Video Game Causes Behavioral Problems Psychology Essay


Firstly, one of the major concerns of video games is that they increase the nature of violence among the youth. The Harvard medical school or the Journal of adolescent health, as well as the British medical journal have concluded that there is a huge link between video game and violence. Researchers have found out that there is a certain pattern between video game and the behavioral problems associated with the video games, and Television shows. Scholars and researchers have said over and over again that Video games make kids more violent each time they play the game. A research was done which was brain scanning of children who played violent games like “Call of duty” the study showed that the answer was yes. Video games do make kids more violent. Researchers at the University of Indiana said that brain scans of kids who played a violent video game in comparison to kids who played no games showed a negative increase in the emotion of those children who played the game. According to author Vince Mathews, parents should look more closely at the types of games their children are playing. He said “I think parents should be aware of the relationship between violent video-game playing and brain function.”

Video games cause addiction which leads to children spending considerable time playing games resulting in neglect of more important activities. Perhaps excess of anything is bad and video games are no exception. In his article Video Games Addiction, Media literacy specialist, Dr. Charles Ungerleider states that “if a youngster becomes addicted to video games it can be a problem”. He explains that wanting to improve their gaming skills is not a problem in itself, but it becomes a problem if video games are “taking a youngster away too much from other activities. Then the parent has to intervene and limit the amount of time the youngster spends with the video game.” According to Mary Schlimme in a 2002 article titled: Do We Need a Video Gamers Anonymous? “Video game addicts are often described by clinicians in the field as displaying many symptoms characteristic of other addictions.” According to her article, “Addiction includes such behavior as failure to stop playing games, difficulties in work or school, telling lies to loved ones, decreased attention to personal hygiene, decreased attention to family and friends, and disturbances in the sleep cycle.” Schlimme quotes Dr Orzack that many game addicts have struggled with finding their place in society and as a result play video games in order to become part of a crowd. This in turn influences the game players to show off their achievements in front of their associate group. Excessive video game playing may not only cause behavioral and social changes in a person, but it may also result in neurological changes.

Fourth paragraph third argument

Even if video games and videos do not directly create killers and murderers out of the young people they may tend to contribute towards insensitivity and indifference towards violence. This is worrying because it may change the profile of the society in the longer run. In an article published in the Time Magazine on 10th May 1999 author and editors Joshua Quittner, Maryanne Buechner and Jay Ehrlich say “The question isn’t whether games make children kill, because it isn’t that simple. The concerns are subtler yet no less worrisome. Do graphically violent games desensitize children to violence? Do such games teach kids to take pleasure in the suffering and death of others?” Nicholas Carnagey, an Iowa State psychology instructor and research assistant, and ISU Distinguished Professor of Psychology Craig Anderson and Brad Bushman wrote published an article “The Effects of Video Game Violence on Physiological Desensitization to Real-Life Violence” in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. In this paper, the authors define desensitization to violence as “a reduction in emotion-related physiological reactivity to real violence.” Their latest study tested 257 college students (124 men and 133 women) individually. “The results demonstrate that playing violent video games, even for just 20 minutes, can cause people to become less physiologically aroused by real violence.” According to the article “It appears that individuals who play violent video games habituate or ‘get used to’ all the violence and eventually become physiologically numb to it.”

