Violent video games: the poor effects on America’s youth


Breanna Beck, Staff Reporter

 How many video game deaths has an American youth seen by the age of 18? The numbers exceed 100,000 and people are finally researching the effects of violent video games. According to Psychology Today, “Anyone who has ever felt excited, tense, or frustrated while playing a video game has been ‘affected’ by them.” With more technology being introduced to the world, more violent video games are being introduced to youth. While this doesn’t automatically lead to real killings, it can lead to aggression.

  When someone is exposed to certain aspects repeatedly, they are influenced by that idea. For instance, if a person is around their best friend for multiple hours a day, several days a week, then that person will pick up characteristics of their best friend. If the best friend always says ‘awesome’ than the person will start saying ‘awesome’ too. It is a cycle of influence and adapting to what we, as humans, are around.

 National Center for Biotechnology Institution says “People efficiently extract a great deal of information from the nonverbal behaviors of others and then use this information to form impressions of the world around them… [They] appear to extract a great deal of information from others’ nonverbal behavior and this information influences beliefs and behavior.” This same principle can be applied to violent video games.

 On average, today’s youth spend 13 hours a week on video games. This can cause dramatic differences in a child’s mental development. The Director of the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State University wrote:”Playing a violent video game isn’t going to take a healthy kid who has few other risk factors and turn him into a school shooter, but it is a risk factor that does drive the odds for aggression up significantly.” With such an exposure to technology, and much of it being violent, is it not going to affect the mindset of the youth playing the video game?

 “Researchers have also continued to find that violent video game use is associated with decreases in socially desirable behavior such as prosocial behavior, empathy, and moral engagement”  as stated by American Psychological Association. Violent video games are pushing youth away from the healthy norms in society. Youth spend an excessive amount of time losing essential skills and gaining negative/violent skills. And while it may not be an immediate change in attitude, the overall effect builds up over time.

 One firm supporter of negative video game effects stated “Playing video games could be compared to smoking cigarettes. A single cigarette won’t cause lung cancer, but smoking over weeks or months or years greatly increases the risk. In the same way, repeated exposure to violent video games may have a cumulative effect on aggression.”

 In general, excessive amounts of video games are detrimental. The numbers of these games being played is climbing in America and the effects are being noticed. Video games lead to aggression which can ultimately lead to violence.