Effect of violent video games on society

Posted: December 2, 2010 in Key Concepts, Media

If we look at the possible effects of the infamous video game grand Theft Autowe are immediately given a number of obvious potential negative implications of playing this game. While it is highly unrealistic and does at least keep the violence to a basic level, I.e. there are no heads exploding or limbs tearing of, it is at such a level as to provoke feelings of disgust and outrage in the more sensitive of society.
One of the most obvious groups in society to be affected by this game are of course the children. With its overly focused game play on killing it is not unacceptable to believe it could easily affect the minds of young children and cause them to grow up to become sociopath killers. However, as someone who has played numerous releases of the game and have friends who have also played it numerous times I can safely say I do not have homicidal desires to murder innocent people on the sidewalk or steal cars and race them at breakneck speed around the city. Yet the biggest point from me is that I only began to play such games when i was about 14/15 and while still younger than I should have been my cognitive and personality features were already firmly developed and a few short games of GTA would have been unlikely to change my views and beliefs.
If however, we look at the idea that someone as young as 10 or maybe even younger could get hold of and play this game then the outcome could be entirely different. At those sort of ages their development is still ongoing and could potentially be easily warped by seeing such violence that they are in essence controlling and shaping to their whim. Children could potentially believe such actions are acceptable and on a rare occasion these acts could come into the real world. While no crimes have been linked to the GTA franchise a number of horror films have been linked as an indirect cause to a murder or other violent crime. One of the most well known examples of course is the horrific murder of James Bulger. This murder of a toddler bytwo young children has been attributed in some way to the watching of a horror film the night before the gruesome killing. One of the main movies attributed to the actions was Child’s play 3 with the child killing doll Chuckie.
However, it is unethical to blame the film when so many other people have seen it without then going out and murdering innocent bystanders. Because of this we have to look at other ways the film could have affected the children beyond the basic viewing of it.
One explanation could be that watching such a film at an early age could lead to a more dramatic affect upon their personality than if an adult were to watch the film. By seeing it at an early age where their cognitive functions and sense of right and wrong aren’t fully established could lead to a warping of their thought processes that could then lead them to believe their actions were socially acceptable.
Another idea revolves around the theory that they could have been wired to these actins before te film and it may have just triggered the actions, actions that may have been on the verge of happening regardless. And that it was more down to their upbringing than the film itself.
Bringing this back to the idea of Grand Theft Auto yes it is violent, yes it encourages this violence as a means to progress the story but of the millions of players who enjoy the game for its absurdities if anyone is affected it is an extremely small minority and the affect is has will be down more to their psychology and cognitive functions that to any negative effects of the game itself.


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