Free «The Impact of Violent Games on Children and Teenagers» Essay Sample

The Impact of Violent Games on Children and Teenagers

In the US, 94% of girls and 99% of boys play computer games. 97% of these children spend on games over an hour a day. The popularity of video games is so immense that the revenue from this thriving industry exceeds that of Hollywood. In 2010, video games brought their makers 25 billion dollars. In comparison, Hollywood's box office sales North America totaled 10.8 billion dollars in the same year (Vitelli). In contrast to their phenomenal popularity, such violent games as Hitman, Diablo, or Manhunt have detrimental effects on their primary audience – children and teenagers. Observing and practicing violence in the game, children become more aggressive in real life. Spending hours in front of the screen, they seriously undermine their health, and, in some cases, addiction to the game may result in emergency incidents. This paper will focus on the negative effects violent computer games have on health, character, and personality development of children and adolescents.

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One of the major issues with violent games is that they encourage willfulness and allow players to forget about self-control. Thus, in the Grand Theft Auto, players have the scope to steal cars, damage public property, havesex with prostitutes, and kill people (including policemen) without being penalized. Instead, players are frequently rewarded with extra points or health bonuses for their characters. Being limited in their ability to differentiate between the virtual reality and the real life, children become more aggressive and prone to violence. After having been exposed to many violent scenes on the screen, the little ones start to consider violent actions as acceptable. By playing computer games too much, they gradually accumulate the tension and agitation inside. Their central nervous system weakens and becomes more vulnerable to stress and diseases. Moreover, students lose concentration in the class, which affects their ability to receive and process new information. Simultaneously, the mood becomes very fragile and changes frequently; such people easily get angry or anxious and sometimes may even provoke a fight with colleagues and friends. Sometimes, the addiction to playing games forces students to ignore classes and pushes them on the path of crime. The interpersonal relationships might easily get broken because of such a hobby.

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Apart from harmful psychological impacts, violent games have a disastrous effect on children’s health. The US Department of Labor admits that both adults and teenagers spend on average from four to five hours a day in front of the computer or television. Although an hour or two of playing a game is barely harmful, particularly if a player is young and healthy, those hours combined with the intensity of the game played all the time could be detrimental. Doctors report that violent games may induce more hurtful muscle tensing, especially in shoulders, neck, and beck than other the common games, since a player fights his virtual battle. Furthermore, playing computer games places extra strain on the eyes. Although the instructions state that the room should be adequately lit and the screen should be located at a certain distance from the eyes, even compliance to these recommendations does not guarantees that one’s eyes will not get tired after playing games for a long time. The common symptoms of eye strain (or eye fatigue) include dry or watery eyes, irritation, difficulty in focusing, increased sensitivity to light, and double vision. Spending hours at the computer, children may also develop myopia or short-sightedness – the inability to see distant objects clearly. As a result, they need to wear glasses.

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Finally, violent video games can be so addictive that children, excited and gripped by the virtual reality, forget about their other duties and lose motivation to study or do sport. Usually, children get so involved in the process of entertainment that they are isolated from everything else including their bodies (Chitale). Sometimes, such addiction may be life-threatening. Thus, a Taiwanese boy died after a 40-hour-long Diablo 3 marathon. On July 13, 2012, an 18-year-old student from Taiwan booked a room in the hotel. After two nights, the hotel worker could not wake him up ‑ the exhausted teenager was dead. As the attendant noted, his arms were still reaching out for the keyboard (“Taiwan Teen Dies”). Reportedly, the cause of death was a cardiac arrest. This incident became the second death case provoked by computer games in 2012. The previous case dealt with a 20-year-old man from Sheffield, the UK, who did not survive when a blood clot obturated a pulmonary arteria after he spent over 12 hours playing on the Xbox (Reynolds). Viewed from such angle, violent video games can be compared to smoking or drinking alcohol.

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In conclusion, it is evident that violent computer games have a drastic effect on a young and yet developing personality. Children and adolescents, repeatedly exposed to brutal scenes, are likely to adopt aggressive behavior and eventually use violence for reaching their personal goals. Playing games chronically will also inevitably find reflection on the child’s health ‑ muscle spasticity, ocular symptoms, and fatigue are the commonest clinical complications. Finally, violent games are incredibly addictive. To reduce the undesirable effects, it is always advisable for parents to question themselves whether their son or daughter is old enough for a specific game.