Video Games and Children
Video Games and Children
According to Saleem, Anderson & Gentile (2012), one of the major developments in mass media for the past two and a half decades is the advent and rapid growth of the video game industry. Back in the earlier years, the console games are those which can be found in arcade which offer video games that have become extensively popular, especially to the younger population. Over the years, these video games have evolved with the introduction of video games to the home market, which added more popularity to the public. Due to the overwhelming response and widespread popularity of these video games, many parents, social scientists, and politicians weighed the identified effects of video games among children. Aside from these, there are also violent content and their harmful effects that video grams may cause among the children players.
The rising popularity of video games has made it an issue that carries with it a global coverage. Adachi & Willoughby (2011) stated that the effect of violent video games on aggression has been identified as the behavior that can cause harm to other people. The recent studies revealed about eight (8%) percent of the children in the U.S. who are between the ages of 8 to 14 years old who play video games during their leisure time. According to Adachi & Willoughby (2011), the average amount time spent in playing video games for one week or seven days is 13.2 hours based on the average frequency of three to four times in seven days or one week. The children who play these games have developed anti-social behavior due to the violent elements of these video games (Tear & Nielsen, 2013).
This topic was chosen since many children have been excessively exposed to violent video games which caused them to develop aggressive behavior. The government should work for the censorship of violent video games to prevent the exposure of children to offensive and violent images shown in these games. Another issue of concern is for the strict parental supervision and self-regulation to be practiced at home to prevent children from developing aggressive behaviors.
The hypothesis: Video games have negative influence on children since it cause them to develop aggressive behaviors, such as getting into fights and delinquency.
The sub-questions are:
- What are the definition of video game and children, and the history of the relationship between video games and children?
- Do video games have social, economic, psychological and physiological effect on children?
- What are the ways that will help prevent the negative the influence or impact of those video games on children?
The chosen topic for this study is the negative effect of video games among children. Recent studies revealed that there are causal mechanisms that influenced the children’s development of helpful and hurtful behaviors on short and long terms due to the pro-social video content of the games (Saleem et al, 2012). It was also revealed that these effects have been caused by the changes in cognitive beliefs of the children. There are also social-cognitive learning theories used in the study by using input variables such as personal and situational encounters that may have affected the person’s internal states such as cognition and arousal, which influence the learning and behavioral responses of these children (Saleem, et al., 2012).
In fact, it was revealed in the study of Lam, Cheng & Liu (2013) that the exposure to violent online games of young children and students had caused the likelihood of their involvement in cyber bullying. According to Lam, et al. (2013), this early exposure to violent online games significantly influenced them to become perpetrator and victim of cyber bullying. Therefore, it shall be the duty of the parents to prevent their children from playing violent online video games at home due to the harmful effects that the games may cause to them after such exposures.
Objective of this Study:
The objective of this study is to show how the violent video games can directly influence the antisocial outcomes among children in the form of aggressiveness such as bullying. The researcher will present theories that might interact with the video games and the presence of violent stimuli which produced the aggression-related thoughts
According to Ivory & Kaestle (2013) there are research study which have shown that the children’s physical aggression may have been caused by playing video game. However, there was little information available that will show empirical studies were conducted to prove that children develop extreme verbal aggression after being exposed to profanity of video games.
Anderson & Bushman (2002) explained that there are several types of aggression which involve physical aggression, verbal aggression, and relational aggression. To be able to understand the terms, it is best to define the scope of physical aggression. This refers to any action tending to cause a direct physical harm to other people by employing direct physical means. Verbal aggression refers to the harm or danger which can be inflicted to others by using verbal methods and means. Relational aggression is the damage that may affect friendships and relationships with other people (Ivory & Kaestle, 2013). For this study, the word profanity is defined as an act of verbal aggression.
The main question that must be answered is whether video games carry a negative impact or effect on children?”
It is essential to consider the short-term effects of video games and other forms of media exposure among children to be able to guide them in their understanding of the well-encoded scripts, schemas, and beliefs based on the video game (Saleem, et al, 2012).The cognitive structures of these children are still not as well-grounded and established like in adults. Therefore, the main focus of the present study is to examine the effects of pro-social, neutral, and violent video games on the hurtful behaviors among children by using a sample study of participants who are between the ages of eight to fourteen (8–14) years old.
