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Effects of Video Games on the Behavior of Young Children
In retrospect, technology seems to have a dark shadow behind its benefits. Effects of computer games on the behavior of children is one of the most debated topics in psychology studies because of the robust growth in video game industry in the last few years. A background study on the growth of the video industry shows that it is one of the fastest growing industries in the entertainment industry with the video games of all genres becoming the most popular form of media. The children are one of the most players in the industry and as a result, its effect on children cannot be ignored (Anderson et al., 2004). Contrary to the public perception, the video game industry is catching speed as research shows that over 45 million households in the United States possess a video game console (National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, 2006). It is also debatable that young children are gaining access to violent video gamers in the United States and other countries across the globe. As a result, the young people are more susceptible to the negative effects of video games compared to the older adults (above 34 years of age). The effects of the video games among children have, therefore, attracted concerns among the parents, medical professionals, educators, society, and policy makers (Bushman & Anderson, 2001). Research shows that school shooting and youth violence are on the rise in the United States attributed to the growth of video games hence attracting public concerns in the country. For instance, the growth of several violent games such as brutality and gore, two games well known for their use of guns, and doom and resident evil are popular violent video games in the United States and their increasing violent content has been linked with the school shootings and youth violence in the country (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009). Therefore, this report explores the link between video games and children’s behavior. The methodology used in this report is the analysis of both primary and secondary literature that focuses on the correlation between violent video games and acts of aggression in the society such as violent crimes. Relevant books and journals have been utilized with intensive research and debates on the effects of video games on the behavior of children
In the last few years, there has been a considerable literature on the effect of video games on the behavior of children but theoretical integration has being minimal. The aggression model is one of the commonly explained theories linking the growth of video games in the US with the aggression behavior witnessed in majority of the young children in the United States and in the UK. The aggression model is an integrative social cognitive model analyzing all human aggressions and their attributing factors. The theory argues that violent video games increase aggressive behaviors in children, youth, and the adults in the society (Bushman & Anderson, 2002). The theory goes further to argue that exposure to violent video content increases aggression related thoughts and feelings and physiological arousal, and this has an impact on violent behaviors in the society. It is also argued that playing video games inhibits prosocial behavior in the society and this is the reason why most of the children who watch the violent video games have unique characters in the society expressed in the form of violence and conflicts in the society. An indepth review of literature, therefore, shows that playing video games makes one more aggressive, becomes meaner, are less likely to behave prosocialy, develop an appetite to watch more violent games, are less sympathetic to victims of violence (they are desensitized to violence), and belief the world is a scarier place (Markey & Charlotte, 2010).
Effects of Video Games on the Behavior of Young Children
A review of literature on the impact of video games on children shows that they are a significant amusement of children. Most children develop wired behaviors for instance, escaping from school and other social activities with peers and family members so as to play video games. Most of the children find these violent video games enjoyable to play and they are ready to offer opportunities so as to learn cognitive skills and promote selfconfidence when playing them (Dill & Dill, 1998). An example is the popular video game, blood and gores which most of the children in the US find enjoyable because they can allow the players to play active killer roles. Video games are seen by most of the children as real because of the significant increase in computer processing speed thus resulting into graphic realism among children and they are likely to internalize them in their daily activities because it appears real to them (Anderson & Bushman, 2001).
Violent video games have resulted into increase in violent crime rates in the United States. Research shows that in the early 1960s crime rates were minimal but with the growth of the video game industry in the country, violent crime rates among children has being on the rise (National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, 2006). Despite critics that violent crime rate are directly linked with gun laws, incarceration rates, poverty rate, and drug use in the United States, research and theory have proven that the rate of violent crimes among children is gaining momentum in the country because of the growth of the video game industry in the country. The increase in violent crime rate in the country started between 1960s and 1990 as a result of the detrimental effects of playing violent video games. Research shows that on average, America children aged between 8 to 18 years play eight hours of video games in a week. This is an increase of 400 percent since 1960s when the video games started (Ferguson, 2010).
Violent video games result into attention deficits among children susceptible to these video games. Majority of the children in the United States spend considerable amount of time playing video games and this results into attention deficits such as hyperactivity and impulsivity which have an impact on their academic performance. Research has shown that majority of the adolescents who played video games were nearly three times more prone to the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or attention deficit disorder. Majority of students in elementary schools were diagnosed with the attention deficit disorder because of the increasing amount of time children spent playing video games. Teacher assessments also has proven that performance of the students who spent a considerable amount of time playing video games have poor performance because of lack of attention to instructions in class (National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, 2006).
Video game addiction is another harmful effect associated with violent video games played by children. Too much domination of world video game destabilizes the way children function even when they grow up. This addiction has attracted growing concerns among psychologists and psychiatrists because majority of children who see the psychiatrists suffer from mental disorders associated with video game playing (Anderson, 2010). Research shows that majority of the children in United States play video games at a pathological level with research showing that approximately 11.9 percent of children in Europe play video games, 10.3 percent in China, and 8.7 percent in Singapore. The same research also shows that 15.5 percent of children aged between 8 to 12 years are at a higher risk of playing these video games. As the number continue to increase because of the increase in disposable income in most of the households in the world, the number of children playing violent video games is also expected to increase and this has an impact on their life in future (Chiu, Lee & Huang, 2004).
As video game addiction increases among students, their performance in school also deteriorates because majority of the children spend along time playing the video games. This can be explained by the simple displacement of time whereby school time is consumed by the time children spend playing the video games. This analysis is based on a research conducted among 1491 children between 8 to 19 years with the findings showing that these children spend 30 percent and 43 percent less time in doing homework and reading. The same research also shows that majority of the children who perform poorly in school spent more time playing video games. This is because of their level of addiction hence finding it hard to concentrate in reading or even doing assignments (National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, 2006).