As we enter the 21st century, violence in video games has been brought up numerous times in the news, magazine articles, and research papers. Is violence in video games ethical? is a question that evokes many sentiments. One of the main arguments is that video game violence desensitizes the player from real-world violence, young children have difficulty distinguishing fantasy and real life, violence in video games teaches kids that violence is an acceptable means of resolving conflict, and so forth. While I was researching this topic, I came across some papers by researchers that contend there is no relationship between violent video games and crimes. However, more studies and real accidents prove the association between violence in video games and atrocities done by the players of those games (Cocking, 2002). In my opinion, even though the amount the video game influences one's behavior and the characteristic is debatable, being exposed to violence through video games is an essential factor of unethical behavior. This paper will discuss how violence in video games has led to an escalation of violent behavior, especially in young minds.
First, several incidents in the recent decade, suspected to be related to violent video games, support that violence in video-game can increase a person's aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior. Here is one example: On July 22, 2011, in Oslo and Utoya, Norway, 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik shot and killed 69 people on the island Utoya and also planted a bomb in the center of Oslo, which killed eight people. Breivik had been planning the attack for nine years and claimed that he had used Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as a "Training-Simulation". This and several other incidences and more others that have been recorded in recent history. Scientists predict that the brain becomes active and there are signs of better development with s[ecific games (Muffoletto, 2004). Personality damage is on the rise due to violence games; the cost is sometimes fatal in some instances.
Second, a vast portion of criminal offenses that are suspected to be caused by violent video games is committed by children (Meeder, 2005). In my opinion, children do not naturally have lousy morality. Their parents, friends, media, and everything they watch influence them. Children are affected more severely compared to adults mainly because they cannot discern between good and evil that well yet. Lets suppose that there is a child A, has many friends and most of them take drugs, and child Bs friends never do it. In this situation, child A has way more possible to think taking drugs is not a big problem or even a trivial thing than B does. At the same points, if a child is overexposed to violence via the video game, he or she would think it is not immoral to do the same thing as one has watched. Here is one example of a terrible accident done by a child:
On November 29, 2010, in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a 16-year-old boy, Kendall Anderson bludgeoned his mother to death in her sleep with a claw hammer after she took away his PlayStation. Kendall Anderson is not the first teenager to kill his mother over a video game. As many psychologists have expressed these erratic behaviors are caused by video game addiction, especially violent video games. Based on two ideas that I mentioned before, I would say violence in video games is related to violent behavior. Increasingly graphics and highly realistic games containing violence have impacts on one's role of real-life judgment to deal with violence which can result in extreme, and criminal or anti-social behaviors.
Figure 2_Increased Activity in the Amygdala of Brain
The psychological group reports over 90% of children in the United States play video games (Muffoletto, 2004). This number rises between the age of 12 and 17 to up to 97%. Worse still 85% of these video games have violence in them. They come with titles such as "Thrill Kill" and "Manhunt." However, even the least threatening video game "Pokemon Go tends to require the player to go to battle. The violent video games play roles in increasing violent behaviors to its users and decreasing the ability of the user in empathy, prosocial behavior, and moral engagement. Violence in video games set a poor example to little kids who have not yet set their identity about the world. Hence they show the kids that it is okay to be violent and use force, and they associate success and pleasure with the suffering of others. The more they tend to be exposed to these games these ideas get stuck in their minds. Some people argue that there is no relevance between crimes and video games as Chart 1 shows (Source: Chasing the Dream, www.economist.com, Aug. 4, 2005). However, the chart lacks some core information. It shows a significant increase in the game market, but it is not necessarily the video games with violence. Moreover, total violent crime offenses might be decreased by other factors such as better education in ethics or increased number of police. They fail to remove all other factors that might impact a result by playing violent video games. Recently studies have shown that video game violence produces detrimental effects on brain activity. This study says that there is specifically, increased activity in the amygdala, which is that part of the brain involved with emotional arousal. There is also a corresponding decrease in another part of the brain having to do with self-control, inhibition, and attention (Cocking, 2002).This study shows that continuous exposure to violence through media make a person to be desensitized to violence.
In summary, violence in video games is unethical because it has a deleterious impact on humans, and it makes people desensitized to violence thus causing accidents. Many hideous crimes are reported these days that happened by video games such as Doom, Wolfenstein 3D or Mortal Kombat which are violent video games. Especially brutal crime offenses by children have been reported after they are exposed to violence in video games many times. Overall, violence in video games can increase a person's aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior. It also induces gamers into violent, criminal or anti-social behavior outside of the gaming context. The violence in the video game has been proven however there it will be naive to look at the two factor in a vacuum without involving other factors.
Cocking, D. (2002). Intimacy and privacy online. Plural Selves and Relational Identity, 123-141.
Meeder, R. (2005). Internet filtering software in K-12 classrooms. Reflections on Ethical Issues in Technology, 49(6), 57-61.
Muffoletto, R. (2004). Ethics: A discourse of power. TechTrends, 47(6), 62-68.
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