Essay On Violent Video Games And Children


The purpose of this report is to give the reader an understanding of the growing arguments of whether or not violent video games damage the mentality of children and lead teens to juvenile tendencies. This presentation will go into detail of how violent video games not only benefit children, but the economy as well. Much of research concerning video games have been flawed and do not support activist claims. The worries of parents camouflage the benefits of violent video games and this report will give the facts concerning violent video games.

Violent Video Games are Not as Harmful as Parents Make Them Seem

The content and quality of video games have improved since the first original Game Cubes and PC games. As the graphics and story lines become more complex, parents have become worried over the violence that their children are bearing witness to when playing the newest games. However, their worries take form to try and ruin the image of video games, instead on focusing on the benefits that the gaming industry and their products provide.

According by the Entertainment Software Association (n.d.): Entertainment software is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. economy. The sector remains “one of the above-average growth segments of the global entertainment industries through 2011.” Computer and video game companies posted record overall sales in 2008 with revenues of $22 billion as entertainment software companies continue to provide jobs to state and local economies across the nation (para. 1). In 1996, the U.S. entertainment software industry accounted for a modest 74.1 million units sold and $2.6 billion in sales revenue. Twelve years later, computer and video game companies sold 298.2 million units, leading to an astonishing $11.7 billion in software revenue and $22 billion overall (para. 2). As Brandon Curial, president and CEO of game developer and publisher Venan Entertainment Inc., says, “You have older gamers that haven't stopped playing, and you have younger kids getting into it every day. With something like the Nintendo Wii, you even have parents playing these games now. Each year, the market just exapnds, and it’s going to keep expanding for, well, a long time (para. 3).” The video game industry also stimulates complementary product purchases of roughly $61 billion a year. For example, video games are spurring demand for HDTVs. Approximately $73 million in HDTV sales can be directly attributed to the Xbox 360 game console (para. 5). A recent study, “Video Games in the 21st Century: Economic Contributions of the U.S. Entertainment Software Industry,” detailed the impact that computer and video game companies have on America’s economy. The study found from 2003 to 2006 showed that the entertainment software industry’s annual growth rate exceeded seventeen percent. Over the same period, the entire U.S. economy grew at a less than four percent rate; in 2006, the Entertainment Software Industry’s value added to U.S. Gross Domestic Product was $3.8 billion, making a disproportionate contribution to the real growth of the nation as a whole. For example, in 2005-06, the contribution exceeded its share of Gross Domestic Product by more than four to one (para. 9). The industry also provides benefits to individual states (para. 11). California, Washington, Texas, New York, and Massachusetts currently have the highest concentration of video game jobs. Collectively, these areas directly employ 16,604 workers and posts seventy percent of the industry’s total indirect employment (para. 12). California leads the nation in computer and video game personnel, accounting for approximately forty percent of total industry employment nationwide. The state’s 34.600 computer and video game employees added $1.7 billion to California’s economy in 2006, which marked a 12.3 percent growth rate over the previous year. The industry grew nearly three times faster than the overall state economy. California game companies also provided over $1.8 billion in direct and indirect employee compensation (para. 13).

There are also all kinds of gamers. The video game industry does not solely concentrate on the children population, as many adult speculate. According to another report the Entertainment Software Association (2009): Sixty-eight percent of American households play a computer or video game (p.1). In the United States, forty-two percent of homes own a video game console, such as an xbox or a playstation (p. 2). The average age for a gamer of these devices is thirty-five years of age. Concerning gender, sixty percent of gamers are male, where as forty-percent of gamers are female. The average age of the purchaser is thirty-nine percent, consisting of fifty-two percent that are male, and forty-eight percent that are female. 

