Effects of Video Games on Aggressive Behavior among Teens
The introduction of the internet and the development of computer technology necessitated the introduction of video games as a youth culture in the contemporary society. The culture has attracted criticism and acceptance in equal measure with other members of the society perceiving it as a time waster interfering with brain development. Different media channels and scholars have blamed video games as the main source of violent and antisocial behavior. Despite the perceived criticism, there are experts who argue that video games generate numerous benefits aimed at improving the creativity and problems solving skills among games. In addition, video games have also been considered as essential platforms in the development of social behavior considering that they play the role of socialization agents among the youth and teenagers. Depictions of aggressive and violent behavior coupled by the desire for instant gratification have been cited as some of the negative effects of video games with regard to teenage development. Scholars have argued that too much explore to these elements increase the possibility that the youth will become more aggressive when handling different aspects within the society. This limits their ability to focus on negotiation and other problem solving skills. These studies do not explain how these games may in fact foster peace and non-aggression among youths. In addition, they do not mention whether the games actually bring people together, people who may otherwise never have met.
This research paper aims at answering the following research question: What are the effects of playing video games on the aggressive behavior of teens? Through this question, the research seeks to address the existing gaps on matters related to the nature of behavior among individual engage in violent video games. According to Carnagey, Anderson, & Bushman (2007) posit that the impact of playing video games on aggressive behavior of youths is a highly controversial issue. The controversy arises from the understanding that video games are increasingly becoming popular and affordable to the teenage population in the society. The depiction of violent behavior within these games has been said to be one of the leading causes of increased criminal and aggressive behavior among the youth (Carnagey, Anderson, & Bushman, 2007). The video game industry is one of the fastest growing in recent times. With technology becoming increasingly a part of our daily lives, there is no doubt that everything that depends on it is likely to become a part of a certain people’s lives in different ways (Adachi & Willoughby, 2011). There are those who use video games as an entertainment platform while others use it as a networking and socialization platform. The high levels of addiction in using this platform is however associated with its ability to provide instant satisfaction in the form of rewards to those emerging as winners (Adachi & Willoughby, 2011). Instant gratification has the ability of limiting the level of perseverance among the youth hence a decline in the acquisition of desirable attributes in the society (Adachi & Willoughby, 2011).
Video games, in this case, are becoming more sophisticated each day, which means that they are continually becoming more addictive (Huesmann, 2010). Researchers indicate that video game developers are not simply engineers. There are also social scientists and psychologists in those industries who want to help the developers exploit the opportunities of adding a ‘human touch’ on the video games in order to make them more addictive in nature (Ferguson, 2007). The level of addiction associated with playing video games has the ability of affecting the concentration span in teenagers and the youth. Video games enhance the development of problems solving skills and the levels of creativity. However, these games are played for short period and therefore these skills can only be used in the short-term. An addicted gamer has the ability to develop short-term plans on how to realize an objective (Huesmann, 2010). However, according to Ferguson (2007) these individual do not have the ability of engaging in long-term activities because the games affect their concentration span. While the research on videogames and their effects on youths and young adults may be extensive, there is no denial that there are gaps. This means that more research needs to be conducted in order to understand how they affects the social life of those who play them and how they may affect their actions in committing crimes, for example, in shooting. The current research on video games provides a good basis to begin this. The available research indicates that there are cases of youths becoming more aggressive due to their playing of video games.
Aggression can be perceived from the way they interact with other children within the society. Addicted players of violent video games often find it relatively difficult to engage in fee and open discussions with other playmates (Ferguson, 2007). Instead, they often resort to violence as a means of solving problems. Furthermore, the development of aggressive behavior can also be associated with their inability embrace peaceful approaches when solving problems (Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley, 2007). These youths do not have any problems hitting their friends or shooting those that provoke them. Such findings can be a turning point in determining how much violence should be allowed in video games. This available research, however, does not explain how these games may in fact foster peace and non-aggression among youths. Indeed, the research does not mention whether the games actually bring people together, people who may otherwise never have met. Conversely, the research does not indicate the rates at which violence increases especially when the students go home for their holidays. In addition, the existing research does not explain the role of video games in enhancing the ability of the gamers to develop scientific minds in solving problems. This is because when engaged in video games, the gamers are often confronted with problems which require systematic and creative approaches in solving whenever a player emerges victorious, it can be perceives as a demonstration of high level planning and elaborate approach towards finding solutions to problems (Adachi & Willoughby, 2011).
The research question was focusing addressing issues related to the effects of playing video games among the youth. From a researcher’s perspective, gathering real-time and relevant data concerning the effects of video games required the incorporation of different data collection techniques. These included active participation in video games to assess the extent to which the interface and the feature in video games affect the behavior of individuals while playing the game. The researcher used observation and interviews as methodologies that would generate information that would address the research question. Direct and indirect observation also played an essential role in providing essential information. By engaging in a relatively dominant position as an external observer, it was easier to assess the behavior of gamers when engaged in the platform and in real life situation. Through observation, it was also possible to acquire firsthand information on the effects of video games on the gamers with regard to the adoption of violent and aggressive behavior. This is because when playing gamers often express their frustrations, anger, and this makes it possible to predict the expected behavior when in the society. Interviews and questionnaires provided in-depth information from active players and other members of the society on the possible effect of violent video games on the young members of the society. Through interview and questionnaires, it was possible to gather information from the experiences of video gamers and other non-gamers who perceive video games as an agent of socialization.
The data collection methods involved observations, filling of questionnaires, conducting of interviews. All these methods of data collection have their strengths and weaknesses. Using these approaches in data collection was based on the need to collect exhaustive and conclusive information from experienced vide gamers and other members of the society.
The interview method was best suited in the acquisition of qualitative and quantitative information. In this case, the questions that the research will be asking include the ‘why’ and ‘what’ part of research. The use of interviews was with questionnaires and surveys to enable the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data.
Quantitative research is also important in numerous ways. This is because it helped in getting an overview of the research problem through quantification. For example, questions on the number of people have been shot or attacked by people who ‘identify’ as video gamers were addressed to assess the full impact of violent video games. The questionnaires were integrated with both quantitative and qualitative research questions. The questionnaires were short and could consume 10 to 20 minutes to complete. For the collection of real-time and relevant data, the questionnaires were distributed in video game sites and cybercafés offering gamers environments to play. Using questionnaires in the environment of play was essential because it provided the respondent a platform of addressing these questions considering that the questions were relevant to their surroundings.
For the interviews, the process was aimed at collecting data from the 5 to 10 video gamers and two members of the public preferably the aged. The approach used in sampling this population was based on the understanding that there are different perspectives of videogames among the public and the games themselves. The relatively old personalities view video technology as a relatively new platform of socialization whose violence minimizes the ability of the youth to engage in effective socialization. The use of interviews in data collection was based on their ability to provide firsthand information on the real experiences of video gamers regarding the effect of video games. The questionnaires and the interview had similar questions. Nonetheless, the objective was to gain more in depth knowledge from by getting different and more extemporaneous answers. Differences in the responses provided were perceived as essential in providing a platform for the comparison of data gathered. The comparative platform was essential in the analysis of data with regard to coding and categorization of information.
The questionnaires helped the researcher gain an overview of the answers that he was likely to get when conducting the research on videogames. The survey was also helpful as it helped in gaining general knowledge on the effects that videogames have on the gamers in terms of instilling an aggressive nature among them. The survey was essential in identifying questions that will be separating quantitative or qualitative. Interview question, on the contrary, gave a good opportunity to probe thus offering more insight concerning the behavior of the individuals. These approaches to data collection provide the researcher with a better position of pressing the respondents for more information concerning the research h questions when conducting interviews compared to using questionnaires.
The researcher employed direct and indirect approaches. Direct observation was through participation. As a participant observer, the researcher was expected to be actively involved in the gaming process. This was by playing the games against other players without the knowledge that they are being studied. As a non-participant observer, the researcher was collecting data overtly information the gamers that he was observing them in their natural setting. The benefit of covert data collection method such that of a participant observer is that it helps the gamers open up and behave in the natural context. This offered the researcher with more quality data
Research Findings and First Analysis
The main objective of the research was to assess the effects of video games on the social lives of gamers. To ensure the collection of relevant and accurate data on the actual effect of video games on the youthful population the study engaged youths aged 15-25 because they are the most common gamers. In addition, the study was also able to collect data from the relatively older population who understood the effects of violent video games from an external observer’s perspective. Through observation and the interview process the study collected data on the following questions
Video games play an essential role in enhancing social cohesion. As a participant observer, the researcher was able to play with 10 video gamers. The platform was essential in enhancing social networking because despite playing these games as anonymous individuals it was possible to communicate, and engage in the development of strategies on how to defeat a common enemy. During the games, it became possible to build friendships with strategies and this was considered essential in the development of a more cohesive society of gamers.
Out of the 10 video gamers observed in terms of their ability to interact with other member of the society, 90% demonstrated the essence of their interpersonal and communication skills acquired from the video games in their interactions with other members of the society. There were those who were dormant in real life but highly interactive in when engage in violent video games.
Video games depict aggressive behavior and under controlled environment children learn to distinguish between the application of aggressive behavior in real-life and in video games. In uncontrolled environment, the youth and other gamers are more likely to acquire violent attributes and apply them in real life.
Video games are programmed with activities that enhance the need to develop effective strategies on the best possible technique of winning. The winning attitude threatens the ability of gamers to embrace loss of difficulty in real-life situations
The task to be performed in video games is presented in the form of problems. By coordinating their hands and brains video
Violent video games act as an essential source of entertainment. Deriving entertainment from death and misery of the players reduces the ability of a player to embrace humanity and compassion as essential principles. This increases the probability of adopting criminal behavior and the intentional desire to hurt others
Video games are addictive among youth and children because they provide an entertainment platform characterized by results and rewards such as trophies and points. This encourages the gamers to engage in the games
Video games provide less physical exercise to children and the youth making it a health risk with regard to lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
There have been no instances of actual shooting and deaths related to cases of video gamers in the society. There have only been instances of violent behavior among involving video gamers.
Question: How do video games facilitate the promoting social cohesion?
About 90% of those interviewed argued the at video games played an essential role in enhancing social cohesion among gamers and other members of the society while 10% of those interviewed argued that video games enhanced irresponsible and separationist behavior discriminating gamers from non-gamers
Question: How do violent video games enhance aggressive behavior?
About 90% of those interviewed argued that Video games act as learning platform where the gamers acquire what is perceived as the most appropriate behavior. Constant engagement in violent behavior provides them with the understanding that it is acceptable top engage in violent behavior when confronted with a problem. However, 85% argue that in controlled environments where violent games are accompanied by instructions, gamers learn to distinguish virtual and real-life platforms.
Question: What is the role of video games in promoting creativity
About 60% of those interviewed assert that violent video games provide gamers with a platform of developing survival strategies. According to 40% of those interviewed these enhance their ability to develop essential survival tactic when confronted with difficult situation in real life.
Question: What is the role of violent video games in promoting problem solving and coordination skills?
According to 60% of those interviewed assert that frequent use of video games helps in the development of sensorimotor skills in the youth. They facilitate brain development with regard to finding immediate solutions to existing problems. However, 40% argue that video games do not provide a platform for the development of long-term solutions because they require instant gratification.
Question: Do violent video games teach children to develop criminal behavior and intentionally hurt others?
Violent video games act as agent of socialization. About 75% argue that violence can be adopted as behavioral trait when other agents of socialization fail in their role of sensitizing gamers about the effects of voids games. Children informed on the role of video games with regard to real-life use it as an entertainment platform
Question: Do you think that violet video games can be addictive because they provide instant remuneration?
About 40% of those interviewed argued that video games are highly addictive and they affect the ability of youth and children to engage in other activities in the society. About 30% of those interviewed argued that instant gratification and reinforcement of behavior, through awarding points and increasing their level of play, limits their level of concentration in other social and developmental activities within the society.
Question: Should violent video games be considered health risk to the youthful gamers?
About 55% argue that video games entertain laziness among the gamers because they only require them to sit and engage in the games. This limits the ability of their bodies to engage in physical and psychological development. About 45% argue that high addiction to video games contributes to an increase in the population of individuals incapable of engaging in social activities outside the virtual world of video games.
Question: Have there been instance of actual shooting and death related cases of violent video gamers in the real society?
About 100% argue that actual shooting and death related to video gamers have not been reported. However, aggressive behavior among children and the youth when arguing or when involved in dilemma situation shave been reported.
Second Analysis and Addressing the Research Question
The findings indicate violent video games play an essenatil role in enhancing problem solving and sensory-motors skills, which are considered significant with regard to the ability of such individual to provide solutions and engage in in-depth through while handling matters in the society. According to Huesmann (2010) video games are largely addictive and therefore they deprive the gamers the opportunity of engaging in other activities within the society which are equally important tin ensuring the development of a highly informed and educated members of the society. The research findings indicate that the addictive nature of video games result from their ability to provide instant gratification in the form of reinforcements. However, this denies the youth and opportunity of engaging in other activities outside the virtual world such as physical socialization and the ability, which enhances their ability to understand behavior. Video games are considered as entertainment and socialization platform, which play the role of instilling essential skills and morals into the gamers. According to the findings, the ability of video games to acquire violent behavior and the need to hurt other when engaged in arguments and disagreement within the society is dependent on the control mechanism existing fro video games. According to Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley (2007) the aggressive behavior that characterizes violent video games increases the possibility that addicted youth will acquire violence as a problem solving mechanism, which limits their ability to engage in conversations and peaceful negotiations. This is however considered when other agents of socialization such as the entertainment world, the family, and schools fail to socialize the youth on the effects of video games and the best ways to differentiate between their role as video games and as members of the society. According to the research, findings there have been no shooting and death related cases involving video games. There have been only instances of violence. Inasmuch as Adachi and Willoughby (2011) argue that the popularity of video games in the society has made it impossible for gamers to learn other skills except the violence depicted in the videos, it will be improper to argue that video games are the main source of violent behavior.
This research paper aims at answering the following research question: What are the effects of playing video games on the aggressive behavior of teens? Video games despite depicting and exposing gamers to aggressive and largely violent behavior also play a role in the reduction of the rate of violence and criminal activities in the society. this is because by playing games such as Mortal Kombat and Death Race teenagers have learnt to express all their anger and frustrations in the games making virtual world a platform of expressing all forms of aggressive behavior and leaving them behind upon completion of the games. Despite their advantage as a platform of expressing anger, there are video games that teach teenagers the wrong values. In these games, violent crime, revenge, and aggressive are rewarded considering that other desirable attributes such as negotiations are not available as adoptions. These games portray women as sexually provocative and weaker characters. However, the violence and aggression depicted in video games can contribute to the development of better behavior in the real world. This is because it is possible for the gamers to develop a sense of guilt about their behavior in the virtual world and this may contribute to their ability to become more sensitive to the moral issues that they violated when they were engaged in the virtual world. The aggression depicted in the virtual world area presentation of fantasy and entertainment. Violent video games are asocial networking for individuals emanating from different societies. Through these networking forums, gamers learn the art of communication and they develop essential interpersonal skills. For video gamers these platforms do not contribute to isolation instead they enhance their ability to develop social skills and engage in other activities outside the realm of video games. They do not replace their offline lives with the virtual world; instead, they use it as a platform of expanding their social networking skills.
The internet and video games are technologies, which are bound to affect the nature of relationships in the contemporary society among the youth. This is because the process of developing these games involves the incorporation of engineers and social experts who understand the need to incorporate aspects of humanity within the games. As an alternative socialization platform, it is important for the society to embrace the positive aspects of video games while at the same time sensitizing the youth on the negative effects of these games especially when an individual is addicted. Different scholars have argued that the aggressive nature of video games contribute to the development of criminal and violent behavior among the youth. However, despite this possibility, video games have also been used as essential platform of developing communication and interpersonal skills among the gamers. In addition, through video games it has become possible for members of the society to acquire additional platform of improving on their levels of creativity, problem solving, and sensory motor skills. It is therefore important for the society to embrace different forms of video games to act as socialization and eductaion platforms of the youth and other members of the society.
Summary and Ideas for Future Research
Video games are highly engaging and intuitive aspects of the technological world. This means that they play a role in the development of the brain and the ability of the body to coordinate different activities. Furthermore, through the aggression and violence provided in video games, the gamers learn the best strategies of handling anger and frustration issues when playing. It is possible that an addiction into video games will lead teenagers into acquiring aggressive and violent behavior, which is relatively unacceptable in the real society. To minimize the possibility of acquiring such behavior it is the responsbility of the society to ensure that sufficient sensitization and control mechanisms are generated for the youth and the children to learn boundaries of engaging in these games. Furthermore, the society, through other socialization agents has the responsbility of engaging the youth in additional activities to minimize the possibility of addiction. Video games form part of the contemporary youth culture and with the existing technological developments, video games are bound to affect the lives and personality of the youth. There is need for future studied to be conducted on the way through which embracing video games as socialization agents and entertainment platform can be used in fostering desirable social behavior among the youth in the society. Such studs should focus on the mechanisms that can be incorporated within these games to ensure that they depict desirable attributes such as generosity, negation skills, and empathy and forgives even in violent situations.
Depictions of aggressive and violent behavior coupled by the desire for instant gratification have been cited as some of the negative effects of video games with regard to teenage development. However, less focus employed in explaining how these games may in fact foster peace and non-aggression among youths and the extent to which the games actually bring people together, people who may otherwise never have met. Video games form part of the contemporary youth culture and with the existing technological developments; video games are bound to affect the lives and personality of the youth. Violent video games are social networking platforms for individuals emanating from different societies. Through these networking forums, gamers learn the art of communication and they develop essential interpersonal skills. The violence and aggression depicted in video games can contribute to the development of better behavior in the real world. This is because it is possible for the gamers to develop a sense of guilt about their behavior in the virtual world and this may contribute to their ability to become more sensitive to the moral issues that they violated when they were engaged in the virtual world. There is need for future studied to be conducted on the way through which embracing video games as socialization agents and entertainment platform can be used in fostering desirable social behavior among the youth in the society
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Huesmann, L. R. (2010). Nailing the coffin shut on doubts that violent video games stimulate aggression: comment on Anderson et al.(2010).