There are so many violent video games on the market these days, and they seem to appeal to the younger audience, despite having an 18 warning sticker. Do they damage our younger generation and do violent video games contribute to youth violence?
I allowed my 5-year-old son to play his fathers Call Of Duty Xbox game, to see what his reaction was, I actually think it was a bad move as it’s the only game he wants to play now. Since playing the game I have noticed that he loves all things army now and pretends to shoot his siblings and friends with pretend guns, but he’s not violent.
Playing violent video games for long periods of time can hold back the “moral maturity” of teenagers, according to a study in Canada.
In-depth research into the behaviour of about 100 13- and 14-year-olds found over-exposure to violent games weakened empathy for others.
More than half were found to play video games every single day, with violent games the most common. BBC News
Since the early 1980s, advocates of video games have emphasised their use as an expressive medium, arguing for their protection under the laws governing freedom of speech and also as an educational tool. Detractors argue that video games are harmful and therefore should be subject to legislative oversight and restrictions.
The positive and negative characteristics and effects of video games are the subjects of scientific study. Results of investigations into links between video games and addiction, aggression, violence, social development, and a variety of stereotyping and sexual morality issues are debated. Wiki
The most recent data that we have on the links between video game use and aggressive behavioural outcomes comes from a meta-analysis, published in thePersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin in January 2014. Researchers from the University of Innsbruck looked at 98 studies, testing nearly 37,000 participants since 2009.
They found that, overall, video games do affect the social behaviour of players – violent video game use is linked to an increase in aggressive outcomes and a decrease in prosocial outcomes. On the other hand, prosocial games show the opposite effect – they’re linked to a reduction in aggressive behaviour and an increase in prosocial, cooperative behaviour. The Guardian
Do Violent Video Games Contribute To Youth Violence?
I asked my mummy friends what their own views were:
Krista: There has been no proven correlation between the two. Most kids know real vs fantasy.
Crystal: I think if the child already has violent tendencies they may get ideas from the games. But I don’t think the game outright creates a violent child
Alicia: Maybe. My 6-year-old repeats sayings and actions off movies; he is kicked out of school until we can fix his behaviour. He is normally sweet and very smart but he gets bored quick and becomes angry and violent now. I just get a little scared to put him on medications but I guess that’s what is going to happen.
Vikki: I don’t think so but if a young kid is watching or playing games that are 18+ they might copy but they should know real from fantasy and right from wrong.
Marie: Violent games/movies come with an age rating for a reason, but they do not cause a child to be violent, children who have never been exposed to games and movies can also show violent tendencies.
Leah: Yes and No. For the most part, no, most children know right/wrong, real/fantasy. However, if a child has been allowed to play violent video games a lot and from a young age then yes – that child is desensitised to the violence and begins to think it the norm – there have been studies done on this also.
Hayley: Yes, they do. Or at least, they certainly don’t help. But that is because some parents don’t seem to care that they are exposing their children to completely inappropriate content. Kids will often copy what they see and hear, especially younger ones if they see a lot of violent things; they would have no reason to think that it’s not okay. As they get older (young teens) and have a better sense of right and wrong, it is still teaching the children bad habits.
They may know that killing is wrong, but may not see the harm in using the language, the disrespect, or the very obvious disregard for women seen in some of these games (such as getting extra points for killing prostitutes). The age ratings are there for a reason. Personally, I can’t see why anyone would ever want to expose their children to such filth- but that is only my opinion. I can also understand the rationalisations such as ‘It’s only a game’ or ‘my partner plays it, not the children, it doesn’t matter if they can see what’s going on’ or ‘other kids his age have got this game, it must be okay’ etc. It is up to parents what we let our kids see, and we will all have different standards as to what is acceptable and what isn’t.
Nicci: I personally think they do. My 10-year-old has an obsession with Assassins Creed, which has risen in age guidelines as the games have progressed, so there for he is not allowed to play it, you can imagine the carry on its given us. It’s hard because he loves it, but we know now it’s not suitable for him, however, this doesn’t stop him from acting out moves and making his own ‘Assassins Training School’ with his friends, which inevitably causes accidents and injury. Drives me insane. Why do they have Batman in the toy section, yet the films are now 15’s? Kids Batman tee shirts etc, but very dark scary storylines? There should be a clear distinction but hey, children’s minds don’t matter when it comes to money
Jemima: I think, more often than not, video games are used as an excuse for blame of a child’s behaviour. There is no correlation which has been proven between the use of age restricted video games and behaviour, and there have been many studies to date. How a child behaves is all to do with how they are brought up, the environment they’re brought up in, the influences of adults around them, discipline etc. also the ability to differentiate between reality and fantasy. In most cases, people need to look at the parents rather than put blame on a video game.
Leah: You are absolutely right Jemima – but if that parent has let their child play them – hence that environment is all about violence, disrespect etc. then the video game may well have an effect (as will the crap parenting of course). As you say the onus is on the parent.
Nicci: I think it’s actually a hand in hand thing, perhaps the parenting has a lot to be desired all round, including not watching what the kids are playing on, parents going for the easy option in all areas, so I do think there is a connection in that sense.
Krista: I don’t believe they turn people into killers or maniacs but my son gives poor attitude when he plays video games. I think it has to do with the energy he uses when he’s running around rather than sitting and playing a game
Sam: I think it depends on the individual, I mean for some people it doesn’t have an effect whereas other people it can. I think that slot of behavioural things are to do with experiences and environments the kids are in more do than video games, but the video games can add to it.
Do Violent Video Games Contribute To Youth Violence?
I would love to hear your own views …