The most ample and wide-ranging theory between the correlation of violent video games and aggression is the General Aggression Model or GAM, which was developed and created by Anderson and Bushman’s in 2002. Adachi & Willoughby (2011, p.259) explained that this study of the GAM by Anderson and Bushman had previously adapted the established theories of aggression of the past.
For this specific kind of mode, it shows the repeated or recurring relationship that exists between a person and the environment he or she lives in. For such study, there are several variables that will be used such as the exposure to media-violence or real-world of children when they play video games and the development of the trait of hostility. Adachi & Willoughby (2011, p.260) argued that this particular model had shown that the violent video games become the situational variable that heightens the tendency of aggressive cognition, affect, and arousal, leading to the enhanced aggressive behavior among children. Such explanation was echoed by Ivory & Kaestle (2013, p.226) by stating that such model called GAM had presented the effect of human aggression among children by showing the outcome of a process of personal traits and situational ‘‘input’’ factors which can influence the decision and behavior of children.
Means and Methods
The participants for this study were recruited through advertisement in the local paper and by calling the parents of children who may be interested to join the study, and had previously participated from past studies. The participants were children aged 9 to 14, where there were 104 males and 87 females (Saleem, et al., 2013). After they completed the study, each of the participants had been given 20 dollars.
These participants were given a 9-item physical aggression subscale of the aggression the questionnaire that had to be answered in order to conduct an experimental manipulation to make an assessment of the children’s trait aggression (Saleem, et al., 2012). The aggression questionnaire has been successfully used to assess trait aggression with a range of age groups including elementary school children. The participants rated their agreement with statements on a 5-point scale (1 =“Extremely uncharacteristic of me,” 5 = “Extremely characteristic of me”), alpha = .81 (Saleem, et al., 2012).
For the video games that will be used, the researcher used the codes Ty2, (n = 31), for Crash Twin sanity, (n = 32) and two neutral (Pure Pinball, n = 30, Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, n = 30). One E-10 game was used for the pro-social category (Chibi Robo, n =671). Ty2 and Crash Twin are adventure games that are action-packed in various stages, with the end-goal of defeating the enemies and bosses while overcoming any obstacles on the way (Saleem, et al., 2012). As part of the methods to collect and gather data, the participants, along with the respective parent, were made to choose eleven (11) puzzles that their “partner” will attempt to complete based on a set of ten easy, ten medium, and ten hard puzzles that were given to them by the facilitators of the game. The participants were informed that their partner has a chance of winning a $10 gift certificate after the completion of at least ten of the puzzles within a timeframe of ten (10) minutes. The participants stated in the questionnaire whether they think “The game involved helping other people” or another statement which indicated that “The game was violent” (Saleem, et al., 2012, p. 285).
After the experiment, the children were asked to answer the questionnaire on their gaming habits with regard to the frequency of gaming, familiarity with the game used in the study, and favorite video games (Polman, de Castro & van Aken, 2008, p.259). The frequency of gaming was measured by using a 5-point scale that ranged from (1) which is equivalent to almost never to (5), which means once or more per day, and familiarity with the game with a 3-point scale which ranged from (1) almost never to (3) which is equivalent to often. The question on the favorite video game was also measured by using an open-ended question (Polman, et al., 2008).
The main prediction in the study is that playing a pro-social game has the tendency to increase the helpful and decrease the hurtful behavior among children, in relation to violent video games that played (Saleem, et al., 2012). The empirical studies revealed that the participants who were exposed to violent game conditions developed greater aggression, in comparison to the participants who were not exposed to non-violent condition. Such finding was collected from both the male and female children participants. After the random assignment of the participants to play one of the violent or nonviolent video games, the researcher used the GAM to measure the aggression. According to Adachi & Willoughby (2011, p.273), the results had revealed that the violent video games were risk factors for aggressive behavior due to the violent content of the games. Therefore, the aggressive behavior of children is developed based on the competitiveness of the video game which increases the probability of increasing such behavior among children in a short term (Adachi & Willoughby, 2011).
According to Ivory & Kaestle (2013), it is also essential to understand the effects of profanity when children engage in playing video games due to the internal psychological states affected by the GAM. It gives a deeper understanding on the effects of aggression that may influence individuals. Along with this is the assessment of the physical violence in video games shown by the aggressive thoughts among children that were enhanced by playing the games (Adachi & Willoughby, 2011).
