Video games are common to find in many homes and on many children’s and teenagers’ mobile devices. Most of these video games are not inspected by the parents either because they are not aware of what video games entail or because they simply do not care. This parental negligence could eventually cost us more in the long run with children turning to violence and celebrating in the face of violence in the society we live in (Gentile 39). This paper will seek to show the different arguments surrounding the ban of violent video games. Violent video games should be faced out and completely banned. Only games that have no violence should be accepted.
The very first video game that was viable was developed in 1971. Since then video games have evolved and undergone development and improvement in tadem with the computer development. Eight generations of video game consoles have been developed in the years until 2014. The arcade games that were popular in the 1970s through to the 1980s and 1990 declined and gave way to 3D polygon graphics. Later the 21st century has seen development of even more sophisticated gaming and gaming techniques for example the introduction of handhelds and PC games, online games and mobile games. The content of these games has also developed over the ages since the inception of these games. Violent video games have increasingly become violent with games involving shooting and killing (Willis 14).
Arguments for the Banning Violent Video Games
There has been a decline of violent juvenile crime as a result of increasing popularity of violent video games. This is a position that is held by the supporters of violent video games among children. However, a study was done that found out that approximately 60% of boys who had played video games has hit, bet or bullied someone, in comparison to 39% who had not played these games. This is proof that indeed these violent video games influence the minds of children and make them want to do what they see practically. They are also psychologically affected in such a manner that brings out an aggressive character in them as they grow up in such for the kind of power that they have when playing these video games (Anderson 13).
In these video games, the player is awarded for being violent, for killing someone or for beating up the opponent. One way of instilling a behavior in children is by rewarding efforts portrayed in regards to that behavior. For example if you wish to instill a habit of saying thank you in children, you award them with ice-cream or some candy each time they remember to say thank you. Similarly, if you reward violent actions, then these actions will tend to be implanted in the children’s minds. Research done on the matter discovered that rewarding violent actions leads to increased aggressive behavior in comparison to those who played games that punished violence (Anderson 15). It is worth noting that there are arguments against this that holds that there are no concrete studies that tie violent behavior to violent video games.
Aggressive behavior brought about by violent video games results in the development of an aggressive behavioral script. This script is developed due to the repetition of these games and the relation with these violent actors in the games. Constant repetition shifts the memory from the short term to the long term in the brain and hence this script will come to mind and to practice subconsciously. This therefore means that an individual will not need to think much to activate the aggressive behavior script. An example of such a behavioral script is locking the door of the house when leaving. This happens without much thought, and when you think about it you may not remember doing it because it happened as a reflex action (Willis 24). The same case will happen to children and teenagers who play violent video games repeatedly.
Violent video games affect the brain so much so that those who constantly play them develop a lack of sensitivity to violence. They will not flinch in the face of violence. Why? Because they have seen it so many times and they have done it as well in the many video games that they have played. It is of concern when we get individuals who do not react to violence and do not feel anything in relation to the violence they see. Contrary to this, a report was made that cited that only an eighth of attackers in a school based attack showed interest in violent video games (Haugen 40).
These video games rob the children and teenagers, and anyone else who is playing them constantly, of a sense of empathy. This is the ability to feel what the other person is feeling. This sense of empathy brings about moral evaluation of actions and without it then the action would have no moral consequence to these individuals. In case a reaction is elicited, it is that of pleasure in violence. The children would either not react to violence or relish in the face of violence. They are more likely to derive pleasure on seeing people suffering and from the power to cause pain in someone. This sense of empathy is greatly lowered and can be replaced by no feeling at all or the total opposite, happiness over another’s pain (Haugen 42).
The lessons that are taught from these violent video games are simply unacceptable. These video games teach children and teenagers that violence is the best and the only way to solve problems and resolve conflicts. Once there is a disagreement among them, they will result to violence because they know that this is an appropriate way of solving this dispute. When two children fight over who is supposed to take out the trash, they will result to fighting instead of more somber methods such as dialogue to come up with a roster. This kind of a mentality is quite unfortunate because these children will be our leaders of tomorrow. Picture a child now exposed to violent video games ever day of his/her childhood and most of his/her teenage life. This individual once in a position of leadership in the country and there is a conflict between nations, this individual will result in violence and a violent approach to take care of the problem. This is because these people do not believe in the effectiveness of other non-violent options of conflict-solving (Gee 28).
