css.php

Research Essay English 11000

Research Essay English 11000

Jonathan Lopez           

Justin Falk-Gee

English 11000       

11/12/19

Do games cause violence?

 

Video games are a cherished part of many childhood who grew up playing them and kids today appreciate them perhaps with an even greater passion with games having stories, colors, and morals that can stay with players even after they stop playing. However, as games come more and more into a positive viewpoint of society, so does negative viewpoint which leads to the question of are games bad. This question is a manifestation of previous viewpoints being critical on games with the common phrase “aren’t you too old to be playing games?” Many think that games and the adult life don’t mix and that games are for kids but that never shook the rise of gaming popularity until now. Because modern games are now more realistic than before with characters looking like actual people with feelings and flesh, the actions they do can affect real people’s actions, especially kids today who are constantly surrounded by technology with easy access to these games. With the arrival of more games each year, the amount of violent games released increase as well and with the recent shooting events happening all over America, many people are jumping to the conclusion that games today make kids violent, increase aggressive behavior which comes from games like Call of Duty with its infamous violent aspects of gunning innocent people down, stealing cars, and prostitution. However, that is just not true at all and this leads to the research question of this paper which is “Why and how do video games have a greater positive impact on society than a negative one?” This question is the question people need to ask when analyzing the impact of games on society is very real but no one knows how.

Games require a lot of thinking and problem solving, even if the game is a first-person shooter or a fighting game which seem simple in concept. Games often give players  goal to achieve, whether that beat through playing by yourself or playing with other people. An article titled “Do Video Games Promote Positive Youth Development?” by author Paul J.C. Adachi and Teena Willoughby notes that games boost areas involving problem-solving, cooperation, concentration and much more. As mentioned before that modern video games are more complex and detailed than ever, this means that the challenges that come with them grew as well and constantly change to keep people on their toes. This is reflected in real life as many games now let you work together with other players to achieve goals which as the article of Adachi and Willoughby notes that it can reduce in-group bias as shown in esports competitions where players are chosen based on skills, not by preference. These skills develop in games that contain violence and gore or games as cartoonish as Mario as both push you to give effort whether that be alone or with someone a group. But the positive outcomes of games don’t stop there as the article notes that when kids who play games and those who don’t play games were asked how close they were to their family, those who played games had a higher level of familial bonds than those who didn’t and this was true across all genders. This then leads to the question of what other perks can be reaped from games?

In order to answer this question, we look to the medical world where another consequence of video games influence is seen. In an article titled “Computer Gaming and ADHD: Potential Positive Influences on Behavior” by author Stuart Johnstone, he notes his opinion on how games can improve mental behavior for patients. Johnstone specifically talks about how teens suffering from ADHD can be helped using video games and how this practice has been used more and more frequently as he states “there has been an increase in the use of technology and gaming in the treatment of [ADHD].” (Johnstone Computer Gaming and ADHD: Potential Positive Influences on Behavior) But why does this relatively small details matter at all? This treatment for ADHD is something that is very important as it doesn’t rely on drug-based medication which can have severe short and long-time effects on the patient which is already stacked with their problems of short attention span, impulsiveness, and more. The short term problem a drug-based medication is mainly the negative impacting daily behavior but the long term effects of this treatment method is where the problems really start to stack up as now according to Johnstone there are high drop-out rates, headaches, heart palpitations, insomnia and, growth retardation. All of these new problems arise from something that is supposed to help sufferers of ADHD improve the quality of their daily lives which can be avoided with a technology-based treatment using games.

But the positive impact of video games doesn’t just end there as more benefits can be gained as the popular website mentalfloss.com points out in a shortlist they made showing titled other ways video games help out people in social settings and those suffering from certain mental illnesses. Social interactions can be very scary sometimes, especially to those who suffer from anxiety but using video games, mentalfloss notes that as more online games are released, the more people interact with each other as “roughly 70 percent of all players play with friends at least some of the time.”(mentalfloss.com) Seeing this detail about games disproves the common idea of video games make you anti-social as that is not always the case, especially in this modern time. But it doesn’t end there as video games can improve your leadership skills by playing certain genres of games where you are responsible for a virtual community where you have to make the right decisions or you virtual creation suffers the consequences. The power of games helps everyone, especially those afflicted with some type of disability or restriction like those suffering from dyslexia where a study was done where the patients played games with a lot of action and then were tested later to see that their reading had improved. Other perks from games come to serve the medical world where the use of video games can help curb any bad habits like smoking or drinking as mentalfloss notes “study revealed a 24 percent reduction in desire for their vice of choice.”(15 Surprising Benefits of Playing Video Games)This new healthy approach is great as it doesn’t guilt people but just gives them an alternative to unload some stress. 

