Dissertation Writers: Are Violent Video Games Harmful to Children and Adolescents?

Dissertation Writers: Are Violent Video Games Harmful to Children and Adolescents?

This week’s Forum focuses on the question,

Are Violent Video Games Harmful to Children and Adolescents?

Clashing Views on Psychological Issues

Perspective 1:  Are Violent Video Games Harmful to Children and Adolescents? This week I was tasked with providing evidence which validates the premise.  From the Columbine devastation to the Aurora tragedy, the headlines have been rife with accounts of shooting sprees by young adults known to be heavy video gamers.  In 2005 the APA issued a Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media indicating the possible role video game violence played in youths displaying aggressive behavior.  A task force was set up in 2013 which analyzed data regarding a link between violent game exposure and aggression conducted over twenty years utilizing several different quantitative methodologies. The resolution was subsequently revised in 2015 when the APA confirmed there was a definite link between the two (Copenhaver and Ferguson, 2018). Between the ages of 7-16, adolescent neocortical synapses are lost and current theories hold this is the reason cognitive functioning becomes more efficient and improves in later years (Kirsh, 2002). This is further substantiated by the pronounced limbic system involvement in early adolescence. The limbic system, the emotion center of the brain, plays a prominent role at this age and accounts for the increased aggression evidenced (Kirsh, 2002).   Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the effects of video game violence and studies over the last two decades have found a correlation between violent video gaming and aggression as reported by teachers and the adolescents themselves (Kirsh, 2002). Studies have found the highest rate of game playtime in the younger age groups (8-13); this rate however, decreased with age. Gender was not an issue in the studies; both boys and girls preferred games with a violent component. Not surprisingly, violence was evident in 80% of the most popular video games at the time of the studies (Kirsh, 2002). One of the most popular games, America’s Army, was released in 2002 by the U.S. Army. Based on the first-person shooter (where the player experiences the action through the eyes of the character they are playing), the game targets young adolescents with its “T” for teen rating (suitable for ages 13 and up). It has been utilized as a recruiting tool by the Army for teens by communicating messages regarding warcraft and desensitization to violent wartime scenarios (Susca, 2012). Games such as this should carry disclaimers and be regulated. The government’s role in this deception is particularly disconcerting as they could have changed the rating to “M” for mature but chose not to as younger teens are the target audience. More research is needed on the correlation and/or causality of violent video games and aggression and its impact on our youth.   Elaborate and discuss these statements in  detailed form.