In this day and age, technology most certainly has become an integral part of our life. Modern day technology has undoubtedly made our daily lives much more efficient while bringing us more convenience and flexibility along the way. The evolution of technology has also changed the way we socialize, entertain ourselves, and now quite possibly the way we behave. The existence of video games began approximately 65 years ago. What began as a simple “Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device” has now transformed itself into modern day video game platforms. These platforms consist of using a personal computer, video game consoles, arcade games, and smartphones as a fundamental requirement to run the video game software. Video games along with modern day technology have now joined forces to create high definition video with high end graphics to deliver a realistic virtual gaming experience. The ultimate gaming experience however, comes with consequence and is now finding itself in the midst of a controversial issue.
The controversial issue suggests that video games are encouraging violent behaviours amongst youth. Video game violence was a subject heavily debated in the past. The primary concern was whether such exposure poses significant risk factors for aggressive and violent behaviours. On the contrary side many believed that the competitiveness in games caused such behaviours, not the game itself. Results back then were inconclusive, but more or less, violence in video games became more acceptable. However, improvements to modern day technology and the development of new generation video games reinvigorated the debate. Two features of video games fuel renewed interest by researchers, public policy makers, and the general public. The active role required by playing video games is a double-edged sword. Firstly, for the positive side, educational video games are excellent teaching tools for motivational and learning process reasons. But, it also may make violent video games even more hazardous than violent television or cinema.
Besides, a new generation of ultraviolent video games beginning in the early 1990s and continuing to the present resulted in lots of children and youths actively participating in entertainment violence that went way beyond anything available to them on television or in movies. Recent video games reward players for killing innocent bystanders, police, and prostitutes, using a wide range of weapons including guns, knives, flame throwers, swords, baseball bats, cars, hands, and feet. Just like every other controversial topic in the world, this one also has two sides to it. One side wants to prove that, playing these games can help people in real life; it can be a way of releasing their anger out without actually hurting anyone and anything. On the other side, there are millions of people who think that the number one reason of adolescent violence is connected to video games in one way or another. They believe that kids would not be able to even watch it let alone play it, because of the observational learning.
In this essay, I will use one scholar and three popular sources to show that video games will encourage the violent behavior in youth. Then, I will use one scholar and four popular sources to state that there are other factors cause the violent behavior in youth, but not the video games. According to Tiffany Kaiser of Daily Tech “Those who normally didn’t play violent video games before the study, had decreased brain response to violent photos.”(Kaiser) There may be an explanation as to why violent games tend to make players more aggressive. Researchers at the University of Missouri Psychology department have found that the brain becomes less responsive to violence after any short or long time exposure to violent material. The researchers gathered 70 young adult volunteers who were randomly assigned to play violent and nonviolent video games for 25 minutes. After their video game session the volunteers were asked to view a set of photos while the volunteers’ brain responses were measured.
The final part of the study set up matches between volunteers and allowed each player to choose a noise level to blast the opponent. The noise level determined the player’s amount of aggression. The results showed that players who participated in violent video games were indeed more aggressive than their counterpart. (Kaiser) Mike Ferlazzo of Futurity News also writes that “exposure to violent video games makes kids more aggressive, less caring – regardless of their age, sex, or culture.”(Ferlazzo) A research team used “meta-analytic procedures” a statistical method to analyze and combine results from related literature to link the effects of violent video games to the behaviours, thoughts and feelings of the individual. Finally after analyzing 130 reports that included over 130,000 participants worldwide, their conclusion was that playing violent video games does indeed increase aggression. The increased level of aggression although is not very serious but it should still be monitored by parents. (Ferlazzo) Stephanie Darrall of DailyMail writes that according to researchers, “violent video games can alter the brain in just one week and make players more aggressive”. (Darrall)
The study has found that key areas of the brain suffer reduced activity that leaves it physically altered and links it to anti-social behaviour. Scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine did a test on a group of 22 men and performed MRI scans on them. Half of the group was then asked to play at least 10 hours of violent video games a week, while the other half played none. The researchers found that the effects on the brain were discovered and said that the subjects experience alterations to their brain. Results were concerning but they also found that when gamers stopped playing, their brains returned to normal. (Darall) Finally from the Scholars point of view they also agree that the “effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence”. What this means is individuals who are engaged in playing violent video games for a prolonged time will lose physiological arousal to violence in the real world.
