Guest Post: The Truth Behind Video Game Violence

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kids-violent (2)Why we should not Blame Video Games for Exposing Kids to Violence

From World of Warcraft, to Ben 10, to Grand Theft Auto, to even Scooby Doo – video games are often blamed for exposing children to violence. Parents are constantly warned about the detrimental impact video games can have. Moreover, when something bad happens in the news and a child has done something they shouldn’t have, there will often be a comment referring to the video games they play – whether the news makes the reference or those watching. In fact, 77% of parents in an online study said they blame video games for the exposure of violence. Nevertheless, video games cannot take all of the blame. In fact, some would say that video games are made a scapegoat for the other issues there are in society which relate to violence.

Are video games the scapegoat? Do they promote video game violence?

There is a vast array of video games available, and only a small proportion of these actually relate to violence. If parents have control over the games that their children play then they can ensure that nothing too violent is played. Most games have an age tag on them, and this should be followed. For instance, Grand Theft Auto is rated suitable for those who are aged 18 years old or above. However, you would not believe how many young children are allowed to play this game. It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that all games played by their children are age appropriate.

Moreover, the young children’s games which are linked to violence include the likes of Scooby Doo and Ben 10. However, the latter merely follows a young boy who shoots aliens and alike. There are no violent or graphic images and the concept is clearly highly unrealistic. Thus, can one really claim that these expose children to violence? The answer is probably not. Therefore, if you ensure your child plays age appropriate games then there should be no inappropriate exposure to violence.

Are games entirely to blame for video game violence?

By totally focusing one’s attention to video games, it is easy to miss the other elements which relate to the exposure of violence in young children. There are many other contributing factors which are merely overlooked. For example, music videos today contain a large proportion of violence. A recent study concluded that 15% of music videos featured interpersonal violence. In fact, the lyrics of songs themselves can be very aggressive and allude to violent messages. Thus, even without the videos, the songs can still have a negative effect. This is why a lot of albums come with explicit labels on them and thus you need to bear that in mind when buying music for your child as well.

Moreover, the shows watched on television often relate to violent acts, and this is largely considered the biggest contributing factor because children are more likely to act out what they see on TV. Therefore it is important to be careful about what you have on your television when your children are about. Moreover, even things which seem little – such as having an argument with your partner –  can have a mass effect on young children. This is because their minds are very impressionable. This is something which rings truer the younger that they are. Thus, you need to be mindful of this as well.

From the not-so violent – such as Ben 10, to the very violent – such as Grand Theft Auto, many people share the opinion that video games expose children to violence. Nevertheless, if you ensure the games are rated age appropriate for your child then this exposure will be limited drastically. Moreover, there are other contributing factors which need to be acknowledged as well.

Author bio – 

CJ is a freelance journalist. She researched an array of games, from Ben 10 to World of Warcraft, in order to form this article.

Comments

  1. I don’t believe that solely being exposed to violent media incites equally violent behavior. I’ve been reading, watching television/movies and gaming for my entire life, and while they’ve had different emotional impacts on me, none of them have been negative or destructive in any significant way. There is no single reason behind someone’s violent tendencies, since I believe they are just as complex as the person themselves. If you’re a parent, then understanding what your kid is being exposed to, or what they think, is very important in dealing with how they react to these things. Normally it can be discussed and dealt with in a very respectful way.

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