400 words This week’s Forum focuses on the question, “Are Violent Video Games Harmful to Children and Adolescents?” debated in our course textbook, (Gantt & Slife, 2015). Do Violent Video Games Lead to Criminal Behavior?
Title: The Impact of Violent Video Games on Child and Adolescent Behavior
The discussion surrounding the potential harm caused by violent video games on children and adolescents has been a topic of debate for many years. With the continuous technological advancements in video gaming, concerns have arisen regarding the influence these games may have on individuals’ behavior, particularly in terms of promoting violence and criminal conduct. This forum aims to critically analyze the question, “Are violent video games harmful to children and adolescents?” by considering existing research and scholarly perspectives. Furthermore, we will explore whether there is a causal connection between violent video games and criminal behavior.
Violence in Video Games and Its Appeal:
Violent video games have grown tremendously in popularity, reaching widespread audiences of children and adolescents. These games often encompass elements of aggression, combat, and virtual violence, designed to engage players in thrilling and immersive experiences. The appeal of violent video games lies in their ability to provide a sense of empowerment, escapism, and achievement, which may contribute to their increased consumption.
Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior:
Numerous studies have investigated the potential effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior in children and adolescents. Aggression, broadly defined as behavioral intentions or actions aimed at harming another individual physically or psychologically, has become a focal point within this research domain.
According to Anderson et al. (2010), exposure to violent video games has been consistently associated with increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive thoughts, and feelings of anger. Additionally, meta-analyses conducted by Anderson et al. (2010) and Ferguson (2007) have demonstrated moderate effect sizes linking violent video game exposure to increased aggression. They argue that the repeated exposure to virtual violence can desensitize individuals to real-life aggression, blur the line between virtual and actual violence, and diminish empathy or compassion.
Furthermore, longitudinal studies provide further evidence supporting the potential harmful effects of violent video games. For instance, Huesmann et al. (2003) conducted a longitudinal study spanning over 22 years, which revealed a significant association between childhood exposure to violent media (including video games) and subsequent aggressive behavior in adulthood. These findings suggest that exposure to violent video games during formative years may have long-term implications for one’s disposition towards aggression.
Causal Connection between Violent Video Games and Criminal Behavior:
Moving beyond the effects on aggressive behavior, the question remains whether violent video games can directly lead to criminal behavior. While there is evidence suggesting an association between exposure to violent video games and increased aggression, establishing a causal link in relation to criminal behavior presents a more complex challenge.
Most researchers agree that a direct causal relationship cannot be definitively established due to ethical limitations, practical difficulties, and the multifaceted nature of human behavior (DeLisi & Vaughn, 2014). Additionally, it is essential to consider the multitude of factors that contribute to criminal behavior, such as socio-economic status, family dynamics, peer influence, and mental health.
However, there are notable exceptions. For instance, in a landmark case, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that there was not enough evidence to establish a causal link between violent video games and criminal behavior (Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, 2011). It is crucial to recognize that isolated incidents of criminal behavior in individuals who consume violent video games do not prove causation. Instead, they may reflect other underlying factors that contribute to deviant behavior.
In conclusion, while there is substantial evidence linking violent video games to increased aggression, establishing a definitive causal connection between exposure to violent video games and criminal behavior proves challenging. The relationship between video games and criminal behavior is undoubtedly complex and influenced by various interacting factors. Nonetheless, given the potential for adverse impacts on aggression and other negative outcomes, it is essential to continue monitoring and investigating the effects of violent video games on children and adolescents.