There are also instances where these video games rob the youth of trust in others. They constantly remain in fear of falling victim to such acts as they see in the video games. They are unable to trust anyone for fear that these people might turn on them. It does not matter who the person is, sibling, relative, parent or total stranger on the street. This makes them result to violent measures to protect themselves. Violent video games make teenagers and other age groups to be constantly fearful and lack trust in anyone at all (Haugen 50).
The main point in support for the ban of violent video games is that they teach people how to kill. This could very well be a training ground for killer people who know how to use knives, guns and other weapons including parts of their own body. This is evident in the case of the US Marine Corps and US Army licensing video games to train their soldier to fight. If the Army and other military units are using video games to train their soldiers, what about the youth sited in the comfort of their homes playing these games? They too acquire the training and are taught how to kill. This could be argued to be a good thing for self-defense. However, there are better avenues to learn self-defense tactics that are not as violent. For example, martial arts. This form involves a lot of discipline and teaches people a lot more than simply fighting. Video games on the other hand simply show the players how to use guns, how to aim at the opponents and how to kill. For the army, this is very appropriate because they get to remove the fear associated with pulling the trigger in battle (Gee 36). However, for children and youngsters this is not an appropriate venture.
Violent video games cannot be entirely blamed on the government and the video producing companies. A large portion of the reason why children are exposed to these games lies on the parents. Parents today are neglecting their primary role of parenting. They are not caring what their children are doing and what they are involved in. those who are tend to be too authoritarian to their children, an approach that will result in rebellion among the youngsters. Parents are buying their children these video games without inspecting them and without checking their rating. The video producing companies always make sure that the games are rated and clearly shown on the packaging. If parents were keener on what they were buying for their children, they would note that some materials are rated over 18 and therefore any children below that age cannot access the same (Grapes 114).
These same parents do not talk to their children and rarely connect with them. It is important to understand the point of view of their children and why they would like to play a violent video game. If this happened, the parents would understand why their children want to turn to video games. The children would also get an opportunity to air their needs and explain why they really want to play these games. In an avenue where these two can sit down and talk and listen to each other will be able to have an understanding of each other’s point of view. This would make the parents be in a good position to set ground rules for the use of these games. For example, for the children never to use the swear words they hear, and to never practice anything they see in the games. The parents would also be in a position to instill values in the children amidst the video games they are playing. For example they would show the importance of respecting others, respecting life and the repercussions of violence (Gentile 120).
In the process of development and growth in children, they tend to pick everything they see around them and do it themselves. In short, they tend to have a mimicking method of learning. The children will copy everything they see being done wither by their peers, their parents, television or even video games. This stage in a child’s life is very vulnerable because they will pick all that they see. Since they are not yet in a position to discern right from wrong, they will treat everything as gospel truth, unless they are corrected. For example, if a child sees that before any meal they always first say grace, this child will take this and copy it everywhere they go. Even when visiting, they will ask to say grace before meals. Similarly, if a child constantly sees the father beating the mother, this will be copied and especially for boys who will treat women with little or no respect as they grow up. Girls on the other hand will always find themselves with me who are violent people. The same applies for video games. Whatever violence they see is what they will copy and practice it at school among other children. Unless parents reclaim their responsibility of bringing up their children, they will suffer the consequences of violent children (Gentile 138).
These violent video games are an insult to the many soldiers of the military who are deployed in various parts of the world. These men and women leave their families and sacrifice their lives for the sake of their country. It is therefore rather insulting that back at home, in the comfort of your home one is busy playing these games and enjoying in the midst of violence. They are risking death to protect the country from harm and all the children do is to enjoy and revel in causing death and killing (Marcovitz 213).