  With all the benefits we gain from video games from everyday life to life-changing illnesses, video games seem to be a perfect blessing with no faults but that not the case. The idea of video cause real-world violence does have some validity to it as those who played video games are more prone to have violent behavior. In an article titled “The effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence”, it shows a finding that kids who were exposed to violent games have a high chance of being violent even after the exposure has ended. Kids always copy what they see happening around them when growing up in order to adjust to the world but when constant showed games which “Over 85% of games contain some violence, and approximately half of video games include serious violent actions,”(The effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence) they tend to act out those violent actions. In addition, with more kids than ever before having access to smart devices like phones, tablets, and computers, kids can always see something violent even if it wasn’t intended as many companies market these types of games to children. The effects don’t stop there as even if kids don’t mimic the violence they see on screen, they become desensitized to violence whether it be real or digital as technology advances more and more with time, the line between reality and fantasy disappears more and more.

The question of do video games cause violence seems to be leaning towards it does cause violence to a casual observer, especially with the recent shootings all over the nation with even one shooter mentioning the popular first-person shooter series Call of Duty, which is a game series known for its blood and gore, in their manifesto. This is further supported by the claims President Donald Trump has said about how games cause violence and that there should be restrictions on games to help remedy this national problem. The claims of the President have recently come under fire as they aren’t factually correct and there is no difference here along with the idea of video game violence. Many studies before 2015 have suggested a strong connection between videogames and violence but recent studies have contradicted the old studies as pointed out by Vox.com in an article titled “The frustrating, enduring debate over video games, violence, and guns”. They also point to the words of a criminologist named Nickie Phillips who states “ As a public, we want a single concrete explanation as to why people commit atrocities when the answers can be very complex.”(The frustrating, enduring debate over video games, violence, and guns) Many people accuse games because it is a single entity which reflects some of the elements of violence and it is easy to convince others just like politicians such as Donald Trump and others are trying to. 

In the same article by Vox.com, they explore a new idea of the correlation between video games and real-life which is what if it’s the other way around where video games are affected by society instead. The idea of gun culture is brought up as it has been around since the birth of the United States and is even written in our Constitution as the second amendment of the right to bear arms. This something discussed with video game designer Naomi Clark who told Vox.com “I find it more plausible that America’s long-standing culture of gun violence has affected video games, as a form of culture, than the other way around… ”(The frustrating, enduring debate over video games, violence, and guns) Video games have come after the idea of guns and so are influenced by how fascinated we are with the guns, serving as an extension. This is done by politicians in the effort of gaining votes or keep power by targeting games that contain like Call of Duty while ignoring games that encourage creativity and cooperation with friends like Minecraft as pointed out by game designer Zak Garriss in the article. This isn’t where the lies from the politicians end, however.

Continuing the action of disproving the stigma of videogames and violence, we go to cnn.com article titled “Video games unlikely to cause real-world violence, experts say” where the author Armon Azad talks about how video games don’t cause violence but perhaps even prevent it. Author Armon Azad talked to Andrew Pryzblyski who is an associate professor at the University of Oxford about his study done in 2019 finding a correlation between violent games and violent behavior in “…a study of more than 1,000 British adolescents that found no link between the time spent playing violent video games and aggressive behavior.”(Video games unlikely to cause real-world violence, experts say) This was a study done in the United Kingdom to see if this is something that was universal among people which proved to be false. Associate professor Pryzblyski also noted that when doing this research to disprove the stigma that “the only place where you see this kind of narrative still holds any water, that games and violence are related to each other, is in the United States.” This is true mainly due to the politicians who only care about their appearances and keeping their power and also because of the media who constantly blow any facts out of proportion or twist them enough to be fake for some views and attention. The constant clashing of studies and claims hide the truth of this national issue which hurts everyone in the end as it is the public and those who serve the public who are paying the consequences of misinformation and stigmatization of themselves reaching as far up the hierarchy as the President. 

