Violence is strongly present in almost every aspect of our life, but typically parents would try their best to shield their kids from the real violence. What the parents don’t realize is that their children are exposed to violence far more regularly than they think. This is why parents should pause and ask themselves if video game violence counts in the brains of their little ones, if it affects their perception of the world or not. Children’s daily use of video games must be closely monitored and assessed. Is it safe? Does video game violence normalize real-world violence?
|SEE ALSO: Different Kinds of Online Violence|
Do Video Games Encourage Violence?
Children are easily influenced, and their ethical compass is not yet developed. Having that in mind, as a parent, you’re advised to keep an eye on what your child sees and deals with on daily basis. If violence, gun use, murder, or any other sort of hostile actions are made normal by a video game or a cartoon, then that means trouble. Because it will be difficult to argue with your child that some media are hardly ever moral.
Checking the video game your child is making a fuss about will give you an idea what you’re dealing with. You’re the adult; you can be the better judge of what would stick with your kid’s personality and interests. It’s important to think of this as case-specific. What might trigger an evil seed in a child might just be innocent fun for another.
Pay attention to the storyline. Some video games don’t promote only violence but intolerance, racism and obscenity as well. Read the description of the game and make sure the storyline does not go against the set of values you teach your children. Specially at a young age, children would be very open to outside ideas. Be careful of what you introduce to your own home.
Ratings can also be a good indicator of whether or not this video game is suitable for your child. An older child or teen would be able to understand that the game is fictional and it will have less influence on his or her personality. Age ratings are important because they’d help you easily decide if you’d buy the game or not on spot. Some video games would be highly inappropriate for young children and would provide them with a distorted outlook on reality. Video game violence can pass for entertainment if the child fully understands that the game is not in any way real or applicable to reality.
Video Game Violence Research
Many studies and a lot of research have been conducted in this regard. Is video game violence attributable to real violence? If your child spends hours and hours killing animated characters on their playstation, are they more likely to actually harm actual people?
An official statement was release in the United States providing evidence for the negative effects of video game violence. It was stated that video game violence encourages hostility and aggression, and that sexualized violence in video games normalizes hostility against women and rape acceptance. Some research also suggests values that are casually stepped over in video games are a clear sign of the effect it has on the young population. If a game is sexist or racist, a young child can’t help but to pick on what they see as normal and acceptable in the game.
Doing a little reading on the games your children frequently play will offer you a good perspective on what the potential effects might be. It’s essential to understand that older teens are probably already mature enough to differentiate between the rules of the game and the rules of the real world.
Another possible effect of video game violence, noticed by research, is apathy. video game violence makes atrocities like murder, war, accidents, and armory normal and okay to watch. A child with no violent tendencies might lose the natural compassion they would have otherwise had towards such horrible concepts. Watching death and blood and wreckage everyday in a video game, where it is fun and entertaining, makes it less heartbreaking when it actually happens on the news.
A positive observation was made though. A study explained that children who play strategy games, or games with a historical and/or political storyline, are more knowledgeable of the current events and are well-acquainted with the outside world’s affairs. Online games generally, violent or not, would expose the child to all types of people, which can be both a good and a bad thing.
Video Games May Not Cause Violence
Despite the extensive research, recent studies claim that video game violence is innocent of all the alleged crimes. Studies resume to explain that video game violence might only encourage violence in already violent children. This finding suggests that video game violence and real violence do not have a cause-and-effect relationship, that perhaps video games only trigger what is already existent in the child.
Statistics also beg to differ. The crime rate has decreased despite the continuous increase in video game violence and the depiction of violence in the media generally. But why? It could be because children and teenagers are too indulged in the video games world to even get involved in a real violent action. So perhaps video game violence really encourages real feelings of aggression, but it also occupies the child too much for them to act on their hostile feelings.
No one can argue that video game violence is somehow too brutal and too inhumane for young children to consider “play.” And the existence of extreme violence in video games is not likely to end anytime soon. So what do you do? The key is to keep an eye on your child. Learn about their habits and their hobbies and what affects, amuses, or repulses them. Video game violence might not magically transform your child into a drug lord or an assassin, but it may be an indication that your child has too much aggression and hostility that they are using the virtual guns to expel.
But the real concern shouldn’t be if video game violence will bring out the serial killer out of your child; it should be that it will teach them insensitivity. Violence would be so common-place for your child that real wold tragedies won’t bring about the compassion they should. Empathy is important. If our children grow up to care for the world’s pains and devote themselves to make it a better place, then maybe we have a chance. But video game violence might be ripping us off of this hope.