Sunday, December 6, 2009
Video Game Violence Close to Home
I know, I know; You're saying "Not another article claiming video games harvest violence". This article is, and is not that. I am not insinuating that video games make everyone bloodthirsty zombies. However, I would like to show, or disprove, the common myth that video games only affect people with problems to begin with. A person predisposed to violence will of course be affected by video games, as well as violent literature, movies, or other media. No, my focus is on how everyday people are affected by video game exposure, even if limited.
I will not waste time going in-depth with what people already think about violence and video games. Of course people who waste their entire lives playing video games will have more real life issues; and the same goes for people with supposed "violent predispositions" or mental illnesses. How about You? What have studies shown happens to the everyday gamer who only plays on occasion, or for a few hours a day? According to a study supported by the American Psychological Association (APA). The study looked at random individuals; they did not target specific groups, rather they looked at anyone and everyone. What the study found was that playing violent video games correlates with five major behavioral patterns; "increased aggressive behavior, thoughts, and affect; increased physiological arousal; and decreased prosocial (helping) behavior" (apa.org).
Still not convinced. I didn't think so. The study also found that, although people identified as "high risk" were more susceptible to violence, non-aggressive individuals were shown to be more aggressive after playing violent video games. The aggression comes out in various forms such as delinquency, violent criminal behaviors, and escalating aggression.
The research group admits that there are holes and unanswered questions that can only be answered with prolonged research. My argument is that we don't all become serial killers and try to reenact what we play, but that we are affected nonetheless is more subtle ways, yet problematic ways.