Speech Video Game Violence a Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :



There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support this theory -- several prominent school shootings have been ostensibly linked to video game playing -- but real scientific evidence is also emerging that suggests a more subtle but similar effect. In one study, college-age participants who had spent time playing Wolfenstein 3D, a first person shooter computer game, "punished" their opponents by subjecting them to loud noises of high intensity more frequently and for longer periods of time than participants that had played a non-violent computer game. In the words of Dr. Craig Anderson, one of the psychologists and researchers who conducted the study, "violent video games provide a forum for learning and practicing aggressive solutions to conflict situations."

Basically, time spent playing violent video games is time spent learning life skills that could be detrimental and counter-productive in real world situations, and could even replace more socially valuable skills sets and methods of problem solving. This problem is reflected in -- and exacerbated by -- attempts to label and identify violence in video games and other forms of media. Steven J. Kirsch, author of the book Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence, identifies the Entertainment Software Rating Board's system as the most effective, but points out several significant flaws. First, games rated "E" for "everyone" are really only deemed appropriate for children ages six and up, and can contain large levels of violence -- as much as ninety percent of game play. Furthermore, the term "violence" is not defined well at all, and the Entertainment Software Rating Board only reviews footage of video games provided to them by the video game producers, without actually playing the games themselves. This provides a greatly diminished capacity for the board to perform its stated purpose, and gives parents less control and awareness of the types of activities their children are exposed to.

There is scientific evidence that supports a contrary theory, namely that video games attract certain players based on pre-existing personality traits and do not really promote aggressive behavior. This was the conclusion drawn by two studies conducted in the late 1980s, which was enough to convince author Barrie Gunter that the concern over video game violence is little more than hype. The increasing prevalence of video games that contain ever-more graphic violent sequences, however, has changed things dramatically in the past twenty years. ac-Man gobbling ghosts simply does not compare to running over a helpless woman, beating her with a baseball bat, and taking her money. When these things are become enjoyable entertainment, we are facing a serious problem.

Works Cited

American Psychological Association. "Violence in the Media - Psychologists Help Protect Children from Harmful Effects." Accessed 13 July 2009. http://www.psychologymatters.org/mediaviolence.html

Gunter, Barrie. The Effects of Video Games on Children. Wiltshire: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd., 1998.

Jenkins, henry. "Congressional Testimony on Media Violence." Accessed 13 July 2009. http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/papers/jenkins_ct.html

Kirsh, Steven J. Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence. London: Sage Publications, 2006.

Willenz, Pam. "Violent Video Games can Increase Aggression." American Psychological Association. Accessed 13 July 2009. http://www.apa.org/releases/videogames.html

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

American Psychological Association. "Violence in the Media - Psychologists Help Protect Children from Harmful Effects." Accessed 13 July 2009. http://www.psychologymatters.org/mediaviolence.html

Gunter, Barrie. The Effects of Video Games on Children. Wiltshire: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd., 1998.

Jenkins, henry. "Congressional Testimony on Media Violence." Accessed 13 July 2009. http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/papers/jenkins_ct.html

Kirsh, Steven J. Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence. London: Sage Publications, 2006.

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