Should I stop playing violent video games?

Recently video gaming has morphed into the dominant pastime of teenage all over the world. Due to the health effects associated with it, debates of whether we should or should not allow our children to play video games at a very early age have been sparked, especially violent video games. Like any other forms of entertainment, gaming can become truly addicting. Kimberly Young, licensed psychologist and the founder for The Center of Internet Addiction, says it perfectly “Immersion into online gaming allows users to become addicted”; along with health problems, morally problems also come into play. However, problem is not that the youth is spending large amounts of time in front of a screen, that can always be resolved by parent’s restrictions. The problem is that gamers cannot protect themselves from the content of video games, that rest on the Video Games maker. To resolve the underlying problem there should be a standard on what can be shown and what cannot be shown in video games, as well as provide video games with more options, especially the violent natured video games.

Video game makers should censor the material they can show on their video games. Video games especially violent ones expose us to values that for the most part lead to real life actions. As proven by real life data, being exposed to sensitive media like violence leads to violent behavior in media at any age induces violent behavior outside in real life (25 Exelmans,Liese 2015). If the exposure to violence messes with behavioral patterns, then the fact that almost all video games now at days have high amounts of violence should lead to the conclusion that video game maker should be restricted on the content they are allowed to show on their video games. video games glorify violence and as gamers, especially on young players, we are vulnerable to their ideas. Logically violence is never a good variable to have in civilization, therefore it should come without question that in order to stop violent behavior in young gamers, we should restrict the content allowed on video games.

Video games also need to provide more options on how a character is able to act. The values of many gamers are highly unrepresented on video games, most gamers do not actually agree with the ideas of violence that video games seem to portrait now at days. This detachment from the players own morality are demonstrated in some of today’s most popular video games; take the infamous mission “Three Leaf Clover” of the popular game Grand Theft Auto IV. In this mission, the only way to succeed is to go on a killing rampage while trying to flee the police officer. In any form that the gamer tries to flee, the results are always the same in which he has to kill innocent people to succeed. Of course, this decision does not at all represent the morality of the player himself. However, it is the fact that humans tend to integrate values from media around them into their everyday lives that makes this representation in video games very alarming.

Not only is video gaming unethical on the explicit content that they portray, but it also brings unprecedented health consequences with it. Video gaming like any other pastime, can become highly addictive. With any type of addiction, the health of the individual will surely be deteriorated. This cannot be more apparent that when looking at the correlation video gaming has with academic performance. As proved by many studies, the correlation between video gaming addiction and problematic behavior exist and should not be dismissed (22 Brunborg,Geir Scott 2014;). It is pretty safe to say that health problems will always lead to death if they are prolonged and persistent without a cure.

Logically some people will say that video games are made for the purpose of exactly playing someone who is different than you and that it should be left to the player, or parents of the player when talking about children, to choose whether they want to play a violent video game or not, even if it stands against their morality. However, for the gamers who aren’t comfortable with playing a character who is evil and detrimental to their beliefs and are concerned about the influence the game can have on them, I propose that they should be given a choice to act the way they freely will, instead of being chained to one single script. Not everyone is equal, therefor accommodations should be made for everyone who does not necessarily want to go through the trauma of playing someone that is the opposite of themselves.

Video games are the dominant way that youth entertains themselves now at day. However, as perfect as the video gaming industry may claim to be, faults are all around it. The most important, morally, is the fact that most games underrepresent the ideas of the player themselves. At a financial standpoint, giving the player more options to act how they see fit will surely help the video gaming industry a tremendous amount. Ethically, allowing everyone to act according to their will frees increases the possibility of sales as well. At the end, the video game makers are the ones with power in their hands, all that the gamer can do is hope.

References

1) Bartel, Christopher. “Free Will and Moral Responsibility in Video Games.” Ethics and Information Technology 17.4 (2015): 285–93. Web.

2) Brunborg, Geir Scott, Rune Aune Mentzoni, and Lars Roar Frøyland. “Is Video Gaming, Or Video Game Addiction, Associated with Depression, Academic Achievement, Heavy Episodic Drinking, Or Conduct Problems?” Journal of Behavioral Addictions 3.1 (2014): 27–32. Web.

3) Exelmans, Liese, Kathleen Custers, and den Bulck Van. “Violent Video Games and Delinquent Behavior in Adolescents: A Risk Factor Perspective.” Aggressive Behavior 41.3 (2015): 267–79. Web.

4) Guillot, Casey R., et al. “Longitudinal Associations between Anhedonia and Internet-Related Addictive Behaviors in Emerging Adults.” Computers in Human Behavior 62 (2016): 475–9. Web.

5) Vadlin, Sofia, et al. “Associations between Problematic Gaming and Psychiatric Symptoms among Adolescents in Two Samples.” Addictive Behaviors 61 (2016): 8–15. Web.

6) Young, Garry. Ethics in the Virtual World: The Morality and Psychology of Gaming. Durham, United Kingdom: Acumen Publishing, 2013. Web.

7) Young, Kimberly. “Understanding Online Gaming Addiction and Treatment Issues for Adolescents.” American Journal of Family Therapy 37.5 (2009): 355–72. Web.

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