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Violent Video Games

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The technology of video games has been around for almost a quarter of a century (Volk 10). Over this time, it has become a major source of entertainment for young adults; in fact, most homes contain video game units. With this increasing popularity, video game makers have targeted a new audience of gamers, children. This has posed a major debate: do video games with graphic content affect the behavior of these young users, or do they simply entertain them? After much research, it is clear that violent video games have a negative effect on society's behavior.

It has been said that there are no studies linking violent video game play to serious aggression. However, a study done by the American Psychological Agenda showed "high levels of violent video game exposure have been linked to delinquency, fighting at school and during free periods, and violent criminal behavior (e.g., self reported assault, robbery)"(Potter 45). More specifically, in this study 210 students were shown either a violent or a non-violent video game and then put in an experimental social situation; those who had just played the violent video game behaved more aggressively towards their opponents (Volk 136). Furthermore, another study done by Study 1 concluded that, "Not only do video games have immediate effects on a child's mood, they can also permanently damage the child's mental growth, perceptions, and the perspective from which he or she views the world."(Does Playing Violent Video Games Affect Behavior). This study has been quoted by Time magazine as a "very solid study," because of the procedures used to determine the results ("Does Playing Violent Video Games Affect Behavior"). For example, the researchers surveyed college students

concerning their use of video games and their reported aggressive delinquent behaviors in the past. They also measured the personality trait of aggressiveness to see how that related to the other variables. Students who had played more aggressive video games had also engaged in more aggressive delinquent behavior ("Does Playing Violent Video Games Affect Behavior"). One of these researchers, Kimberly Clark, concluded that "there was a significant increase in anger and violence in the patients after playing these games" (Volk 34). Thus showing video games do influence our youths in a negative way.

Many people believe that unrealistic video game violence is safe for adolescents and older youths. However, studies have shown that cartoonish and fantasy violence has caused increases in aggression in young people. For example, experimental studies with college students have consistently shown aggressive behavior after exposure to clearly unrealistic and fantasy violent video games ("Video Game Violence and Public Policy"). Furthermore, researcher John Greenfield who conducted the study concluded that "there was an apparent increase in aggressiveness by the students after exposure to unrealistic and fantasy video games". Also, studies such as one by the University of Chicago done on 8th graders found significant increases in aggression after playing E-rated (suitable for everyone) violent video games ("Video Game Violence and Public Policy"). This same study concluded that "there was a similar connection between fantasy and realistic game violence that made the participants more prone to aggression than before the study." ("Video Game Violence and Public Policy").

Of course, if violent video games cause increases in aggression, crime rates should increase. This is correct; youth crimes rates are increasing, and considered one of the fastest growing forms of media violence. For example, the official 2001 Report of the

Surgeon General on Youth Violence concluded that about 1 in 3 high-school students say they have been in a physical fight in the past year, and about 1 in 8 of those students required medical attention for their injuries ("Does Playing Violent Video Games Affect Behavior"). This same report showed that 78 percent of the youths owned or had played violent video games for



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