It was revealed that video games trigger the aggressive behavior among children since the violent video game players are directly rewarded for their acts of aggression for the games being played for they are given extra life, a musical interlude, or a high score (Polman, et al., 2008, p.257). As a result, it reinforces the effects of aggression in violent video games, which may in effect instigate the use of aggression in the real life of the player.
The study on the effects of violent video games on children also included on important factors such as action, pauses, difficulty, entertainment, and frustration (Polman, et al., 2008). However, such factors have the tendency to influence the level of enjoyment, involvement, and activity of the gamers.
In case of children, the participant revealed that they experience highly enjoyable behaviors when they engage in violent games, in comparison to a dull nonviolent game. The results show that the levels of activity required in the violent game itself can also lead to higher levels of aggression. Such problem may be overcome by complementing the violent and non-violent video game on these important dimensions.
It was also shown based on the experimental research that the relationship that exists between violent video games and aggressive behavior is characterized by the absence of peer evaluations of aggression (Polman, et al., 2008, p.257). Hence, the high levels of exposure and involvement
of aggressive behavior among children can be determined not only by their parents and teachers, but also the other peers who are the same age as the players. However, it is believed that the parents and teachers are considered as better judges of aggressive behavior than since the peers since they will be able to determine war play or rough and tumble play among children, and the aggressive behavior on the other (Polman, et al., 2008, p.257).
Many of the children spent so much time playing video games or watching television. In fact, the study shows that children spend an average of 9 hours per week just by playing video games (Polman, et al., 2008, p.257). Thus, the amount of time spent by children on these new media is about ten times greater than the time they spend for reading during their leisure time. The violent nature of the video games to which children are exposed is has become a vital concern of the public. In fact, studies indeed show that children are exposed to a substantial amount of violence found in video games. Such theory is based on the ground that violent video games can cause increased levels of aggression since the person playing a video game virtually becomes the character of the video game (Polman, et al., 2008).
It can be concluded that the gender difference in the relationship between game condition and aggression is caused by the differences in children’s daily activities. In general, the boys who participated in this study, and played a lot of violent video games in real life, showed aggressive behavior after playing a violent video game. As opposed to the girls who did not play such video games did not behave aggressively after playing the assigned violent video game (Polman, et al., 2008). Therefore, it can be concluded that the effect is specific for boys since the active violent condition had activated the pre-existing violence scheme which they had previously acquired due to the frequent game playing. The aggressive behavior of these children is activated as they repetitively play violent video games. Therefore, it can be concluded that playing a game with violent content may activate the pre-existing aggressive behavioral tendencies among children (Polman, et al., 2008). In fact, the aggressive thoughts and hostile expectations have been found among those children who play violent video games since they experience a heightened sense of being part of the action that can affect the players’ thoughts, feelings, physiological arousal and subsequent behavior (Hollingdale & Greitemeyer, 2014).
Although the findings of this study can still be the subject of social debate on the regulation of availability and supervision of violent video games, it was clearly shown that the aggressive behavior among children may have caused by the effects of violent video games, which had been supported by empirical evidence. In fact, the study revealed that the boys who played violent video games behaved more aggressively later that day than the boys who only watched violent video games (Polman, et al., 2008, p.263).
However, for future research studies, it is recommended that there be a larger sample size of participants and that it can include a passive non-violent game condition among children. Furthermore, the future studies must be able to investigate additional children and the environmental characteristics which can moderate the effect of violent video game on the development of aggressive behavior. At the same time, there must be future experimental studies that will explain why such violent video games can instigate the aggression among the children participants (Polman, et al., 2008, p.263).
According to Ford (2013) based on the number of peer-reviewed articles, and reports from social scientists and medical associations, there is clear showing that the aggressive thoughts and antisocial behavior of minors can be caused by playing violent video games. As part of the recommendation, there should be censorship of video games to prevent the children to access rental of violent video games (Prenkert, 2008).
The regulation of these violent video games can minimize the negative effects children players by preventing the development of aggressive behavior. The reason behind the censorship of video games is to prevent the exposure of children to offensive and violent content of video games (O’Holleran, 2010, p.609). Another recommendation is to mandate the strict supervision of the parents of these children playing video game and such self-regulation should be practiced inside their homes.
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