Violent Video Games and their Impact on Adolescents

Sanjeeta Regmi 

The advancement of technology has affected every corner of the development all around the globe and its development in the gaming industry cannot be ignored. The 1990s is known as the era of revolution in video games and a gradual increase in 3D games. In the last few years, online games are also increasingly drawing their unusual players. Among the online or offline games, online violent video games are mostly been on demand in the gaming industry.

The violent video games are usually digital games which include killing, assaulting, using guns and missiles, etc. The effect of violent video games on aggressive behavior is still a controversial topic for many years. As adolescents and children are the groups mostly consuming these violent video games, whether the video games are making them actually violent in the real-life or are they becoming more social and empathetic is still the topic of debate.

Some critics believe that the violent video game is increasing the aggression among the players and some believe that there is no relation between violent video games and the violent activities and anti-social behaviors. More than 85% of video games of the market these days include some sort of violence in which 17% of video games, the primary focus of the game was violence itself. According to most of the research, the violent contents of these video games are drawing the adolescents in many mental issues leading to more aggressive behavior.

Violent video games and aggressive behavior
Violent video games are affecting adolescents negatively and aggressive behavior is one of them. It has been found that the violent video games where their own ‘hero’ can be chosen by the players, they are seen choosing most cruel and the best fighter for aggressively defending the opponent players and they portray themselves of being the same character in real due to which the sense of more cruelty and aggression is seen in their real life. When children are rewarded for killing their opponent in the games, they are likely to imitate the same activities as their ‘hero’ in real life.
Effects on familial relationships
The excessive time spent on violent video games is making adolescents more likely to be happy virtually than in real. Also, adolescents who are much engaged in violent video games are found to be fighting and getting much action in the injuries (Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley, 2007). The more they excluded themselves from the family, the more they find less attachment to the real world.
Increase in social violence
In the process of more fantasizing the game model and copying the aggression and the attitudes of the game ‘hero’, many violence can be recorded. Also, adolescents are seen developing the behavior of getting pleasure from hurting others and developing selfish behavior (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). One incident was recorded in 2000 in America, where an adolescent murdered his parents and his sister claiming that he was the main character of ‘Final Fantasy V111’, Squall Leonhart. This is a vital example of the negative impact of violent video games on adolescents. Such games have been influencing adolescents leading to many violent activities.

When the arguments for the negative impacts of violent video games are counted on, we can also count on the positive impacts of these games. Violent video games are not always making adolescents more aggressive and anti-social but they have been noticed in developing positive impacts on adolescent’s creativity and the coordinating skills. Creates a sense of co-operation and makes it much creative.

In many of the research, it is found that violent video games are actually encouraging adolescents positively. While they play violent games, mostly shooting ones, they keep running and shooting at the same time which increases the multi-tasking capacities within them. They do multi-task even after paying proper attention to every detail which includes their enemy and the available resources automatically without confusion which ultimately increases the brain

The resource management is also another skill they learn from violent video games. They are aware of properly utilizing the number of guns and the first aid available with them. And sometimes the sharing of their guns, missiles and first aid kits in the game has been found to be increasing the sense of co-operation and support within friends. Also, their idea of mapping increases as most of the violent video games use maps for the location.

In this way, the violent video games are aiding to the aggressive behavior of the adolescents. On the other side, these games not only have negative impacts but they are helping the children and adolescents in multi-tasking, group coordination, resource management skills, and also sometimes mapping skills. But the point here is that playing any of the games over the limitations can eventually have the harmful effects on the psychological and even sometimes physical well-being and we must always be aware of that.

Parents must guide their children in managing the time on games and not letting to isolate themselves on games
which can lead to social anxiety leading to virtual satisfaction than real social life

(The writer is a student of Psychology,  Masters Program at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu )

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