Monday, November 18, 2013

Life: Violent/Negative Impacts of Video Games

One of the big topics in today's parenting is about violent video games on children. There are lots of research, articles, and opinions on this topic. I think this does not only impact children but anyone who plays violent video games of any age.

I think these games do not make me any more violent than if I did not play violent games. It is possible that some people may learn to use violence as a coping mechanism, but I think this is more a lack on society in teaching the person alternative ways to cope with certain feelings. The problem is even worse with video games because it also takes people away from society thus forcing more stress on parents or guardians to focus on this behavior. In the past with other media, there was still at least some interactions with other people. Watching tv, movies, and/or listening to the radio allows other people to also be in the same proximity. So, violent shows and movies have similar impact but some social norms are still expected. It would be interesting to see impacts on people who do the same activities but by themselves.

What I think video games do to me is desensitize me from the violence. By this I mean that it is less shocking when reality presents me a similar situation. For example, seeing guns is less shocking because I see them in all the games. Although I have been taught to be careful, there is still some fear to be around them but after so many games, movies, and even the news, there is also a curiosity or cool factor to them. I would not be surprised that people with different exposure levels could be less inclined to stay away from things that could be very fatal or sadly excited to test to see if it is real.

To borrow from another genre of horror games, some things are less scary now because I am more used to seeing creepy creatures, blood, and other creepy music. Although this can be seen as a pro, this also shows how my increased exposure to certain things made me immune to certain feelings. Thus with violence, many people are "losing" the natural protection from violence which was our fear to violence. Perhaps that was not the best way to protect ourselves as we see our world compared to the past.

There was an article stating that criminal violence has actually gone down during the growth of video games among the youth. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with what can make an individual take the leap to that level of violence. Possibly since they act out earlier, these issues can actually be addressed before they are stressed to commit a larger crime. Another possibility is game addiction which prevents them from physically going out to commit crimes. Or maybe they lack so much social experience that they can no longer simple mix in with the crowd thus making them stand out more.

To me, the main problem is education which means parenting for many families. What makes education difficult is the changes in the way we educate others. Each generation faces different exposure and different values. I'm sure society thought the 80's families were more violent due to the exposures to violent tv shows and movies. Before that, possibly blamed radios. Today's education issue is probably more pronounced than before due to many combinations of improved communications primarily in marketing (internet) and our society values in placing economic values over social values (free market). This may not be technically better or worse, but definitely requires a different method to address different underlying issues although the underlying issues may share the same outcomes.

Education is not the soul responsibility of the parents although they are the core source for many children. It is all of our responsibilities to promote people around us, including friends, siblings, family, and even our parents. For parents, parenting shouldn't stop even after the kids leave to lead their own lives (hopefully at a lesser level than before). I may not understand everything my parents tell me, but I am still listening even if I retort that our world is not the same. Sometimes it just takes a lot of repetition for the lesson to hit home, and sometimes it really is a different world.


Reference:
http://videogames.procon.org/#pro_con
http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Children_and_Video_Games_Playing_with_Violence_91.aspx
http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/297
http://www.pamf.org/parenting-teens/general/media-web/videogames.html