VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES

Posted: June 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

Video games are not all violent, but most of them are, and many of them are pretty gruesome. It has been estimated that up to 90% of games contain some violent content.

People are concerned that violent games might be causing young people to become violent – and there is some evidence to support this. Studies have shown that violent games can:
– increase physiological arousal (the ‘fight or flight’ response)
– increase aggressive thoughts and emotions
– increase aggressive behaviour
– reduce helping behaviour (where people become less likely to help others).

These effects seem to be stronger in young people who already tend to be aggressive. It has been argued that more hostile or aggressive young people will be attracted to violent games, and that it is not the games causing the problem. However, even taking into account the person’s hostility, it is clear that exposure to violent games is linked to increased aggressive behaviour (as indicated by things like the degree to which they get into physical fights or argue with teachers).

Desensitisation to violence has been suggested as part of the problem. Desensitisation is when someone gradually begins to feel that violence is normal. When games reward players for doing violent actions, it is easy to see how this could happen.

There is also some evidence that violent games can change the way people think. One study had two groups playing games, one of them a violent game. After playing the games it was found that the group playing the violent game were more likely to:
1. think it was OK to use alcohol and marijuana
2. be competitive in another task
3. think they were being accused of cheating in another task.

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