Do Violent Games Cause Behavior Problems?

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The feature of modern society is a number of aggressive tendencies among the teenagers. Teenagers show cruelty and aggression more and more often, commit crime against personality, including severe body harms and even death of people. The act of violence often appears as some entertainment that can be demonstrated in the internet and different cruel computer games.

Nowadays scientists from all over the world study the problem of violent games influence in order to examine the situation with computer games in society. Lately, when modern technologies are available to the wide layers of population the computer games are the form of leisure among the most of teenagers. The modern researchers of teenage aggression more often pay attention to its possible connection with the level of violence in computer games. Anyway there are two opposite points of view.

The first says that games are harmful. Supporters of this point of view consider that computer games promote violence, demonstrating the destructive forms of behavior. The two great researchers Anderson and Bushman in 2002 have made a great contribution to the study of the problem as they invented The General Aggression Model. This model helps to set the connection between the violence in games and the reaction of the gamers. The way people usually respond ensures that sometimes the effect can be harmful enough to lead serious changes in mind (Anderson, Bushman, Media violence and societal violence). According to the Pew Research Center the 97% of youths ages 12 to 17 play video games, when two-thirds of them are full of violence and sexual content. Another analysis showed that more than half of all video games contained aggression, including more than 90% of those rated as appropriate for children 10 years or older (Harvard Mental Health Letter, Violent Video Games and Young People).

A person dives in the virtual world sitting in front of the computer and playing a favourite game. He is a hero. He has a mission that it is necessary to carry out. And so he battles to pass the level. The virtual world becomes so similar with the real one. The unclear sense of reality together with the concept of "death" and "danger" already appears. The hero has "a few lives" and it is always possible to start the game again. Nothing serious can happen; one is a hero all-powerful and fearless. The dull sense of reality gives a result that a child stops valuing life. He becomes aggressive, nervous and uncommunicative. Life is a picture on the screen of monitor.

Today the interest of some people, especially children, to computer games reaches the level of dependence named gambling (Game Politics, Does Video Games Play Lead to Gambling Addiction?). The game-addicted person is closed in itself and lives in the virtual world. It can lead to the working ability decrease, violation of attention, appearance of obtrusive ideas, headaches and insomnias. There is a link between violence on TV or monitor and aggressive behavior of people. This means that viewing violence is likely to lead to the appearance of aggressive feelings, reactions and inappropriate behavior. And, besides, the person watching the cruel scenes becomes insensitive to violence in real life.

Conclusions of scientists confirm the facts:

In 1997 Michael Kernel killed three children in a school in West Paducah (USA). The attacker was 14. As it became known later, the boy was fond of games such as DOOM, Quake, and Mortal Combat.

In 1999, high school students Eric Harris and Villain Klebold killed 12 students in school in Littleton (USA), and then committed suicide. They always played DOOM and Duke Nukem 3D, as well as the network death matches.

In 2007 a schoolboy killed 16 people: 13 teachers, 2 students and 1 policeman, and then shot himself, having said before "I now played enough" (Norcia, 42). And that's just part of this kind of cases.

However, scientists refuse to search the root of all problems in computer games. Some of them consider videogames to help to develop skillfulness, attention and speed of reaction. In addition, the defenders of computer games insist that they help people to let the steam off virtually, avoiding possible harm in the reality. They say that the games are different. There are quite innocent and good "toys" that will not cause harm to the growing children.

Many games are even useful as the children develop useful skills and learn to find solutions in difficult situations. In general, any passing game from start to finish is the real victory, a feeling which is essential for the normal development of the child. We cannot blame computer games only. There are also factors such as family environment, influence of others, accessibility of weapon, etc. Professor Patrick Markey states:

It's not as if this is a light switch that either videogames do or do not cause aggression. You have to think about the strength of that effect. Most people assume it has a really big effect, but what we find from research is it actually has a very tiny effect (qtd. in Academia 124).

The latest study of the brain of gamers found that in addition to everything negative that carry video games their effect may be positive. The experiment found that the visual perception develops significantly better among video gamers than that of people who do not play at all. The volunteers were asked to sink into the world of video games for six days and play at least two hours a day. The experimental results have shown that alert gamers have good attention not only in the virtual space, but also in real life (Adams, Effects of violent video games). As a result, the study proved that video games also develop concentration and attention.

Interest in the game may be more effective than visiting a therapist. Specialists use numerous individual programs which can help people cure different mental diseases and problems. The initiators of the study recommend game therapy as an alternative treatment for depression. The study involved 117 volunteers with health problems because of depression. The experiment continued six months. Therapy was based on the "do it yourself" principle and included exercises intended to fix perception, improve sleep and physical health. The results showed that such therapy is helpful (McEntire, Does Violence In Video Games Affect Children?).

Computer games that use the VR (virtual reality) technology can be used for children with severe burns as an additional painkiller. Australian doctors believe that the immersion into the world of monsters and aliens helps to overcome the pain in these patients. Seven burned in age from 5 to 18 years were invited to play video games during the long and painful bandages change. The children even did not notice the painful procedure. Doctors explain this as a complete dive into the game world with no longer focuse on their own pain (McEntire, Does Violence In Video Games Affect Children?).

The main damage from computer games is mainly associated with over usage of cruel computer games. There should be strict time rules, which help a person to play computer games without any serious consequences. Many hours of continuous presence in front of the monitor can cause unclear vision, low immunity, headaches, tiredness, insomnia. Laziness is all you are driven by. It pushes you to sit for hours at the computer and, pointless for yourself, to press the buttons on the keyboard or shoot with the help of the mouse. The problem is not in games that are played, but in the attitude of people to them. If there are some daily time limits or the person himself can control his actions then no game-addiction or problems can emerge.

Talks about benefits and harms of computer games are endless. But the funny thing is, that, in fact, computer games do not cause any harm, as well as they cannot help, just like any other object. After all, a knife can cut both a lemon and a human body. And for some reason no one has occurred to ban knives. The reason is not in things, but how, by whom and for what purpose they are used.

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