James Parise Video Game Violence Video games have always been a popular form of entertainment, but now they are in the rooms of more Americans than ever. As technology moves forward, so does the graphic violent nature of the video games. This violence is tolerable for people who are of age, but it actually causes damage to the nation's youth. Personally, I wasn't even aware of the issue. Then when I actually heard about it, I was more than just skeptical. I truthfully did not have one bit of faith in the idea that video games were harmful to children. My views swayed as research backed up the argument. Without a doubt someone in your dorm, possibly yourself, plays video games or occasionally watches people play them. They are around you in the media and you hear them from word of mouth. Besides completing research on the debate of violent video games, I have also enjoyed playing them since I was young. I have personal opinions as well as facts from both sides of the argument and I feel capable of explaining why our country should crack down on this issue. The issue is America should limit, if not withdraw, violent video games from the hands of young children to prevent aggressiveness and addiction. The problem regarding violent video games, is not that they exist. To be honest, I love a little Call of Duty now and then, but unfortunately children under the age of 10 are getting their hands on games that require ID to purchase due to their graphic nature. Some children seem willing to give an arm and a leg to get these games. These games, along with prolonged game play, can actually impact a child's mind and cause damage in certain aspects. A study was done at Indiana University School of Medicine to find hidden effects of violent video game play. Brain scans of children who played a violent video games were documented and analyzed. These researchers concluded that the children displayed an increase in emotional arousal and a decreases in self control, emotion, and inhibition. Other studies yield results that show heart rates, anxiety levels, and stress levels increase when people of any age group play excessively violent video games. In extreme cases, excessive violent game play can lead to lethal results. Jerald Block, a researcher and psychiatrist in Portland was featured in The New York Times. He studied the Columbine Shooters and researched their game play. The two shooters had used computer shooting games to vent out their anger, but played hours, almost days on end. According to Block, They “relied on the virtual world of computer games to express their rage and to spend time, and cutting them off in 1998 sent them into crisis.” I am not claiming that video games are responsible for the shooting. The point I'm striving to make is that it is clear that certain children cling to these games as a way of life. If played enough, these games can more or less control their life. Instead of socializing with friends or working a job, they are constantly indulging in this unneeded violence. Treatment for individuals who may be reaching an addiction, obsession, or a problem is obviously needed. Some believe there is no problem at all, but as medical studies are showing facts, numbers, and statistics, people are developing forms of treatment and prevention. There are a couple solutions to preventing aggression from video games and cutting off the game addiction. Restriction and counseling. They may sound sarcastic or humorous if heard out of context. Let me explain what these solutions are and why they need to be utilized. Game Spot Magazine did a story on the reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program. This program consists of a 45-day intensive care program for people who are addicted to video games. It comes with a admission fee of $14,500. ReStart gives patients psychotherapy, group help, education, and fitness plans. According to a New York Times article, cases are being brought into court to try to create laws that would punish those who sell mature video games to minors. Beyond problem and solution lies practicality. I will admit it is completely impossible to regulate a law 100% effectively. Laws are enforced to prevent high school students from getting tobacco and new college students from obtaining alcohol, but as we know it isn't exactly effective. The point is that increasing restriction cannot hurt the cause though, it can only help. It is also impossible to treat those who won't seek help. But steps are mandatory to limit or withdraw this violence from the youth. Even if implementation of those two solutions grew slightly, our nation and children would benefit. “According to the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University, about 8.5 percent of 8-to-18- year-old gamers can be considered pathologically addicted, and nearly one quarter of young people— more males than females—admit they've felt addicted.” says Jennifer Wagner from U.S. News. Even if only a few people are saved by being treated, or prevented from obtaining violent games, this would be a positive result, worth this debate. "It's a little bit more difficult to show somebody they're in trouble. Nobody's ever been put in jail for being under the influence of a game." says Keith Bakker, director of Smith & Jones Addiction Consultants. Action needs to be taken on this issue to help prevent children from becoming addicted or corrupted by violence. As I said earlier, the violence has a very low chance of affecting mature adults, but children are at risk. I am not claiming that you, I, or any other young adult will be corrupted from occasional play. I am just making it clear that excessive amounts of play is proven to be unhealthy to individuals of almost any age, and it is damaging to the brains of children (if the games are violent). This issue doesn't apply to the average children, but the ones who are robotic while playing for extended periods. If hundreds of laws exist to protect children, why shouldn't our country enforce another one to cover our weak spot? America should limit, if not withdraw, violent video games from the hands of young children to prevent aggressiveness and addiction.
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