Teenagers and young children use their surroundings for early stages of development. Arguably the most influential part of a child’s life is the media they are subjugated too. One of the most popular outlets that appeal to the younger crowd is video games. Video games have gotten more realistic as technology advances, and many of these games involve war and killing. Developing teenagers and children will develop the habits they see projected from these violent video games.
This issue is important because of the rise of mental health concerns in our countries youth. I believe if younger audiences are exposed to this type of violent behavior, they will act more violently. Also with seeing that much violence, it is possible to become desensitized to violent action, allowing them to become more commonplace. Males are the main demographic of interest because they are more likely to play and purchase video games but it is not completely exclusive and does included females. Males are more likely to have violent tendencies, especially in the early teens as the development of puberty produces increased testoerone levels.
Not all games that can cause stress and hostility revolve around violence. Some games like StarCraft revolve around strategy and require the player to make planned moves like in chess. Engelhardt (2016) researched this idea to discover if there was a connection between not just violent games but also strategy games that could cause high levels of hostility. Englehardt saw no direct correlation between the adults with autism and those without when exposed to playing violent video games. An issue with this experiment is that the time exposed was not for a long period of time. If exposed to these violent images over months and years at a time, adverse development will appear.
Much of the crucial development that occurs in a person’s life is early on and through the teenage years. The mind at that age is like a sponge soaking up what ever it is exposed to, good or bad. When young children develop with violent and aggressive behavior around them, they in turn tend to act more violent and aggressive. Aggressive behavior can be very dangerous as it can lead to other developmental issues and can put the individual and other around them in harms way.
Depression is another mental disorder than can from these violent images from the media. This disease can go along with the desensitization I discussed earlier in my paper. When individuals loose important attachments to feelings, it can cause them to act lethargic and disheartened. Without a positive influence, it is possible for the individual to foster an acute version of depression, especially with early teens who already chemically imbalanced. These mental disporders are another reason that proper video game usage needs to be monitored for developing children.
Etchells’ (2016) research on the topic of depression found that the violence in video games might not have as much of an effect on and individual as the stress does. Depression was ruled out for children and teens that play high completive games frequently. This goes along with my theory of the desensitization of individuals and eroding their mental strength.
Violent video games while they have a rating that doesn’t allow for minors to buy them, kids can still bring their parents to the store to buy them the game. The parents need to know the importance of these ratings and monitor how their kids acquire them. Most of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings are not always clear and can escape the adult. The ESRB needs to be more proactive in their rating system to make sure that only content designed for the appropriate age gets sold.
There has been research done to counter this argument. Notably Ferguson (2016) found that teens measured their feelings before and after paying VVG (violent video games) and saw little to no difference between the levels of anger. The females tested though saw the levels of stress increase. This study is interesting to the argument surrounding the desensitizing of teens due to expose to these violent video games. It is possible that the teens tested have already been playing violent video games so that they have already been desensitized to the violent images on the screen
The images that young teens and children see need to be monitored to protect their development. Showing them images of violent actions can in turn give them violent thoughts and hinder growth. It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure this harmful media does not get to their children. Violent video games can have adverse affects on the development of a child if exposed for a prolonged period of time.
Works Cited Engelhardt, Christopher R., et al. "Effects Of Violent-Video-Game Exposure On
Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive-Thought Accessibility, And Aggressive Affect Among Adults With And Without Autism Spectrum Disorder." Psychological Science (Sage Publications Inc.) 26.8 (2015): 1187-1200. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Mar. 2016.
Etchells, Peter J., et al. "Prospective Investigation Of Video Game Use In Children And
Subsequent Conduct Disorder And Depression Using Data From The Avon Longitudinal Study Of Parents And Children." Plos ONE 11.1 (2016): 1-11. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Mar. 2016.
Ferguson, Christopher, et al. "Violent Video Games Don't Increase Hostility In Teens,
But They Do Stress Girls Out." Psychiatric Quarterly 87.1 (2016): 49-56. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Mar. 2016.