Fifth paragraph Transition Paragraph

Supporter of the video games do not seem to take the issues seriously. Despite this overwhelming evidence that video game causes violence and behavior problems in many developing children and in adolescents there are supportes who believe that there are advantages to video games in today’s society. Key finding states in a research titled Internet Fantasy Violence: A Test of Aggression in an Online Games carried out in 2005 by Williams, D. & Skoric, M states “there was no effect on levels of aggressiveness or in belief and behaviors of the gamers who were engaged in a violent massive multiplayer online role-playing game.” Cheryl K. Olson, professor of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School’s Center for Mental Health and Media, in her 2004 article in the journal Academic Psychiatry “Media Violence Research and Youth Violence Data: Why Do TheyConflict?” examines statements about the relation between violent video games and real-life violence. First, Dr. Olson notes that “…there is no evidence that targeted violence has increased in America’s schools. While such attacks have occurred in the past, they were and are extremely rare events.” She goes on to write that, “There’s no indication that violence rose in lockstep with the spread of violent games.” In a 2002 presentation that updated their earlier comprehensive review of the literature on games and violence, Dr. Van Eeenwyk from the Washington State Department of Health presented information indicating that “after controlling for psychosocial factors, association between aggression and playing video games was not statistically significant.” This review was based on available objective research and was conducted by the State of Washington at the request of the state legislature. MIT professor Hennery Jenkins points out, “90 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls play video games. The overwhelming majority of kids who play do NOT commit antisocial acts.” And, “… the strongest risk factor for school shootings centered on mental stability and quality of home life, not media exposure.” Supporters of video games say that Professor Jenkins is trying to say is it’s not the video games that cause the violence, it’s completely different factors. Critics claim that video games are addictive has also been refuted by some supporters of the video games. In a response to a proposal in 2007 to designate video game addiction as a mental disorder akin to alcoholism, doctors and supporters of video games opposed the proposal. “There is nothing here to suggest that this is a complex physiological disease state akin to alcoholism or other substance abuse disorders, and it doesn’t get to have the word addiction attached to it,” said Dr. Stuart Gitlow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. The supporters of video games rgue that video game, computer and television provide education to children, that it provides help with their studies as well as educational institutions are using video games as one of the material for teaching. According to child experts and psychologists Video games give the children’s brain a real workout.  In many video games, the skills required to win involve abstract and high level thinking.  These skills are not even taught at school.  Some of the mental skills trained by video games include: Following instructions and Hand-eye coordination Research also suggests that people can learn i visual attention skills from video games.  There have been even studies with adults showing that experience with video games is related to better surgical skills. Some supporters of video games say that video games teach children to plan and build their strategic thinking. children learn while playing video games. Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good For You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter, calls this “telescoping.” Gamers must deal with immediate problems while keeping their long-term goals on their horizon.

Sixth paragraph Refutation of opponent’s counter- argument

While there are researchers and supporters who claim that the video games do not have an effect on the increase in aggression and violence in the behavior of the gamers, yet those researches and studies are not based on modern scientific lines. Those studies are not as comprehensive and as scientific as those carried out by Craig Anderson, David Grossman or others. The supporters’ studies are generalized and are based more on hypothetical basis rather than actual scientific methodology. As proved by the various researches quoted above, their findings are flawed.

Seventh paragraph Refutation of opponent’s counter- argument

Supporters of the video games say that video games are healthy and educational. They claim Video games give the children’s brain a real workout.  In many video games, the skills required to win involve abstract and high level thinking. However, the fact is that addiction to video games causes not only health and other problems, including social ones, but also results in poor school results and grades, lack of concentration to academics and class activities. The critics have always disputed this claim about video games contributing to health and education. Dr. Louis Kraus of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and a psychiatrist at Rush University Medical Center, has stated “The more time kids spend on video games, the less time they will have socializing, the less time they will have with their families, the less time they will have exercising.” “They can make up academic deficits, but they can’t make up the social ones,” he said. Researcher Douglas Gentile, from Iowa State University, found that 8.5 percent of 1,178 youths studied are addicted to video games, using the same standards for addiction used for pathological gamblers. “As a result of this, one in ten youths, may be suffering from family, social, school or psychological damage.” In the case of video game addiction, the youth studied were found to have attention deficits in school, resulting in lower grades and even health problems. “Video game addiction may be a sign of an underlying problem, such as depression.” says Doug Gentile’s report.

Final paragraph Conclusion. Based on the above research it is clearly evident that violent video games contribute to the aggressive and violent behavior and addiction to video games. However, considering some of the advantages of the video games, their use must not be prohibited. Parents and guardians should do the following to reduce the effect of violence.

Monitor video game play the same way one needs to monitor television and other media.

Parents are responsible to be kind, loving but at the same time attentive and firm to properly discipline their wards. An aggressive child is more a product of dysfunctional parenting than anything else, including violent games and TV. 

To avoid possibilities of addiction, parents should attempt to provide a variety of entertainment to their children. It would be a good idea to make sure that children read quality books, involve themselves in sports and interact with other children and their friends.




Approximately 250 words