Feb 4th 2016

Argumentative Essay: Do Violent Video Games Cause Behavior Problems?

Do Violent Video Games Cause Behavior Problems?

Children have always been playing games related to violence. Cowboys vs. Indians, war games, superheroes vs. villains, police vs. criminals, Star Wars games… the list of activities that involved shooting and fighting is endless. Nevertheless, violence in children's playing time was brought to a whole new level when video games got into the picture. Boys no longer want a new plastic gun for birthday; they want a new video game that involves killing more virtual characters. The rougher the game is – the more fun they have. Many researchers are trying to come to the solution of the dilemma: do violent video games make children violent? According to John Riccitiello, the boss of Electronic Arts, the enormous amount of research done with the purpose of finding the link between entertainment content and actual violence still hasn't found the ultimate proof. On the other hand, research shows that video gaming can have positive effects upon the development of the brain and it can improve the eye-hand coordination, multitasking skills, focus, and decision-making processes.

According to a study published in 2007 by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, violent video games awaken a state of irritation. Thus, the gamers are more inclined to verbal aggression and brutal behavior. The study showed that the participants who played violent video games for just 20 minutes became less physically aroused by real violence. The gamers get used to the aggressive behavior they consider normal while playing video games, which is why they become almost numb when they see it in reality. This desensitization to violence is concerning, but the experiment did not measure actual aggressive behavior demonstrated by the participants who played violent video games. Thus, the results and assumptions from this study cannot be taken as prevailing arguments.

Although violent games are sometimes associated with real-life violence, researchers haven't proved they are the actual causes of violence. People prone to aggressive behavior may like playing these video games, but the inclination to these games was a result, not the cause of the problem. The findings of a study published by the University of Rochester show that action video games can improve the player's learning capacity. In the experiment, the non-action gamers had lower perceptual learning performance when compared to the action-gamers. The researchers found that action video games boosted faster and better performance in perceptual learning tasks. Experienced players are very effective in multitasking, since they can pay attention to several details at the same time, without being confused. Gaming scenarios contribute towards the development of such capacity of the brain.

Although there isn't any authoritative proof that video gaming causes violence, it would be irresponsible for people to claim that violent games have no effect on people's behavior. These addictive games make us enjoy seeing blood on the screen, and they make virtual violence a constant part of our lives. We are all affected by the environment that surrounds us, and children's minds can take all impressions for granted. Thus, supporting a culture that treats violence like a perfectly normal thing is simply wrong. Blissful childhood should not be associated to games that support violence. However, parents and teachers should not be paranoid about all video games, because there is clear evidence that these activities can boost children's learning capacity and improve their focus.

The positive effects of video gaming and the lack of proof that violent games are the actual cause of behavior problems should not be taken for granted. Excessive gaming leads to unhealthy lifestyle, so parents should do their best to control this habit and choose the games for their children very carefully. There are many video games that can help develop different functions of the brain without making the player dependent upon virtual violence.

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