Are Violent Video Games Harmful to Children and Adolescents?

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Playing video games is a common pass-time activity for individuals across all age groups. The gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that is even more worth than the movies and DVDs industry. On average, girls spend less time playing video games as compared to boys and teens are found to do this more than any other age bracket. Games have evolved since their inception in the past century to become more realistic and sophisticated.

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Video games a good pass time as they keep the children out of trouble, but with the revolution in technology, this is more said than done. Some games are connected to the internet and allow the players from all over the world to interact and even compete against each other. This poses a threat to the children playing the games as the environment attracts all kinds of twisted characters that would otherwise have no access to the kids. 

Most of the games that are recommended for the children have educational content, but most of the games emphasize on negative subjects such as murder, sexual exploitation and violence towards women, criminal activities and disregard for authority, drug and substance abuse, racial, gender and sexual stereotypes, and foul language and obscene gestures. Though the games are rated for age appropriateness, most parents, guardians and even the children disregard the warnings. 

Playing age-appropriate games is enjoyable, relaxing, educational and healthy (Granic et al., 2014).  Most video games can be used to train problem-solving skills, and excellent motor skills and coordination, but the excessive playing of the games has its downsides. Children and adolescents have not yet developed discipline and often have a problem limiting the time that they play the video games. They often resist the attempts of the parents to enforce rules that restrict their play time. 

In addition to time wasting video games have several other effects that include the encouraging of aggression and violence in teenagers, underdevelopment of social skills, lack of exercise since most of the video games are played indoors and seated that may result to them becoming overweight. The children have poor sleeping habits due to the addictive character of the video games. Since most of the school-aged children have to play after school, they tend to forego homework and studying and instead play the games, which leads to poor grades in school and less studious habits (Boxer et al., 2015). 

There is no way we can ban the games, we just to have to take steps that limit their effect on the younger generation. The parents are leaving the children to their own devices, but it is the high time that they take deliberate steps to make sure that they are healthy in their interactions with the games. Since most of the parents of the teenagers and the preteens are versed in technology and play video games themselves, it is their responsibility to set an excellent example in the games that they play and the times that they represent. It would also be wise to not set up the gaming equipment in the children’s bedroom as it will be hard to monitor their behavior. 

The responsibility of the younger generation lays on every individual that interacts with them, and it is up to them to make sure that they have healthy interactions with the gaming programs that are out there in the market.

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  1. Boxer, P., Groves, C. L., & Docherty, M. (2015). Video games do indeed influence children and adolescents’ aggression, prosocial behavior, and academic performance: A clearer reading of Ferguson (2015). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(5), 671-673.
  2. Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66.
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