Intelligence and Dexterity are beneficial gift that God has endowed us. Hence, Man has the ability to tinker with nature. It is factual and concluded. We have the greatest opportunity to manipulate things like: The Development of Medicine; Swift Transportation; Rapid Communications and the Aggrandizement of Technology. One of this is COMPUTER GAMES. Computer Games is one of the vital issues in our society to be focused on. Why? Because they say that Computer Games are one of the vices that the teenagers are been addicted, attached with.They could spend all day just to play various online or downloaded games. Seemingly, it is there cravings for them to be satisfied. Just like there days wouldn’t complete if not played just even one game. According to Surveys, Computer Games has indeed a great effect on everybody. Because, we can visualize myriad teenagers seated in front of computer set playing, enjoying, and cussing with each other. YES, CUSSING. When been fond of it, teenagers are gradually adapting the nature of a maniac player. Now, they know how to use vulgar words to express their feelings, a volcano that would about to erupt.
Another thing is that, we can no longer more to see youth who plays basketball, volleyball and the rest of the Sports Games that can really helped a lot in our health and physical attributes. That’s why they also added that Computer Games is gradually defeating sports. This is why the Government should take its action to give remedy to this epidemic issue concerns our youth of today. Today, parents still worry about the effects of violent computer games and of course it also remains a popular topic for the media.
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However, with a growing number of children and teens spending excessive time playing computer games, perhaps parents should be more worried about teenagers addicted to computer games than the effects of violent Computer Games. An examination of the literature reveals that those who study video game addiction sometimes disagree on the proportion of children and teenagers addicted to computer games. However, the majority of studies suggest that approximately 5 to 10% of youth who play computer games become addicted.
Compared to other psychological difficulties (such as depression and anxiety), teenage computer game addiction is obviously a relatively new problem faced by families. As such, parents may lack accurate and/or helpful information on the signs of computer game addiction, the risk factors for video game addiction, and strategies for helping teenagers addicted to computer games after the problem develops. BACKGROUND The debate on whether Computer Games have social effects and cause violence among the players, especially children, can be traced back to 1976 when a video game entitled Death Race was released on the market.
The main aim of the game was to run over screaming gremlins using a car which would then turn into tombstones. The pace of the game was pedestrian and the gremlins resembled human figures. There was a public outcry over this video game and eventually its production ceased. There were other violent Computer Games that were produced later in 1993, such as Night Trap and Mortal Combat, that were followed by public outcry. In the same year, a board was established in the United States to look into Computer Games and rate them according to their content (Siwek, 2007).
The board is known as the entertainment software rating board (ESRB). The other video game that attracted media attention was Rapelay, produced in 2006 (Siwek, 2007). The video game required players to rape and stalk a woman and her two girls. Such Computer Games are said to cause behavioral change among children. There are several incidents that are linked to Computer Games, such as the massacre at Columbine High School that claimed 13 lives. Laws have been enacted to ban or control the sale of Computer Games.
For example, on the 27th of June 2007, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the law in California that banned the sale of Computer Games to minors (Siwek, 2007). The court ruled that the law violated the freedom of speech even though the state has an obligation to protect kids from harm. Another aspect that should be noted regarding Computer Games is that boys spend more time playing than girls. Not many girls are interested in playing Computer Games, hence they are not affected as much as boys of a similar age (Anderson & Bushman, 2001).
The Drawbacks of Children Playing Computer Games Most of the negative effects as a result of playing Computer Games among children can be blamed on the violent scenes contained in these games. When a child spends an extended amount of time playing such Computer Games, they becomes socially isolated. This means that a child does not have enough time to interact with other members of society (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). The child who spends many hours a day playing Computer Games will have no time to meet and make new friends. They may in turn become more depressed and lonelier in their homes.
Children will also spend little time on other activities such as sports, reading, and doing homework. The child becomes socially inactive since they do not get involved in social activities. Some Computer Games teach children wrong values (Gunter, 1998). Most of the children who spend much of their time playing Computer Games are likely to perform poorly in school. A solid number of Computer Games are addictive. Rather than studying or completing homework, a child spends time playing Computer Games. As a result, poor performance will be seen at schools. Computer Games reduce a child’s imaginative thinking as well.
This means that a child who ends up spending most of their time playing Computer Games does not get a chance to think creatively or independently. Imaginative thinking is crucial in developing a child’s creativity. By fostering isolation, Computer Games may also affect a child’s health. Since they do not get enough bodily exercise, children who spend the majority of their time playing Computer Games are likely to suffer from video-induced seizures, obesity and skeletal, muscular and postural disorders like tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, among others.