Experiments were very much in depth by measuring the participant’s heart rate and galvanic skin response when they were showing a 10 minute videotape with violent scenes. The tape was shown after the participants played violent and nonviolent games for 20 minutes. The results were those who played violent video games beforehand had a lower heart rape and galvanic skin response while viewing filmed real violence demonstrating a physiological desensitization to violence. (Marko) Despite many arguments made that violent video games increase aggressiveness and violent behaviour, there are also many that disagree. According to an article from Science 2.0 they say that violent video games actually help kids manage their stress.
A new study by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital surveyed 1,254 children and found out that many are playing video games to manage their feelings, including anger and stress. Many children said they chose to play violent games to release their anger. The research concludes that since youth crime rate has declined, it’s likely that those who occasionally play violent games are probably doing fine. (Science Blogger) Cheryl Clock of St. Catharine’s Standard believes that the aggression from playing violent video games comes from competitiveness, level of difficulty and pace of action. Paul Adachi a Brock PhD psychology student also believes that there are other factors in a video game that should be considered.
Paul believed that previous studies that linked violent video games to aggressive behaviours didn’t include factors such as competitiveness. What Paul did differently was carefully select violent and nonviolent video games that were equally competitive, difficult and fast paced with the only difference being the level of violence. He experimented with about 50 students and had them play either a violent or nonviolent video game for 15 minutes and measured their level of aggression. The results were surprising that both violent and nonviolent gamers produced equal levels of aggressive behaviours. The results aren’t very clear but it leads us to believe that there may be more than violent video games that causes an increase in aggressive behaviour. (Clock) Difference between scholar and popular sources
From doing this paper, I have found that there are differences between scholars and popular sources. Firstly, according to the author for the sources, they are different. For scholars, the authors usually experts and there are credentials and contact information listed. However, for the popular source, they are staff writer or freelance writer and articles are often unsigned. Secondly, Scholar and popular sources have different purpose and intended audience. For the scholar source, the intended audience is Scholars, researcher and students in a particular field of study, thus the purpose is to report in details about the results of research they did in a particular field. However, the intended audience of popular source is general population, thus the purpose is to report the current event, entertain or summarize the research of general interest.
Furthermore, the most obvious difference is the content and language of the scholar and popular sources. The scholar sources focus on narrow subject. They analyse the issue more in depth by reporting the research in technical sentences and longer structured articles. They will use the graphs, tables and even the statistical analysis to support the findings from the research. However, the popular sources focus on general interest or current news and simplify the ideas of the issue. They generally talk about the surface of the issue by freely using the key points, simple words; shorter articles which almost within 5 pages and attractive image. It is very important to distinguish the difference between the scholar and popular sources. It is because the differences determine the credibility of these two types of sources. Meanwhile it is essential elements to evaluate the accuracy of the sources we used in the research paper. While both types of sources are valuable in research, most academic work will favor scholarly sources over popular ones.
Therefore, based on the above comparison, we can find that the scholar sources are much more valid and persuasive because of the higher credibility and in depth analysis. However, the popular sources are easy to be deterministic and less valid because of the free style and broad discussion of the issue. This difference is just like the theory of society construction of technology and technological determinism. The scholar sources can analyse the issue without bias and use more research to get into a more objective and influenced conclusion. And since we always have in the complex issue which is controversial in different aspects, it is necessary for us to find the sources with a clear critical mind. We need to evaluate the author, length, content and even the purpose of the sources, prevent from being influenced by some subjective ideas and come with the more comprehensive, open-minded and convincing conclusion. Application of theory- Technology Determinism
After researching the topic about whether the video games encourage the violent behavior in youth, I think that it can relate to the argumentative topic which is the relationship between technology and society. It is just like the controversial between technological determinism and social construction of technology (SCOT). In the society, there are people believe that the video games can cause the violent behavior in youth. These people just like the one who believe the technological determinism. Technology determinism states that technology is the “driving force of history” that can have a revolutionary impact on relatively passive societies and shape the change in society. The psychological people and some people of the society think that video games can definitely cause the youth to become more aggressive in both mentally and physically. However, there are still the opposite side people critics that video game is not encourage the violent behavior in youth because there are other factors to affect the youth’s behavior, like the culture, race and even self-personality. Their idea can match the theory of Society construction of technology.