However, it is true that many kids love video games. There is a reason for this love as well. Violent video games provide healthy and safe opportunities for children to explore rules and consequences of violent actions. They also allow youth to experiment with issues such as war, violence and death without real world consequences (, 2014, para. 24). Jones Gerald is a author who specializes in the mental growth of children and concentrates on types of media like comic books and games that benefits each child individually. According to Gerald (2002): Gerald gathered hundreds of stories of young people who had benefited from superhero comics, action movies, cartoons, shooter video games, and angry rap and rock songs. He also found stories of children who would use them badly, or require adult assistance to utilize the source of entertainment. However, the majority of young people used fantasies of combat in order to feel stronger, to access their emotions, to take control their anxieties, to calm themselves down in the face of real violence, and to fight their way their way through emotional challenges and lift themselves to new development levels (para. 23).Children are taught to compartmentalize their communication into either narrative or static portraits, but storytelling that is both visual and verbal leads them to transcend the compartments, to experience their thoughts and feelings more completely (para. 32). The vast array of fantasies and stories that adults tend to dismiss with labels such as “media violence” are used well by children (para. 33). Exploring, in a safe and controlled context, what is impossible or too dangerous or forbidden to them is a crucial tool in accepting the limits of reality. Playing with rage is a valuable way to reduce its power. Being evil and destructive in imagination is a vital compensation for the wildness that all have to surrender on the way to being good people (para. 39). When Gerald went into classrooms during the September 11 crisis, he found that the children were not as shaken as their teachers and parents. Most of them talked about the horrific images they’d seen with a mixture of anger and excitement. A lot of them wanted to draw pictures, tell stories, or play games involving planes crashing into buildings or soldiers fighting terrorists. This isn’t a failure to react appropriately to tragedy; this is how children deal with it. When something troubles them, they have to play with it until it feels safer. Play, fantasy, and emotional imagination are essential tools of the work of childhood and adolescence(para. 42). A woman name named Leila living in Pennsylvania contacted Gerald about the struggles of her with grade grandson. Leila’s daughter was a drug addict, and her daughter’s son, Jimmy, was taken from his mother’s care by court order and was assigned to the care of his grandparents at the age of five. Jimmy had intense abandonment fears and separation anxiety (para. 58). He also had asthma, poor eye sight, and as they discovered three years later, dyslexia. He responded to it all with disruptive behavior, becoming a class clown. In junior high, Jimmy fell in love with first shooter games, those games like Doom and Quake, in which the player has to explore a fantasy environment and gun down bizarre opponents who attack him (para. 60). When he started talking about his hobby at school, the official reaction wasn’t supportive of it. Two teachers and the principal, on separate occasions, sat him down told him that the games that he loved would desensitize him to violence, make him believe he could kill without consequence, give him a false sense of power, and make him associate bloodshed with fun. With each encounter, he would come home frightened, agitated, and more inclined to act up more than before. “The poor kid has enough real fears of his own without having adults dumping their fears on them. Instead of helping him deal with the fears that he has, they send the message that they're afraid of him, making him even more afraid of himself,” Leila said (para. 61). Leila, using the advice given by Gerald, asked school officials to look past generalizations and do what she was doing: ask him why he loves the games he loves, show some empathy for his fantasies and feelings, trust that he’s doing his best to meet his complex emotional needs and offer help, not fear (para. 74). Each child’s fantasies and emotional needs are very much their very own, even if he or she shares them with millions of other kids. When parents burden those needs with their own anxieties, children become confused and frightened of their own feelings (para. 57). Children want to be strong, secure, and happy. Their fantasies will tell what they feel they need to do to attain that, if paid attention to. But adults need to look beyond their expectations and interpretations and see them through the child’s eyes (para. 74). Viewing children as passive recipients of the media’s power puts adults at odds with the fantasies they’ve chosen, and thus with the children themselves. Viewing them as active users enables adults to work with their entertainment to help them grow. Shooter games, gangster rap, and Pokemon all become told for parents and teachers to help youth feel stronger, calm their fears, and learn more about themselves (para. 64).

Not only do violent video games and fantasy benefit children with their fears and anxieties, they also increase interaction between themselves and other children. Fifty-seven percent of males who are gamers play online while forty-three percent of females play online (Entertainment Software Association, 2009, p. 9). (2014) also provides that: Playing violent games reduces violence in adolescent boy by serving as a substitute for rough and tumble play. Playing the games allows those boys to express aggression and establish status in the peer group without causing physical harm (para. 18). In relevance, exposure to violent video games has not been shown to be predictive of violent behavior or crime. Any link found between video games and violence is best explained by other variables such as exposure to family violence and aggressive personalities (para. 29). Video game players understand that they are playing a game. Their ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality permits them from emulating video game violence in real life (para. 17).

