violence in video games Essay

Submitted By sherbermann
Words: 1015
Pages: 5

Stephen Herbermann
Criminology 100
Violence in Video Games

Violence in video games is an issue that has been increasing in severity over the past several years and is having a negative impact on those who play them, and on society as a whole. With new developments in technology, video games are becoming more and more realistic, making the gamer feel like they are actually in the game itself. However, this increase in realism is beginning to blur the lines between what is real, or acceptable in real life, what is not acceptable, and what is just a game. Increases in violence in popular games such as Gran Theft Auto, and Call of Duty are beginning to desensitize american society to violence, thus making it more acceptable in society itself. This leads those who play those games (especially in large volume) to have more violent tendencies and exert more violent behaviors, thus leading to some of the violent and brutal crimes that occur today. Recent years have shown a drastic increase in the number of violent crimes and massacres across the United States and the world. Many of these crimes can be linked to the culprate playing an excessive amount of violent video games. CNN conducted a study on the recent and tragic shooting that took place at the Washington Naval Yard, it was found that the shooter was obsessed with violent video games, “Friends have said to reporters that his heavy game use, described as up to 16 hours at a time, may help explain his actions..”(CNN). In particular he played an excessive amount of Gran Thef Auto, a game in which the player can go out into a virtual world and rain down havoc and destruction with virtually no consequence. The danger that video game violence poses is increased dramatically when the individual playing the game has a history of mental illness or anger management issues. These games have almost no restriction on who can purchase and play them and for how many hours. This lack of restrictions leads individuals with violent tendencies to play violent video games in which they can commit heinous crimes for an excessive amount of time, thus increasing their likelihood to do such a thing in real life. The shooter who opened fire on a movie theater in Colorado this past year was said to have played up to have played and unhealthy amount of violent video games before hand, thus giving him the idea to unleash his anger on a crowd of innocent moviegoers.
Among its link to many violent massacres, violence in video games has been shown to increase aggression and violent tendencies in all people who play them. ITHP states that “Over 130 studies have been conducted on over 130,000 participants around the world (Anderson et al., 2010). These studies show that violent video games increase aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, physiological arousal (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure), and aggressive behavior. Violent games also decrease helping behavior and feelings of empathy for others”(IHTP). This shows that the longer one plays a violent video game, the angrier and more aggressive they become. Although this does not necessarily directly lead to violent crimes, it does make those who are not normally violent or aggressive exert these behaviors and thus put violence out in the world where it wouldn't normally be. It is shown that violence has a ripple effect that escalates and leads to more violence, thus creating an overall more violent society. This effect can be especially prominent in americas youth. Teenagers serve as some of the largest consumers of violent video games and teenagers playing these violent games leads to these teens having more violent and aggressive tendencies thus causing household violence as well as violence and bullying in schools, which is likely to ripple into