Violence and Video Games

In my short lifetime, I’ve noticed a difference in children. Just a decade ago, most of my friends and I would go outside and play in our free time. Thanks to video games and other electronic devices, kids are becoming more isolated as they stay in their rooms and stare blankly at a screen.Humans are hard-wired to be social creatures. We need contact with others to feel important and stay sane. When children are isolated in their rooms as they play the newest version of Grand Theft Auto, their social skills suffer. It has been proved by the Kaiser Family Foundation that the excessive playing of video and computer games can lead to obesity, loneliness and, with certain games, aggression.I’m not saying that all computer games are awful. I have been known to play a crazy game of Guitar Hero with friends to have a good time. In moderation, video games can be fun and sometimes educational. However, when young children get their hands on a violent game and have no adult supervision, adverse outcomes can occur.There have been several lawsuits filed against the makers and distributors of violent video games claiming the games cause children to engage in violent activity that they wouldn’t have done prior to playing the game. For instance, in 2003, a lawsuit was filed in which Devin Thompson, then 18, said he shot two police officers and a police dispatcher after playing Grand Theft Auto for several months and wanted to recreate the game in real life. Thompson and his family were suing the makers and distributors of GTA. The court released the case, saying that Thompson was responsible for his own actions.We’ve heard the statistics and many will roll their eyes when you mention the correlation between violent video games and aggression. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s “Key Facts” newsletter, nine out of ten of the top selling video games from last year featured “moderate to severe” violence. They also stated in their newsletter that playing violent video games has been found to account for a “13% to 22% increase in adolescents’ violent behavior.”So what should we do? Many say that parents should limit the time their children spend playing video games and watching television, but it could be simpler than that. If parents spent more time with their children and spoke with them about their interests and what’s going on in their lives, children wouldn’t be turning to video games and television to satisfy their need to belong.

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