A Two-Way Road of Murder: The Detrimental Impact of Violent Video Games on Young Gamers

Arnav Srivastava ’19
EE Opinions Editor

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The effect of violent video games displayed among youth.

“Shooting at those guys was just so much fun!”

Over the years, the violent video games industry has established a virtual world with dystopian themes where anyone can be a killer. Unfortunately, many gamers are spending too much time playing the role of an assassin, and unforeseen (and somewhat scary) consequences are becoming present amongst gamers. Nevertheless, the solution is simple: the playing of violent video games need to be restricted and monitored amongst the youth.

For one thing, violent video games have been found to create more anxiety in all players after gaming, leading to exhaustion and unpeaceful responses to everyday activities afterwards. In a study conducted by Malena Ivarsson at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University in Sweden, Ivarsson monitored the reactions of teenage boys playing a violent video game compared to those playing a cartoon violence-free video game.

Results showed that violent video gamers had higher stress and anxiety levels after playing, with higher heart rates and exhaustion which led to poor sleep quality. Being placed in high pressure situations here was proven to physically weaken gamers, turning a violent game of pain into a two-way sacrifice.

Concurrently, long periods of gaming are also deteriorating gamer’s moral standards, as Dr. Brockmeyer from the Department of Psychology in the University of Toledo explains, “exposure to violent video games increases the relative risk of desensitization to violence, which in turn may increase aggression and decrease prosocial behavior”. In one of the multiple studies cited by Dr. Brockmeyer to prove her conclusion, a 30-month experiment was conducted with adolescents in Germany and their response to violence after playing violent video games over time. As the test progressed over time, the participants were reported to have strengthening pro violence attitudes. Meanwhile, these violent video gamers self-reported of having lower empathy throughout their daily life as well as higher physical aggression levels. As explained by Dr. Walsh from University of Chicago, “repetition increases learning. Video games involve a great deal of repetition. If the games are violent, then the effect is a behavioral rehearsal for violent activity.” Essentially, gamers are practicing to slay all enemies the more they play violent video games, and over time are being desensitized towards the inhumanity of killing, as expressed by subjects of the German gamers case study. This may be foreshadowing a more destructive future, as violent video gamers can apply their perception of violence to everyday life.

The popular trend and addiction of violent video games is leading to gamers, who mainly are composed of still-learning children, mixing up their priorities. Violent video games are even more addicting than regular video games, as explained by psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Lennart Nacke, because gamers feel extremely empowered since in total control of their environment. However, with a strong appeal to violent video games, children are spending too much time on their games and letting important factors of life be put to waste.

If people follow game ratings and refrain from buying age inappropriate content, they will save themselves from the detrimental impacts of violent video games such as worse physical and mental health, and instead work towards being a part of a successful community.

Violent video games are no longer just games ― the damaging effects of violent video games are real and present, and unlike the virtual video game characters, man only has one life and not many

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