Call of Duty? World of Warcraft? Grand Theft Auto? What do these videogames all have in common? Extreme violence that is exposed to today’s youth. Imagine what would happen if these alternate worlds become a reality. Here’s a hint: muggings everywhere you turn, robberies to no end and blood on every street corner. Is that a world that you want to live in? Because with the constant exposure to these actions, today’s children will grow up with brains altered to believe that these actions are the right thing to do.
Due to today’s technological advancements, children are exposed to the wonders of technology at a very young age. As these kids, especially boys, reach the peak years of their brain’s development, they are feeding it with digital images and actions of violence. Now, what is this telling the brain? The message the brain is receiving and storing for later is that the violent actions taken in these videogames are acceptable. It is common knowledge that the purpose of many of these violent videogames is to kill as many people (usually innocent) as possible. Out in the real world, these actions are severely punished with jail sentences. However, in these games, there are no punishments for these actions; no one is saying that what’s going on is wrong. In fact, the player gets rewarded with extra coins and weapons. This is not the proper message to be sending to a developing brain.
Next, let’s try the psychological approach. Violent videogames cause kids to react to situations in a violent manner. Kids might think that they know the difference between what’s reality and what’s digital, and they could possibly be right. But that doesn’t mean that subconsciously their brain knows the difference too. Dr. Phil states that experiencing vulgar attacks in the videogames, even being the cause of them, for hours per week will cause kids to handle their stress differently than the way kids who weren’t exposed to the cyber-attacks will. It’s like the science experiment conducted by Dr. Craig A. Anderson, Ph.D., of Iowa State University: two groups, a control, and a variable. The groups: group one playing violent videogames and group two not. The control: both groups are placed in the same situation. The variable: violent videogames. And the result will always be that group one will react violently while group two will react in a mature manner and calmly attempt to find a solution.
Now, you may be thinking, “Only children with preexisting behavioral problems will be negatively affected by violent videogames.” And those who know little about the topic might agree with you. Patrick Markey, a researcher at Villanova University, found that “if a child is easily upset, depressed, emotional or indifferent towards the feelings of other people, if they break rules, or fail to keep promises they are more likely to become hostile after playing violent games.” Yes, children with behavioral problems will become hostile after playing violent videogames, but so will children without behavioral problems. Numerous studies have been done using MRI scans of children’s brains, and whether they were conducted at Indiana University School of Medicine or Iowa State University, the conclusions were always the same: violent video games do have an effect on the players’ brains. Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine conclude from their experiment “the scans of kids who played a violent videogame showed an increase in emotional arousal-and a corresponding decrease of activity in brain areas involved in self-control, inhibition and attention.” What does this all mean, you may ask? These MRI scans were taken immediately after thirty minutes of videogame playing time: twenty-two children playing a violent game and twenty-two children playing a nonviolent game. The physical evidence of the harm done to a developing brain due to violent videogames is now exposed.
The conclusion to this debate has been decided: violent videogames absolutely do have an effect on the children who play them. So what can be done? The simple answer would be to stop production of these videogames so that children can’t play them. But that’s not realistic. So here’s the solution: parents need to limit the amount of time their kids spend playing violent videogames. By cutting back on the number of hours of exposure the brain has to these games, the less of an impact they will have on the brain. What to do in the extra time? Expose kids to the beautiful and natural wonders of the real world around them and help them to form healthy relationships with those around them. The result will be unbelievable. So, the choice is yours. Which world do you want to live in?