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Violent Video Games

Updated on July 5, 2015

There are parents that do not know the psychological affects violent videos have on children and teenagers. Children and teenagers, each day, spend an increasing amount of time playing videos games that are shaping their behaviors, values, and attitudes. Recent studies have shown how the violent behaviors of children and teenagers have increased annually based on playing violent video games. The rising popularity of video games such as Call of Duty, Destiny and Grand Theft Auto has contributed to violent behavior among children and teens.

Violent video games have caused concern among the American public regarding issues such as aggression, addiction and even depression. " About 90% of U.S. kids ages 8 to 16 play video games, and they spend about 13 hours a week doing so (more if you're a boy). Kids in both the U.S. and Japan who reported playing lots of violent video games had more aggressive behavior months later than their peers who did not" (Harding). Video games, to name a few, Mortal Combat, Destiny, Doom, Call of Duty and BioShock are very violently interactive in the slaughtering of the opponent; and even though these games are rated "R" with the violence level displayed and the recommended age. These games are still purchased for children and teenagers. The American Psychological Association announced policy for violence in video games "after reviewing research literature showing that violence in video games leads to increased aggressive thoughts, aggressive behaviour and angry feelings in young players" (Jarrett).

Some of the Most Violent Video Games

Video games such as the ones listed above are very graphic. When an opponent is shot with a gun or stabbed with a knife, how the opponent goes down is very life-like. Back in the day when an opponent was killed they would just vanish into thin air. Today, the opponent killed performs life-like movements. For example, opponents may just fall and wiggle around on the ground as if it is in pain before fully dying and vanishing. Or, the opponent when shot in the back may stumble around a bit before hitting the ground and vanishing. Also, when shot blood splatters on the ground, wall or anything else near the opponent.

Survival Skills?

Critics say violent video games are not an issue that is affecting the attitudes or beliefs of children under the age of 16. They say video games teach children survival skills. There are parents and adults who feel the same way. They say violent video games are preparing their children for the military, or scenarios such as those seen in the movie "Hunger Games". They believe violent video games will help their children have years of practice and skills. "Research revealed that playing prosocial video games increases prosocial cognitions, positive affect, and helpful behaviors" (Saleem, Anderson, & Gentile). Just like sitting in class and learning from the teacher or reading a book changes the physical structure of the brain, so does playing video games. Video games, violent or not, gives the brain a workout because it involves a high level of thinking.

Top 10 Violent Crimes Caused by Video Games

However, according to Barbara Wilson “media influence on children depends more on the type of content that children find attractive than on the sheer amount of time they spend in front of the screen. Strong evidence shows that violent video games and other television programming contribute to children’s aggressive behavior”. There have been crimes committed by children and teenagers that prove violent video games are not good. A boy child at the age of eight killed a 90 year old woman “after playing Grand Theft Auto IV, a video game critics often blame for promoting violence. After playing this game, the boy fatally shot his elderly caregiver, Marie Smothers, in the back of the head while she was sitting in her living room watching television" (Kemp).

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold


In the late 1990s two teenagers from Littleton, Colorado, assaulted their high school with guns, Columbine High. They wounded 23 people and murdered 13 people, then killed themselves. It was said the two teenagers took such action because of bullying, but a customized video showed the two teenagers imitating the video game “Doom.”

The exposure of violent video games is not going to start with legislation. Yes, the American Psychological Association announced policy to limit the violence in video games, but that is not going to stop violence in video games. Games with violent, graphic are still being made and the only way to limit exposure starts with parents. Gaming has been a hot commodity since the 1980s and is ever growing. Violent video games will not cease to exist and there is no law that can stop it from existing. All video games are not violent and there are some that do help the cognitive processes of brain. Playing video games can help children and teenagers to develop better thinking skills. It can make them quicker on their feet and expose them to real-life scenarios they may encounter later on in life. However, there are video games that do, not purposely, display violence as a fun thing. These types of video games are an influence on children and teenagers and can cause children and teenagers to act out violently.

Parent's Take Action

It is the responsibility of the parents to make sure that their children or teenagers are not exposed to this type of violence until their children are aware or know the difference between fantasy and reality. Any parent that has a child under the age of 17 should buy video games with caution; read the labels and warnings signs before purchasing video games for their children. The government should implement a compulsory legislative standard limiting the violence in video games and the sales of violent video games to those under the age of 17.

What Do You Think?

Do violent video games contribute to violence among children and teens?

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