Computer Games promote children to associate happiness and pleasure with the capability to cause pain to others. They develop the feeling that in order to be happy, one has to make other people suffer. Children who play Computer Games tend to develop selfish behavior (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). Computer Games teach the player to be dependent and since the child is left alone while playing the game, they can develop selfish behavior. A certain study that was done at the Minneapolis-based national institute for media indicated that kids can get addicted to Computer Games and exhibit social phobias.
The interactive quality of Computer Games is quite different from passively viewing movies or television. The games allow players to be active participants in the script. The players who are able to benefit from acts of violence are then able to proceed to the next level (Sherry, 2001). As a negative result of playing Computer Games, violence in children has shown an increase. “Anderson and Dill found that males who were high in aggression and irritability, showed the strongest association between video game play and aggressive behavior (Lillian Bensely & Juliet Van Eenwyk, 2001)”.
There are many incidents of violent behavior among children who play violent Computer Games worldwide (Gunter, 1998). One of the high-profile incidents is the Columbine High School massacre that was caused by 17 year-old Dylan Klebold, and 18 year-old Harris Eric. The massacre happened on the 20th of April, 1999, at Columbine High School, located in Jefferson County. 12 pupils and a teacher were killed by two pupils. It was later revealed that the two shooters in the massacre were frequent players of weapon-based combat games.
It was also noted that the two shooters used to play Wolfeinstein 3D and Doom, games which are violent. After the incident, many newspaper articles claimed that the key cause of that incident was violent Computer Games. Another incident occurred in April, 2000 when Jose Rabadan, a sixteen year-old Spaniard, killed his parents and his sister using a katana sword, claiming that he was Squall Leonhart, the main character in the video game titled ‘Final Fantasy V111,’ on a mission to avenge. This was a consequence of playing the game too much and fantasizing about what he saw in the video game (Williams, & Marko, 2005).
In 1997, there was the case of a thirteen year-old Wilson Noah, who was killed by his friend using a kitchen knife. The mother of the deceased claimed that Noah was stabbed because of the obsession his friend had with the video game known as Mortal Combat. She alleged that the child who killed Noah was obsessed with the game, and thought he was one of the characters in the game named ‘Cyrax’. In the game, Cyrax is using a finishing move whereby he grabs the opponent and stabs him in the chest. It was alleged that this was the move that motivated the killing of that child.
There are many other incidents that were caused by the effects of playing Computer Games. A report that was compiled by the FBI in the year 2006 showed that the playing of Computer Games among children was one of the behavioral traits linked to school shootings. The report outlined several factors behind school shootings of which playing violent Computer Games was the most obvious (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). According to Gentile and Anderson, playing Computer Games increases the aggressive behavior of the player, since the acts of violence are continually repeated during the game (Gentile, & Anderson, 2003).
“Although heightened physiological arousal (e. g. , heart rate, blood pressure, skin conductance) can be beneficial in certain situations, physiological arousal produced by violent media (or by other sources), can be linked to an increase in aggressive behavior, especially when that arousal can be erroneously attributed to another provoking event, rather than to the violent media. Repetition of an act has been considered an effective teaching method, reinforcing learners patterns (Barlett, Harris, & Bruey, 2007). ”
The games encourage the players to role play or identify with their favorite character (Gentile & Anderson, 2003). The increase in physical bullying in many schools can also be linked to the popularity of Computer Games that contain violent content. A study done in 2008, indicated that about 60% or more of middle school boys ended up striking or beating somebody after playing at least one mature-rated video game. The research also showed that about 39% of boys who never played violent Computer Games were not involved in any form of violence.
When playing Computer Games, players are rewarded for simulating violence. This enhances the learning of violent behavior among the children who find pleasure in violent Computer Games. When violence is rewarded while playing Computer Games, players tend to develop aggressive behavior. As noted earlier, Computer Games desensitize players to real-life violence. The exposure to Computer Games causes a reduction in P300 amplitudes that are contained in the brain. The child will later experience aggressive behavior and desensitization to violence (Bartholow, Bushman & Sestir, 2006).
After children experience violence while playing Computer Games, they are likely to develop a fear of becoming victims of violent acts. According to the report compiled by six leading national medical associations in 2000, children do not trust their fellow children and hence will develop violent, self-protective measures. The exposure to cruel Computer Games also leads to reduced empathy among the players. From a survey conducted by Jeanne Funk in 2004, Computer Games are the only media linked or associated with low empathy.
Empathy is described as the capacity or ability to understand other people’s feelings. The level of empathy plays a noteworthy role in evaluating a person’s morals. Empathy also controls aggressive behavior among individuals, especially children (Bartholow, Bushman & Sestir, 2006). After lacking empathy as a consequence of violent Computer Games, these children are likely to be violent. Repetition of actions when one is playing a video game affects the subconscious mind, hence a behavioral script is developed. A sound example of a behavioral script is that developed by drivers.
