Jasper NewkirkDenise EichlerEnglish 10January 4th, 2018Violent Video Games Decrease Aggression in YouthMany news articles have surrounded the internet with a common theme of violent games giving children violent tendencies. This claim can be analyzed in many different ways rendering there to be no definite answer on the subject. But despite many beliefs, violent video games do not make violent children.The main point made by most people is given in a more relevant way by Emily E. Mazurak, “Violent video games may be more harmful than violent television and movies because they are interactive and engrossing, and they sometimes even require that the person playing identify with the aggressor” (Video Games Can Increase Aggression). Her point being that video games promoting violence give children a sense that doing similar things in real life is seen as acceptable. This can be an easy misconception amongst many people. To put it simply, if these audiences are releasing their anger on these games, increased aggression would not be a factor.
To elaborate, children and adults alike that play violent video games release anger while playing these games, thus lessening the chance of them acting out outside of these games.In a study given by Dr. Christopher J.
Ferguson at the Texas A&M International University, 103 teenagers were given either a non-violent, violent, or no video game at all for an undisclosed amount of time, “The results suggest that violent games reduce depression and hostile feelings in players through mood management,” thus giving light to the benefits of video game violence amongst teens (Video Games Help Relieve Stress). This effect has been proven in my personal experience, as violent games such as “Grand Theft Auto” relieved my stress from procrastinating on this very essay. Sure there are other ways to handle your stresses and violent tendencies, but playing video games has proven to be effective to me and according to Dr. Ferguson’s study, many others as well. Sure stress is one of the major causes of violence, but other things come into account as well. Dan Callister lead a study to interview teenagers in some of the nation’s most violent neighborhoods. The result of their top 10 list gave the following reasons: broken homes, poor family environment, and bad neighborhoods (Anderson).
The common theme in this study has nothing to do with video game violence. Nonetheless, video games either violent or not can help the youth cope with their broken homes, poor family environment, and bad neighborhoods alike. By giving them a moment of bliss they can get immersed in to a virtual world.
This exact coping mechanism is explained in a study by Markus Denzler, “thinking about something that made you angry can actually start to make you angry again”. This further explains why this method of coping works for people in these situations. Dwelling on what makes you angry will increase violent tendencies, using your anger to fuel a “Call of Duty” match will help you forget all about what made you upset in the first place (Social Psychology Bulletin). There has been a suspected link between the Sandy Hook or Columbine shootings and violent video games, saying that it may have led to the horrific tragedies. To test this theory, Professor Patrick M. Markey and Charlotte N. Markey conducted a study that unexpectedly proved the opposite.
The study was tested on 118 teenagers, having them play video games promoting violence while all of them having “angry, mean, depressed, psychotic, anxious, hateful, or aggressive” characteristics such as those involved in several school shootings. The study concluded with the statement, “By removing people with a propensity toward violence because they are home playing a game, violent films and video games may work to reduce overall violence levels,” thus proving that the link was far fetched and had little to no correlation on acts of violence (Video games may reduce violence). In order to truly test this further, empathy needs to be taken into account and whether or not violent games have an effect. This is because those with little to no empathy begin to plot various severe acts of violence on their peers. Dr. Gregor Szycik and his colleagues took the liberty of leading this study in late 2016, researching the long-term effects of playing these types video games and its effect on the player’s empathy. The participants in the study were all men due to the greater impact it seemed to have on them compared to women. All people tested had played first-person shooter games a couple hours daily for the last four years.
To measure the data, the teenagers were shown a catalogue of images designed to waken an emotional and/or empathetic response, “The psychological questionnaire revealed no differences in measures of aggression and empathy between gamers and non-gamers,” thus resulting in the conclusion that not all violence is caused by video games (Violent video games do not affect empathy). Violence can come from several other issues, such as home life or mental illness. Despite contrary belief, violent video games do not make the player any more violent. Video games allow the user to release anger in a healthy way by not affecting anyone in the real world. By dwelling on your anger, it has been proven to only increase violence towards the situation, making gaming a constructive coping mechanism. By playing these games, whether violent or not, it allows your mind time to reflect on your problems and even act upon them in an environment free of consequence.
This has even been proven to have no effect on your empathy, which means you can let out all your anger while still understanding the difference between virtual reality and real life. While violent games may seem to give children violent tendencies, it really depends on how they handle their aggression, not the kinds of games they play in their free time.Works CitedMazurak, Emily E. “Violent Video Games Can Increase Aggression.” National Center for Health Research, 24 Mar. 2017, www.center4research.
org/violent-video-games-can-increase-aggression/.”Violent Video Games Help Relieve Stress, Depression, Says TAMIU Professor.” Texas A International University, 17 June 2010, www.tamiu.edu/newsinfo/7-08-10/article5.shtml.Anderson, Jack.
“Lucifer on the Loose.” LDS Magazine, LDS Magazine, 30 Apr. 1999, ldsmag.com/article-1-4577/.Markman, Art. “You Can Vent Your Anger If You Really Want To.
” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 22 Nov. 2011, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201111/you-can-vent-your-anger-if-you-really-want.Stein, Linda. “Villanova Prof’s Study: Video Games May Reduce Violence.
” The Delaware County Daily Times, 2 Oct. 2014, www.delcotimes.com/article/DC/20141001/NEWS/141009988.Hastings, Conn. “Violent Video Games Found Not to Affect Empathy.
” Science & Research News | Frontiers, 9 Mar. 2017, blog.frontiersin.org/2017/03/09/violent-video-games-found-not-to-affect-empathy/.