Most of the popular video games in the market are characterized by their ability to allow players to role-play in various situations, unfortunately, most of these situations normally involve violence. There has been unease at the effect that this exposure could have on children, considering that video games are fast becoming a favorite past time for most children in the developed world. Studies have suggested the existence of a relationship between youth violence and video games and this could apply to children too.
The evidence that video games increase violence among children is overwhelming. For example, a study in 2001 found that a high number of violence cases in high schools and universities were orchestrated by persons who confessed to playing violent games regularly. An explanation for this is that aggression is mainly based on the learning function of the brain and as such, each violent episode is in essence one more learning opportunity, hence violence is increased with increased exposure to video games.
One of the factors that make video games prone to leading to violence is the high level of engagement and concentration required of gamers. Studies show that children who were exposed to violent video games engage in fantasy plays in which they emulate the actions of the violent characters. This effectively demonstrates that the high involvement of video games results in youths desiring to play out the violent actions in real life.
A logical consequence of exposure to violence is desensitization, a process whereby the cognitive, emotional, and even behavioral response to violence is eliminated in a gradual process. Therefore, engaging in violent video games results in an increase for tolerance of violent behavior in real life.
While advocates for video games argue that video games represent violence as ‘cool and fashionable’, it should be noted that video games are no the only media through which such notions arise from. Violence is an aspect of the mainstream media and hence violence in children should take into consideration these various media platforms.
Opponents of media violence point to the rise in crime wave during the 1970s and 1980s, which was largely attributed to violence in television. They say that the same could happen due to video game violence. This is a fallacy as statistics indicate that violent crimes in the US fell in the 1990s, a time when violent video games became popular.
While video games are meant to be educational or entertaining, content analysis shows that 89% of these contain some violent content. Since video games are so common among children, the effect of video games would be significant. It has been said that a relation exists between video game violence and real life violence, however, this is no absolute reality.
Proponents argue that violent children prefer to play violent video games. Research suggests otherwise, therefore we can conclude that while violent games are played by violent children, the aggression levels increase due to the exposure.
This paper examined the effects of violent video games on children and their inclination to violent behavior. From the study, it is evident that video games have an effect on the behavior of children.
Future studies should look at other forms of violence, not necessarily physical as children are likely to engage on these on a regular basis.