Essay on Effect of Violent Video Games on Children

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Carnegie Mellon University
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Video games are continuing to be a more popular form of entertainment today as compared to a few years ago with reports showing that over 90% of the children and teens in the United States play video games. Millions of video gamers spend a lot of hours weekly playing their favorite video games. Most of the parents and education experts claim that video games are time wasting and they corrupt the brain. Recently an 18-year-old gunman killed people in Munich, Germany, and reports stated that he was an enthusiast of first-shooter video games. For the past few years, there has been a lot of research on whether violent video games should be banned for advocating for violence in children. This is very debatable with some parties saying that video games have positive effects and others saying that violent video games cause violent behavior in real life (Fischer, Kastenmuller, and Greitemeyer, 2010). However, a good number of video games today contain a lot of violence which is thought to trigger aggressive feelings, behaviors, and thoughts. Researchers have managed to come up with a consistent correlation between violent video games and aggression. Another study has established that violent video games actually harm the brain.

Today we have a good number of video games that contain violence. The most popular games on the market today are Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 1 and Grand Theft Auto V and all of them fall into the first person shooter or action genres which are believed to stir aggression and cause violence. A number of other popular games that contain violence are Mortal Kombat, Thrill Kill, Manhunt and Gears of War. According to Greitemeyer and Dirk children who play a lot of violent video games are more prone to experience aggressive feelings, thoughts, and behavior. The children are also been noted to make the kid antisocial. Increased exposure to violent video games tends to make children more inclined to act violently and are less likely to act emphatically. Video game players tend to model the behaviors seen in the video games. Violent behavior, aggression, and vengeance are rewarded in these video games. Violent video games can also increase bullying and violence towards women.

The effect of violence in video games in children has been accelerated by the games interactive nature. The video games reward players for being more violent and thus the violent acts are done repeatedly (Adachi and Teena, 2011). The child is usually in control of the violence such as stabbing, shooting, killings and kicking in experiences it through his own eyes. The active participation, repetition, and reward are effective tools for learning behavior. The American Psychological Association has established that there is a consistent correlation between violent video games and aggression and that violent video games increase aggressive behavior. Video games should not use human or other living things to award points for killing because this teaches children to relate success and pleasure with their capability to cause pain and suffering to others. The violent video games also teach children that violence is an acceptable approach to resolving conflicts and attaining goals.

Studies also show that playing violent video games such as call of duty might actually harm the brain. The study mainly focuses on an area of the brain known as caudate nucleus. When playing video games a person navigates through the game terrain by use of in-system navigation tools or on-screen GPS, therefore, relying on navigational habit instead of active learning. This causes an increase in the quantity of grey matter in the caudate nucleus while it reduces in the hippocampus (Ferguson, 2011). The reduction of the grey matter has been linked to some brain illnesses such as Alzheimer disease, PTSD, depression, and schizophrenia. Researchers on violent video games have all agreed that video gaming affects the brain and changes some parts of the brain. The studies go further to explain that video games do not only change how the brain operates but also the structure. A good example is how video games affect attention. Video game players are bound to show sustained attention and selective attention. Researchers also claim that video games are addictive and this brings about a phenomenon known as internet gaming disorder. When video game addicts are exposed to game related cues that cause cravings and monitor their brain response it will be noted that there are changes in their addictive disorder. A theory known as the General aggression model suggests that playing violent video games may form cognitive scripts that are triggered when one thinks that others are acting with hostility (Greitemeyer and Silvia, 2010). The general aggression model states that the violence created in the video games is likely to influence a persons feelings and thoughts. Therefore, playing violent video games gives a chance for rehearsing acts of aggression that become common in real life. Violent video games also create a short-term effect on a persons interpretation of violence.

The debate on whether violent video games should be banned for advocating for violence in children is far from over but we cannot turn a blind eye on the violence in video games. There have been a lot of school killings since time in memorial in which the killers are said to be addicts of violent video games. Therefore, it has already been established that violent video games promote violence in children and harm the brain. The government needs to step in and set regulations regarding the release and playing of these violent video games.


Adachi, Paul JC, and Teena Willoughby. "The effect of violent video games on aggression: Is it more than just the violence?." Aggression and violent behavior 16.1 (2011): 55-62.

Ferguson, Christopher J. "Video games and youth violence: A prospective analysis in adolescents." Journal of youth and adolescence 40.4 (2011): 377-391.

Fischer, Peter, Andreas Kastenmuller, and Tobias Greitemeyer. "Media violence and the self: The impact of personalized gaming characters in aggressive video games on aggressive behavior." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 46.1 (2010): 192-195.

Greitemeyer, Tobias, and Dirk O. Mugge. "Video games do affect social outcomes: A meta-analytic review of the effects of violent and prosocial video game play." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 40.5 (2014): 578-589.

Greitemeyer, Tobias, and Silvia Osswald. "Effects of prosocial video games on prosocial behavior." Journal of personality and social psychology 98.2 (2010): 211.

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