It urges the driver to first get into a car, fasten their safety belt and then start the car. Similarly, Computer Games induce a child to develop a behavioral script that urges them to respond violently to a certain situation (Gunter, 1998). Playing Computer Games teaches children that violence is an acceptable way of solving their conflicts. Those who play Computer Games, especially games with violent content, do not develop the belief that using non-violence means can solve a problem. They tend to be less forgiving when compared to those children who play non-violent Computer Games (Sherry, 2001).
Children tend to confuse real-world violence with video game violence. After fantasizing about the violence in Computer Games, children are likely to fight in schools and in the streets. New Computer Games allow a lot of physical interaction with the players. Some Computer Games train players on how to be a killer. For example, in 1996, the Marine Corps in the United States authorized the release of Doom 11, which was a violent video game. The game was previously used to train marine soldiers. Such games can train children to be high-profile killers.
Most Computer Games have portrayed a negative attitude towards women. Violence against women is likely to increase in a child who plays brutal Computer Games (Gunter, 1998). Counter Arguments In any life situation and with any sort of problem, there are those who disagree with the majority. Likewise, there are researchers who present various counter arguments to support the idea that Computer Games can be beneficial for children. The first counter argument against the side effects of Computer Games is the fact that children are not isolated as they have online gaming communities.
Children who are unable to associate with others do not feel isolated since they are left to play Computer Games. For example, a child who is not physically fit to play with others can turn to Computer Games during their free time to reduce boredom. It has been noted that violent juvenile crimes have been decreasing in the recent years, yet the popularity of Computer Games has been increasing. For the period 1995 to 2008, the rate of arrest of juvenile murderers decreased by 71. 9%, while the overall arrest cases concerning juvenile violence decreased by 49%.
In the same period, the sale of cruel Computer Games increased by almost 4 times compared to the years before. From these statistics, one can conclude that there is no direct correlation between violent juvenile crimes and Computer Games. There has been no scientifically proven link between violent behavior among children and Computer Games. Most of the surveys carried out on Computer Games are affected by design flows. The surveys are done within a short duration of time and do not follow kids for any considerable period of time. After a short observation, conclusions are then drawn.
The other counter argument against Computer Games is that children learn real life-skills when playing Computer Games. Players of brutal Computer Games are able to learn how to regulate their emotions when playing (Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley, 2007). The level of control developed while playing Computer Games in terms of directing actions and pace are prudent ways of regulating the emotional state of children. The perception of being in control of actions minimizes emotional and stressful responses to events. Aggressive and angry feelings can be relieved by playing Computer Games.
When a child plays Computer Games, it is one of the best ways of relieving aggression and depression. Many children play Computer Games to relieve anger while others play Computer Games to relax their bodies. Children are given healthy and safe opportunities to virtually explore the rules and consequences of violent behavior when they play Computer Games (Bartholow, Bushman & Sestir, 2006). After playing Computer Games, especially ones that contain violence, children are able to develop ways of escaping violence. The form of violence can be affected by Computer Games, but does not necessarily lead to the occurrence of violence.
Through the challenges faced while playing some Computer Games, children are able to learn how to avoid violence, or how to escape from violence. Those who hold the view that Computer Games do not have negative effects on children indicate that Computer Games do not lead a child to violence, but instead, violent children are the ones who are interested in Computer Games (Anderson, Gentile & Buckley, 2007). Conclusion The argument about whether Computer Games have negative or positive effects on children is broad, and depends on one’s philosophical views.
“Most of the research projects that have been conducted on the authentic effects of media brutality on behavior of children have included small, often unrepresentative samples and unique examples of media violence (Dietz, 1998)”. This paper has compiled some of the negative effects of Computer Games among children. Some of the negative effects include children feeling isolated from society, becoming more violent and aggressive, as well as lacking communicative skills. When playing Computer Games, children spend extended periods of time by themselves and do not have much interaction with other children, except for the virtual ones.
As a result, children who play Computer Games do not develop effective communication skills with others, since hours, if not all their spare time is spent on Computer Games. There has also been a rise in violence among children who play Computer Games, the Columbine High School massacre being one such example. Injuries and fighting at home and outdoors have risen because of children playing brutal Computer Games (Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley, 2007). Some researchers however argue that Computer Games can and do have positive effects on children.
They point out that children are not isolated, as they develop online gaming communities. Children are also able to learn real-life skills while playing Computer Games, as well as, learn how to escape violence. However, what both sides agree upon is that parents should guide their children on the outcomes of playing Computer Games. Personally, I think that Computer Games can be allowed when selected with caution and are not played frequently. As long as virtual reality does not replace a child’s real-life communication, Computer Games can become a great option for a child’s leisure.
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