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To What Extent Can Violent Video Games Be Said to Explain Violent Behaviour in Teenagers - Essay Example

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To what extent can violent video games be said to explain violent behaviour in teenagers? In the twenty first century video games have become one of the favourite activities of teenagers in the developed world. This is an international phenomenon, affecting millions of young people who have the resources to invest in a computer and a game title…
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To What Extent Can Violent Video Games Be Said to Explain Violent Behaviour in Teenagers
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"To What Extent Can Violent Video Games Be Said to Explain Violent Behaviour in Teenagers"

Download file to see previous pages Many parents and educators allege that this obsession with violent video games that grips so many teenagers is a direct cause of violent behaviour in teenagers. A closer examination of the facts about video games and teenage behaviour reveals, however, that this is a very dubious claim, since it is very difficult to prove any causal link between video game playing and violent behaviour in teenagers. The main argument in favour of a link between violent video games and teenage behaviour is that, like violent films on television and in the cinema, they can affect the development of a young person’s personality in an adverse way. Several well respected American medical associations such as the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Medical Association issued a joint statement in year 2000 saying that there is a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behaviour, but that it is a complex effect (Gentile et al., 2004, p. 19). In the United Kingdom there is a strict classification system in place that is intended to prevent the most violent games from getting into the hands of people under eighteen years of age. This system is not always effective, since the majority of parents do not monitor the titles that their teenage children buy, and they often have very little knowledge about what these games actually contain. Clearly the authorities in most countries are convinced that violent video games can cause harm, and they take steps to minimize this harm. These measures do not, however, amount to real hard evidence that links video games with violent behaviour. Media in general contain vast amounts of material ranging from innocuous cartoons and slapstick violence to sick and criminal content that clearly should not be available to teenagers. Young people are exposed to multiple sources of images and texts on the television, in print material and on the internet every day, and so it is difficult to prove that video games are the root cause of any violent behaviour. Any amount of other sources could influence teenagers, and so it seems unreasonable to pinpoint video games as a cause of violent behaviour. They are perhaps an easy target because they are well regulated, and their popularity can be measured through sales and feedback to the providers. They may also arouse deep suspicion in technophobe adults who cannot keep up with the skills of young people in their care. For all of these reasons, it seems likely that the perceived effect of playing video games is exaggerated, and that their relative novelty in the entertainment landscape has attracted undue attention to the particular contribution that they make. It can be argued that evidence for the influence of video games is to be found in statements of young people themselves. There are many cases where teenagers enter the criminal justice system because they are accused of some act of violence. In such a situation they can state that they were influenced by a certain game title. Examples such as the “Grand Theft Auto” series are often mentioned in this connection, because this kind of first person action game involves street crime and aggression towards fictional characters. Violent youth offenders are often ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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