Despite all these arguments for the banning of violent video games in the gaming industry, there are many people who feel that this should not be the case. To begin with, they are of the opinion that banning violent video games is simply ridiculous. This is because all the claims made are inaccurate. They also hold the position that these games should not be banned entirely because it is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that children below the age that has been rated on these videos is upheld. Besides, they argue that having these games banned would cause more harm than good. The people who develop these video games would lose their jobs and thus increasing the rate of unemployment. However, I am not advocating for the banning of all the video games, just the violent ones (Marcovitz 226). The game developers who make these violent games can shift their attention to those that are not violent.
Some other people also feel that the games should indeed be banned, but only to some age group. Banning of these violent video games depends entirely by the age group being targeted. These videos should be banned completely to children of a certain age and be left for only those who qualify to play them. This could make sure that the young minds are not corrupted and that only those with mature minds already can get access to these games. However, this plan has a flaw. There is no way you can ban it for a certain group of people and not another. These groups that would be denied access to the video games would still find another means to access these games. This could be through their siblings who are above the required age, through their friends, whereby they would play these games at a friend’s residence or even obtaining them illegally (Vorderer 67). In order to deal will the problem fully and without loopholes, these violent video games should simply be banned for all.
There have been no concrete researches that have shown the connection between the video games and violent behavior. There are no reports either that assert this with certainty. Banning video games based on research done on the one side of the coin is simply unfair. There should be enough research done on whether violent video games really do cause violent behavior and only then decide whether to ban the video games. However, the presence of a negative feature of something is enough to want it out of the way. Knowing the advantages of something or lacking a counter for the negative effects that a particular aspect brings does not provide credible grounds for assuming that that particular thing is good. In this case, having few to no research that has proved the lack of connection between video games and violent behavior does not warrant for these video games to stay available in the market to everyone. The fact that there is credible research and findings that show the harms of these video games is enough to warrant for them to be banned entirely (Grapes 45).
Another argument is in relation the benefits of violent video games. This argument holds that violent video games give children skills in strategy and enables the mind to make quick decisions. The argument suggests that strategy involves use of math and science or both, and that these video games enable the children to make use of this and put to practice their strategy skills. However, I think that there are better ways in which children may exercise their mathematics and their science and develop strategy skills as well. This involves playing other games that have no violence in them. A good game to play that will develop strategy skills is Chess. Chess is a very appropriate indoor game that can be played by these children that will sharpen their strategy skills without involving violence (Vorderer 72).
Probably the most credible argument of all is the fact that banning video games would not solve anything. This is because the same effects being brought about by the games will be influenced through other means such as television, music and movies. These mediums also have violent content and sexually explicit content that will potentially harm the children and bring in them the very qualities and behavior that we are trying to eliminate. All this point to the parents who are not doing their work in bringing up their children. It is important that parents play a very active role in their children’s lives. The internet and other electronic media has the potential to turn the youth and the children in to less desirable citizens and irresponsible human beings (Vorderer 94).
It is important to note that people do not just wake up one morning and decide to take a gun and kill people. This is triggered by a mental state, something that has been embedded in the mind for a long time in small successive episodes. We cannot be able to preach peace in our community and in the entire nation as well as in the world if we keep propagating violence among our youth in seemingly harmless things as video games. It is a law of nature that what we think about we attract to ourselves. If you think about peace we are bound to attract peace to ourselves and if we only think of violence, it will always surround us. This is no way to live in a society and expect the government to provide security to stop violence, when we are training violence machines in our own homes. Security and safety issues always require that all parties play their part no matter how small (Grapes 95). When one person stops the watching and playing of violence filled content, and another does the same, eventually there will be no violence being planted in children’s minds. This in the long run would make the work of local law enforcement agencies easier and peace a long lasting prospect.
In conclusion, I am of the opinion that violent video games should be banned and done away with. Let us build the young minds of our children and youngsters with productive things and productive games that challenge them to be innovative and invent new ideas that would take us far as a society. Let us build these children’s future by establishing strong foundations and be responsible people. This challenge also goes to the video programmers and video game developers who come up with these games. They should utilize their creative minds to develop captivating games that open up people’s minds without involving violence. Once this happens, then we will have a generation of people who can think quickly, intelligently with creativity and a lot of peace.