The Adverse Effects on Children’s Minds
“Understanding the effects of action video game play is essential given that (a)
a large number of individuals regularly spend many hours on these types of games, and (b) proponents are offering suites of video games that are claimed to change behavior or enhance cognition.”
Video games are being said to have adverse effects on the minds of our youth. Many parents are concerned about the impact that video games may have on the minds of children today. We wonder what kind of damage we may be doing by allowing our children to have to many hours of screen time. In a study done with adolescents, it was shown that children between the ages of eight and twelve spend up to six hours a day on recreational media, and children between thirteen and eighteen years old can spend up to nine hours a day on media. Some researchers argue that that exposure to violent video games are not linked to aggressive behavior, but the vast majority of research shows there is a positive association. Frank et al. (2002) shows there is no significant relationship to link aggressive behaviors to video games. Lohaus, Ball, Klein-Heissling and Wild (2005) state that there is a positive association but only with females. A study done by Holtz and Appel (2011) showed that aggressive behavior could be predicted based on which video games were played.
The age of video game users rises each year, in 2016 he average age of gamers was thirty-five. Video games can be played on computers, gaming consoles through the television or now on smartphones and tablets. With games being so readily available at your fingertips we are finding them being used more and more every day. There are many options when it comes to the genres of video games but when polled the most played and wanted games were those with the most physical contact or violence in them. The most sought-after games are those such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty or Halo.
The Video game market shows statistics that the United States make roughly $13.6 billion dollars on video game users and had the highest revenue in the industry with Japan coming in second with $7 billion. The statistics show that three milllion children in the United States are addicted to video games.
Excessively Violent video games are sometimes known to create increased aggressive behavior, thoughts, and feelings. Some studies show that violent video games can cause an addiction which in turn increases depression and anxiety. Some even say that the significant increase in violent crimes may be linked to playing violent video games. The use of video games may also teach wrong values and may cause confusion between what is a part of reality as opposed to what is fantasy. Eighty-nine percent of video games contain some form of violence and can be linked to un-manageability, hyperactivity, disruptiveness, non-compliance, anti-social behaviors, and delinquencies. Violent and physically oriented games may also cause theft, drug/substance abuse or truancy.
A study done by James Cahill in October of 2018, show there have been a quite a few cases that were said to be linked to video games. A few of these cases are as followed:
Andrews Breivik who was known as the deadliest mass shooter in history. Breivik who killed 77 people on July 22, 2011, stated that he used Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as a training simulator to prepare for the shootings. There was also the Sandy Hook Shooting done by Adam Lanza on December 4, 2012. Lanza killed 20 students and six adults at an elementary school and multiple games including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 were cited as a cause.
Columbine High School shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered their high school and shot twelve students and one teacher before killing themselves. The media linked these crimes with the video game Doom. Also connected to Doom was the case of Evan Ramsey who took a shotgun to school and killed his principal and one student.
Grand theft Auto is also associated with crimes such as in the case of Devin Moore who was caught for car theft, grabbed the officer’s gun and shot him three times. At trial Moore made the statement, “Life is a video game, you gotta die sometimes.”
Nathan Brooks was a case that stuck out, Brooks parents grounded him from his video games, and as a result, he shot his parents while they were sleeping.
Such potent games have been said to be linked to violence; however, many studies also show there is not enough evidence to show that video games cause aggressive behavior. One review stated, “games increase aggression but not enough to demonstrate that playing video games lead to criminal behavior or delinquency.”
Some researchers also suggest that gender plays a role in the effects of video games. There are four times as many males that show symptoms of negative effects than females. Men are shown to have higher rates of externalizing behaviors which begins in early adolescence and goes into adulthood; this could be a result of adolescent males spending twice as much time on these games than women. Men are also more prone to play physically oriented and excessively more violent games than females.
Video games are also said to have positive effects on children, things like promoting problem-solving, developing hand-eye coordination, multitasking, and memory. Studies show that video games are a positive way to teach children management skills and quick-thinking strategies. Games like Minecraft can teach kids to be resourceful and can help with planning and setting goals. Some studies show that video games not only change how the brain performs but can also change the structure. Games have been known to affect attention, showing improvement in both sustained and selective. The study done by Greitemeyer and Oswald (2010) shows that there is an increase in empathy, altruistic services, defending behaviors and intervention in harassment situations caused by playing prosocial games.