concern for games like Quake and Doom is their setup. These games are first person. The player sees through the eyes of the electronic eyes of their character, seeing only their own weapon and whatever is in front of them. The game boards are also set up to resemble hospitals, and often areas that are quite similar to school hallways.One must account for the fact that many of the weapons used are those of the sort that do not exist or are only seen in movies. Laser guns and triple barreled grenade launchers are not lifelike and are even less lifelike when used against four-armed monsters.

Ken Schroeder's 1997 article, "Halving Fun" showed that when confronted with questions concerning the appeal of these games many will say that they enjoy doing things that they "could never do in real life." In fact, a ten-year-old girl was quoted to say, "a video game with someone smashing a guy's head in is not going to make the kid go out and smash their friend's head in (73)." So whether or not they are desensitized to the violence does not necessarily make them more prone to it.

In the article, "Video Violence: Where does the Buck Stop," Deborah Enders explained that video games are also rated for violence. These ratings do not prevent a kid from buying a violent video game though (27-28). This however could also be the parents' fault. For most kids it is difficult to come up with the money to buy titles for fifty plus dollars. If parents are giving their kids the money to buy these games they need to at least be aware of what their children are buying and if necessary, rent certain titles before buying them.

There is also a concern for video game addiction.



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