And in fact, the video games and violent behaviors in youths is a particular way of conceptualizing and understanding the social shaping of technology as well as, in turn, the technological shaping of society. This perspective can be understood to include the interplay between socio-economic, political, cultural and environmental factors in the process of technological development. This viewpoint is in stark contrast to the perspective of technological determinism, which stresses the inherent properties of technologies and their impacts on society. Although video games influence the youth in some extent with the ultraviolent action and scenery, the more influential part is the element of human itself which include culture, race and even the self-personality of human in the society. And more deeply to analyze, both the inventors and users of video games are human, they control and determine how video games invented and used for. And the bad effects come from how video games misused by youth will eventually cause back the society with violent behavior.
In other words, this cause and effect both start and end with human factors. The relationship between technology and society is a two way street. The people just want to makes it as an “excuse” to shift the responsibility of misgoverning society by government, misusing video games by youth and misleading violent culture by media, to the passive object “video games”. This argument is just like the people who critic the large-scale irrigation “causes” the type of hierarchal political system, which is too deterministic. The central political system appeared because of the natural society change with history (some city has already built up the centralized coordination, like Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica), not the irrigation itself. To put such situation into the case of video games, we can rephrase -William Mitchell sentences to conclude that “it is not video game itself, but more important the changeable human’s mind and the media culture in the history that has the influential social consequences” Further findings
From doing the research I find that the controversial always so argumentative because of different “sound” come out from the society. And these “sound” comes from different standpoint with different role the people play in the society. For the sample of this research, there are different standpoints from the political, scientific and social aspects. On political side, the government is more likely to disagree that the video games will cause the violent behavior. As video games is a really big and profitable industry in the market. Nowadays, people like to consume on such exciting entertainment. And as a government, they know there are more important factors they can use and control the violent behavior in the society, such as regulation. On the scientific aspect, there are more scholar sources to be found. It is because the psychologist can be more professional. They are more specialized to show that scientist-psychologist think there is relationship that the video games would lead youth more aggressive.
And to certain extent their arguments are persuasive with the in depth and convincing research. Their standpoint can be supported by the credibility. Thus, scientist’s view means that although technology is invented by society, technology also have the affect toward back to the society by humans consume with it. On the society aspect, there are more popular sources to be found. It is because there are more self-opinions freely to be expressed in public without any strict publishing. Their view is more disagree with there is the direct relationship between the video games and violent behavior. There are much more factors to cause it, like the culture. However, these sources are less credibility because of shorter articles and lack of detail analysis.
In conclusion, whether the video games encourage the violent behavior in youth is a really controversial topic. It is because there are pros and cons of playing video games. Some people like scientist think video games have effect on aggressive action while other people like the public believe that there are other factors like culture and society environment shape the youth behavior. The society shape the youth’s personality on how to use the video games, then, due to the misplaying with video games, there are bad effects come out-violence. To conclude, this situation happened between the video games and violent behavior is the illustration of the “two ways street” relationship between the technology and society.
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Nicholas L. Carnagey, Craig A. Anderson, Brad J. Bushman. Erratum to “The effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence”. 29 Apr 2007. 2 Mar 2012.
Darrall, Stephanie. Violent video games DO make people more aggressive. 27 Nov 2011. 2 Jan 2012.Christopher J. Ferguson, John Colwell, Boris Mlacˇic, Goran Milas. Personality and media influences on violence and depression in a cross-national. 1 Feb 2011. 8 Jan 2012. Kaiser, Tiffany. Study: Violent Video Games Desensitize Players, Cause Heightened Aggression. 26 May 2011. 4 Mar 2012. Ferlazzo, Mike. Violent video games make kids hostile? 1 Mar 2010. 3 Jan 2012. Clock, Cheryl. Video games & violence . 25 Oct 2010. 13 Feb 2012. Gallagher, Michael D. Video Games Don’t Cause Children to be Violent. 10 May 2010. 11 Feb 2012. Scholar Sources
Craig A. Anderson, Brad J. Bushman. Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Physiological Arousal, and Prosocial Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Scientific Literature. 11 Dec 2011. 14 Feb 2012. Craig A. Anderson, Nicholas L. Carnagey. Causal effects of violent sports video games on aggression: Is it
competitiveness or violent content? 4 May 2009. 28 Feb 2012.
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