In the era of increased use of technology, the activities that people engage in to pass the time have been diversified. There are various activities that people engage in in the online platforms or on their computers and mobile phones. Children are among the group that has been affected by the use of technology about playing video games. This has met with mixed feelings with different schools of thought have expressed their concerns regarding the issues. Contrary to the popular belief that video games improve children’s cognitive performance, research indicates that violent games are harmful to children’s behavior.
Research indicates that children tend to practice what they see in their heroes by emulating their behavior. Violent video games contain scenes of dominance and subjection whereby the player might be required to act violently to emerge victorious (Bushman et al., 2014). It is the nature of children to be dominating towards their peers, and they tend to take any opportunity to outsmart others. Violent video games, therefore, have been linked bullying.
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In schools, children try to put themselves in the contexts in which they see in the video games, and this may not only put them at risk, but it can also endanger the lives of the other children. More so, such tendencies may worsen in the absence of adult guidance. There are various disclaimers given in different games which are excessively violent. However, the anticipation that children have results disregarding such directions. Without an adult to explain the information, children become prone to practicing what they see in the games oblivious of t the fact that the characters are animated.
Research conducted by Bushman et al. (2014), indicates that more than 60% of boys and 40% of the girls play at least one violent video game. This has been associated with long term aggression and truancy. Among the learners, 39% have engaged in a violent activity (Bushman et al., 2014). The long-term effects have also been confirmed by a study conducted by Ferguson & Olson (2014) indicates that violent video games played by children are linked with long-term aggressive behavior. The players gradually turn into bullies and can either bully their peers in schools or online. In doing so, they try to live up to the character of their heroes. Also, the children are more likely to lick fights, become hostile, and argue with their instructors. A sustained behavior has detrimental effects on their conduct, and the children may become delinquents.
There is also a significant consensus among pediatricians, parents, and researchers that watching violent games has the possibility of increasing aggressive behavior. A study conducted by Hasan et al. (2015) outlines that 90% of pediatricians and more than 67% of parents agree that violent video games are inappropriate for children because they may turn them to be violent. Also, about 90% of the pediatricians in the United States agree that excessive exposure to violent media increases the chances of childhood aggression. This is supported by the views of more than 83% of behavioral psychologists (Hasan et al., 2015).
However, there is a dissenting view from some scholars who outline that the violence that children adopt by playing m-rated games is not necessarily due to the content but due to the duration that children spend playing them. The skills that are required to emerge victorious through either evading barriers or figuring a way out of a trap have been linked with improved cognition(Gentile et al., 2014). The stakes are higher in violent games whereby one has to fight the enemies to avoid being killed. This improves children’s creativity and problem-solving skills.
The available literature supports the idea that violent video games are not appropriate for children since they have the capacity to influence their behavior negatively. The simulated activities in the games, such as the use of guns motivate the children to emulate the characters. It is noteworthy that in the games, the protagonists are given an upper hand to appear intimidating, and they overwhelm the other characters. As research indicates, the violent games influence the individuals’ behavior in the long run. For instance, children may develop a passion for guns and street violence. The availability of guns in the community may trigger the children to access the weapons at an early age and use them for illegal activities.
Also, the dire consequences of the behaviors that might result as result of children playing violent community games should inform their restriction. For instance, the high probability of bullying, picking up fights with other children and arguing with teachers can make school life difficult, and this may trigger them to drop out. The violent behavior may also result in serious accidents or become fatal.
Conclusively, video games have the possibility of altering children’s behavior by luring them into emulating the behaviors exhibited by their heroes in the games. Research indicates that video games promote bullying and intimidation and this can result in injuries and sometimes death of the victims. Therefore, the content of the games that children play should be carefully selected by the guardians. Although research indicates that the games improve creativity and problem-solving skills, it is noteworthy that solving difficult tasks is not reserved only for the violent games. There are other types of games that children can be exposed to and derive positive behavioral changes.
Bushman, B. J., Gollwitzer, M., & Cruz, C. (2015). There is broad consensus: Media researchers agree that violent media increase aggression in children and pediatricians and parents concur. Psychology of Popular Media Culture , 4 (3), 200.
Ferguson, C. J., & Olson, C. K. (2014). Video game violence use among “vulnerable” populations: The impact of violent games on delinquency and bullying among children with clinically elevated depression or attention deficit symptoms. Journal of youth and adolescence , 43 (1), 127-136.
Gentile, D. A., Reimer, R. A., Nathanson, A. I., Walsh, D. A., &Eisenmann, J. C. (2014). Protective effects of parental monitoring of children's media use a prospective study. JAMA Pediatrics , 168 (5), 479-484.
Hasan, Y., Bègue, L., Scharkow, M., & Bushman, B. J. (2013). The more you play, the more aggressive you become A long-term experimental study of cumulative violent video game effects on hostile expectations and aggressive behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , 49 (2), 224-227.