The idea of video games preventing violence is one that seems ridiculous and false but actually the very opposite where it makes sense and is like a blessing in disguise. In the same CNN article by Armon Azad, he references studies to support this idea of violence prevention like how he referenced a study done in 2016 showed that violence had decreased after popular games like Call of Duty or Mortal Kombat are released. This is supported by Christopher Ferguson, who is an associate professor and co-chairman of the Department of Psychology at Stetson University, where he told CNN that “… basically, by keeping young males busy with things they like” — whether it’s playing sports, collecting stamps or playing first-person shooter video games — “you keep them off the streets and out of trouble.” (Video games unlikely to cause real-world violence, experts say) This seemingly new idea of video games is something avoided by those who hold power and who continuously say that games are a waste of time and are only meant for children who seek to say that this simple singular idea is the cause when the truth is harder to understand like Associate Professor Pryzblyski notes.

Modern video games are meant to primarily do one objective which is to entertain the player with what the game has. The way the game seeks to accomplish this is different from genre to genre but now it doesn’t matter what message the game is sending or how entertaining it is, the idea of video games cause violence is a powerful claim that affects everyone in one way or another. But in this day and age where communication among ourselves is limitless, where our voices are heard all around the world, and how efficiently we do it is better than ever, this can change and needs to change as we are fighting each other based on what someone says instead of looking at the facts. And this isn’t a problem that has manifested recently but has been around since the early days of games but instead has had a reemergence with the comments of people like Donald Trump, who is someone with a lot of power and influence in the country. In addition to the false preaching of those with influence, the mass shootings that have happened all over the country are making this problem worse and worse as we are taking effort away from the investigation of real causes. This is something that will continue and intensify even more should another mass shooting happens and if the criminal mentions any violent game anywhere which will hurt everyone as games will be taking the fall because some politicians in power want to appear as they are acting on this national crisis. Starting a conversation on social media and spreading real facts with people you know and encourage them to do the same with others will give the truth a chance to be out there forcing those in power to fall to the power of the public and truly act upon this national crisis. No voice is too small and to those who say these claims and are spreading these false ideas, ask them how do they know this and where did they hear this as no one truly knows everything.

 

Citations:

Adachi, Paul J.C., and Teena Willoughby. “Do Video Games Promote Positive Youth Development?” , 2 Nov. 2012, https://journals-sagepub-com.ccny-proxy1.libr.ccny.cuny.edu/doi/10.1177/0743558412464522.

 

Azad, Arman. “Video Games Unlikely to Cause Real-World Violence, Experts Say.” CNN, Cable News Network, 5 Aug. 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/05/health/video-games-violence-explainer/index.html.n 

 

Carnagey, Nicholas L, et al. “The Effect of Video Game Violence on Physiological Desensitization to Real-Life Violence.” Science Direct, 17 June 2006, https://www-sciencedirect-com.ccny-proxy1.libr.ccny.cuny.edu/science/article/pii/S0022103106000825.

 

Johnstone, Stuart. “Computer Gaming and ADHD: Potential Positive Influences on Behavior .” IEE Xplore Digital Library, IEE, 13 Mar. 2013, https://ieeexplore-ieee-org.ccny-proxy1.libr.ccny.cuny.edu/document/6479437/citations#citations

 

Romano, Aja. “The Frustrating, Enduring Debate over Video Games, Violence, and Guns.” Vox, Vox, 26 Aug. 2019, https://www.vox.com/2019/8/26/20754659/video-games-and-violence-debate-moral-panic-history.

 

“15 Surprising Benefits of Playing Video Games.” Mental Floss, 8 July 2019, https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/65008/15-surprising-benefits-playing-video-games.

 

Discussion (0)

There are no comments for this doc yet.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *