Thesis Statement: Violent video games have been seen as the cause for aggressive and negative behavior in young children because of the intense graphics and lack of censorship, but some studies showed that there is no proper evidence for these accusations and show that these games can help overcome anxiety and reduce stress.
Negative psychological effects of the violent video games
Causes Violent behavior.
Playing violent video games causes more aggression, bullying, and fighting and people who play violent video games had more hostile personalities , believed violence to be more typical, and behaved more aggressively in their everyday lives.
A 2014 peer-reviewed study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that habitual violent video game playing had a causal link with increased, long-term, aggressive behavior. Several peer-reviewed studies have shown that children who play M-rated games are more likely to bully and cyberbully their peers, get into physical fights, be hostile, argue with teachers, and show aggression towards their peers throughout the school year.
Children imitating the behaviors of the violent characters
By playing as the violent characters in video games, children are more likely to imitate the behaviors of these characters and have a difficulty distinguishing reality from the fantasy and that may result in mimicking the actions they see in video games without understanding the consequences of these actions
Child Development and Early Childhood Education expert Jane Katch, MST, stated in an interview with Education Week, “I found that young children often have difficulty separating fantasy from reality when they are playing and can temporarily believe they are the character they are pretending to be.
Negative social effects of the violent video games
Negative relationship between violent video games and social activities
Excessive playing of video games consumes a great deal of time that it distracts the user from participating in real life events or participate in any social activity and the exposure to violent video games decreases the likelihood that the player will engage in an activity that helps another person
In the study, the children who began playing violent video games changed to see the world in a more aggressive way, and became more verbally and physically aggressive later in the school year and were likely to be isolated from others in the society.
Exposure to violent video games lower empathy and decrease kindness
Empathy, the ability to understand and enter into another’s feelings is believed to inhibit aggressive behavior due to the exposure of violence and it also leads to the lack of prosocial behavior.
Eight independent tests measuring the impact of violent video games on prosocial behavior found a significant negative effect, leading to the conclusion that “exposure to violent video games is negatively correlated with helping in the real world.
Cognitive benefits of playing video games
Helps users release stress
Violent video games allow players to release stress and anger in the game, leading to less real world aggression as they serve as a substitute for rough, tumble play and to work through rough emotions.
A peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that children, especially boys, play video games as a means of managing their emotions: “61.9% of boys played to ‘help me relax,’ 47.8% because ‘it helps me forget my problems,’ and 45.4% because ‘it helps me get my anger out.
Improvements in attention and vigilance
Video games may be a huge benefit to enhancing your general awareness such as improving spatial attention, improve ability to track precise objects difficult to locate and it also helps in overcoming dyslexia
Green & Bavelier (2012) found that action video gaming improved performance on the ability to locate, quickly, a target stimulus in a field of distractors–a test that has been found to be a good predictor of driving ability. Action games improved the ability of children and adults to keep track of a set of moving objects that were visually identical to other moving objects in the visual field. One study showed that as few as 12 hours of video game play improved dyslexic children’s scores on tests of reading and phonology. In fact, the improvement was as great or greater than that achieved by training programs that were explicitly designed to treat dyslexia.
Benefits of violent video games socially
Violent video games differentiates between behavior in real world and virtual world
Players know the difference between virtual violence on the context of the game and the appropriate behavior in the real world. Children as they develop in age start to distinguish fantasy from reality, and can tell the difference between video game violence and real-world violence.
Exposure to fantasy is important for kids. Fisher-Price toy company stated: “Pretending is more than play: it’s a major part of a child’s development. Fantasy not only develops creative thinking, it’s also a way for children to deal with situations and problems that concern them.
Violent video games can have a positive effect on prosocial behaviors
These violent video games can result in increasing of the moral sensitivity of the players which increases the kindness and civic engagements of the person in his environment and it can also induce a feeling of guilt that leads to the increase of prosocial behaviors(this feeling is induced when the player is presented by a moral option in these many games or a team oriented one).
In a 2013 peer-reviewed study published in PLOS ONE, “Three experiments failed to find a detrimental effect of violent video games on prosocial behavior positive actions taken to benefit others, despite using contemporary and classic games, delayed and immediate test-phases, and short and long exposures.