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Video Game Ethical Issues

Kuan-Yu Lin Brenda Varda HMN-101-01 10/28/2012 Ethical Issue Essay: Final Draft Video games have always been an important part of the entertainment industry since its appearance in 1970’s.They have been played worldwide and effect many people.While the children are already playing the games, the number of women gamers, as well as the age level of gamers in general is increasing.

As technology advances, video games with more diversity and real-life experience are slowly creeping into parts of our life and gaining its momentum in the society.

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Due to its quick development, many ethical issues associated with video games have been brought to our attention. Therefore, we should understand how video games are ethically influencing people within its realm. The four major ethical issues which will be discussed are issues of violence, education, stereotyping and addiction. Video games are enjoying fast-growing popularity, becoming a major component of young people’s social lives and leisure activities.

First of all, a major concern which has been discussed continuously regarding video games is violence. Violence in video games is considered as the visual presentation of characters fighting, gun shooting, physical injury or death to characters. Recently, more and more video games involving violent behavior are taking over the game selection on the shelves. Comparing to games made in the 70’s, 80’s, recent games feature tougher, more aggressive heroines and more games are made specifically for adults.

Research consistently declares that most top-selling video games involve violence. In order to prevent the potential harm to children, youth and society of this negative influence, lots of research has focused on the consequence of violent video games. Video game research indicates that playing violent video games increases aggression, hostility, and aggressive thoughts. (Anderson, Buckley, & Gentile, 2007; Anderson & Bushman, 2001; Anderson, Carnagey, Flanagan, Benjamin, Eubanks & Valentine, 2004;Anderson & Dill, 2000).

In their research, they conclude that engaging games which have content related to violence may possibly increase a person’s aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior in real life. Some other studies focusing on college student playing video games also point out that students playing violent games are also engaging in more aggressive behavior. It has been claimed by many critics of the media industry that the incident at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999 was caused by the influence of violent video games.

It was shown on BBC news that both students shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, had played and enjoy violent video games. “Relatives of people killed in the Columbine massacre are seeking damages from computer game makers, claiming their products helped bring about the killings. ” Although video games can help players relieving stress, they can also affect gamers in a harmful way. It is both the players’ and the game makers’ responsibility to be aware of the negative effects of video gaming. Games with harmful content might be leading negative effects; they still have values considered being beneficial in certain aspect.

Games are popular in the community of youth and have many qualities that make them wonderful teaching tools. Through the educational perspective, both adults and children learn many things by playing video games. Games with positive content show positive effects. For example, playing a dancing video game can help children lose weight (Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution, 2007; O’Hannon, 2007; Epstein, Beecher, Graf & Roemmich, 2007). As mentioned before, videogames could be an excellent tool for learning. In particular, players are learning in an active way with practice and feedback.

Because they are fun, children are highly motivated with video gaming, when people are motivated, they usually perform better, thus lead in to a better result. Also, games usually have clear objectives with adaptable difficulty levels. Games with increasing difficulty across levels allow player to apply past learning. Lastly, games allow children to apply to what they learn in different problems and contexts. Some believe that video games help improve life skill such as logic and problem solving. They also can improve hand-eye coordination and leadership skills, which can be useful for military training purposes.

Having realized the efficiency and the joyful quality of learning experience in gaming, educators are able to take advantage of the positive learning characteristics of games by using the well-designed software in order to teach children more effectively. While the issues associated with violence in video games have caused huge concern among children, gender, and racial stereotypes in video games are also causing problems which require more attention. There is an unbalanced proportion between male and female game players and developers. According to a recent study the average gamer age was in the mid to late 20’s with 60% men playing and 40% women. ”2 The whole gaming industry is overwhelmed by the male population. Most of the games on the market are targeted to only male players. Dietz’s, one of the earliest studies to examine stereotypical portrayals in video games, analyzed the depiction of women in a sample of 33 most popular Nintendo and Sega Genesis video games. The study categorized the female characters in those games into four possible stereotypes based on their appearances and behaviors. Females as sex objects or prizes, females as victims, females in feminine roles, and females as heroes or action characters. Not surprisingly, Dietz (1998) found that 41% of the games were devoid of female characters. Only 15% (5 out of 33) portrayed women as heroes or action characters, while 21% (7 out of 33) portrayed women as victims or as so called ‘damsel in distress’. At the same time, in 28% of these games, women were portrayed as sex objects based upon physical appearance or sexually-oriented actions. Following the discussion of female character as indicator of sexuality, most of the female characters in video games have clothing that exposed more skin than the male characters. The research also found out that the female characters appearing in gaming most likely wear low-cut clothing. About half of the female characters have bare arms and legs with big busted figure. * In essence, these female characters in video games were portrayed in a stereotypical way in which they were exaggerated by sexy attire. That leads to the exclusion of female players in video game industry.

Although the number of game designed for female gamers is increasing slowly, it is crucial for both consumers and game makers to make the video games more engaging for both sexes either by changing the content of the game or by expanding the choice of games. They should be designed in a way that they are attractive for both male and female players. Finally, the last ethical issue I want to talk about is the addiction of engaging video games. Some people spent immense amount of time playing video games and caused them to lose valuable time participating in activities which are more beneficial for them.

However, video games could be considered as one of social activities because friends, siblings, and other relatives can play with it. Bibliography (not yet in proper MLA format, I will work on in for the final paper) http://evvy09. hubpages. com/hub/Video-Games-Have-Changed-the-World http://www. ethicapublishing. com/ethical/3CH12. pdf https://www. msu. edu/~pengwei/Mou%26Peng_gender%20and%20racial%20stereotype. pdf http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/science/nature/1295920. stm

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