A 2007 study reported that forty-five percent of boys played video games because “it helps me get my anger out” and sixty-two percent played it because “it helps me relax (, 2014, para. 19).” Children deal with their emotions differently than their literalistic parents. Video games, such as Okami or Battlefield allows children to learn and enjoy in the same period. Exposure to violent video games also does not cause low levels of empathy in children. (2014) states: The level of control granted to players, especially in terms of pace and directing the actions of their character, allows youth to regulate their emotional state during play. Research shows that perception of being in control reduces emotional and stressful responses to events to another report (para. 23). Games like Halo and God of War have complex story lines that engages the player directly and allows them toto react accordingly.

Adults, however, often react to violent images very differently then their child counterparts. In the gap between juvenile and adult reactions, some of the four greatest misunderstandings and most damaging disputes are born (Gerald, 2002, para. 40) Gerald (2002) states: Adults are generally more empathetic, more attuned to the greater world, and more literalistic than children. They are more likely to feel the pain and anxiety caused by real violence when seeing it in make-believe. It is troubling to see kids having fun with something that adults deplore. They fear that their kids are celebrating a horror that is desperately wanted to be banished from reality. Adults want their child counterparts to mirror their adult restraint, seriousness, compassion, and pacifism. But they can’t, and shouldn’t, mimic adult reactions (para. 42). In their anxiety to understand and control real-life violence, they’ve tried to reduce children relationships with their fantasies of combat and destruction to vast generalizations that adults would never dream of applying to their fantasies about love and family and discovery. Adults don’t usually ask whether game shows predispose children to greed, or whether love songs increase the likelihood of getting stuck in bad relationships. But when aggression is the topic, we try to puree a million games and dreams and life stories into statistical studies. Many forces have been shown to contribute to aggression: religious fervor, patriotic fervor, sports rivalry, romantic rivalry, and hot summer days. Entertainment has inspired some people to violence, but so has the Holy Bible, the United States Constitution, books about Hitler, etc. Those influences aren’t condemned as harmful because adults understand them better.

Ninety-two percent of parents are present at the time games are purchased or rented. Eighty-three percent of the time, children receive permission before purchasing or renting a game (Entertainment Software Association, 2009, p. 5) On all new consoles and devices, there are even parental controls in which parents can use to regulate what their children can and can’t play. Seventy-seven percent of parents believe that the parental controls available in all new video game consoles are useful. Further, parents impose time usage limits on video games more than on any other form of entertainment (p. 6). From not buying their child a console, to monitoring and setting parental controls on gaming devices, parents can limit and control all games that their children can and can’t play.

Many parents claim that when they buy a game for their child, there is no way of know what that game contains, and thereby have no control on what their children play. This claim is false: the video game industry has created a powerful tool to assist parents in this task in the form of the rating system developed by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)(Joint State Government Commission, 2008, p. 2).

      According to the Joint State Government Association (2008): The primary responsibility for assuring that VVGs (violent video games) do not impair the development of the Commonwealth’s children lies with its parents by using the rating system. The key to the rating system is the age ratings and content descriptors that appear on the packaging of nearly all video games sold by national distributors and most smaller retailers. Most retailers participate in a voluntary compliance system to prevent the sale of games to underage customers. The ESRB ratings have been highly effective in providing information to parents and other consumers about the age suitability and content of video games and supporting retailers in their enforcement of their store sales policies at brick and mortar locations, and to an increasings extent, on their Internet websites. However, there are instances where the games that are accessible on the internet are not submitted to ESRB for rating, such as betas like Slender Man and OctoDad.

Parents who are for banning violent video games will be sorely disappointed. The Joint State Government Commission (2008): Video games are protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and laws imposing restrictions on their sales must withstand “strict scrutiny,” an exacting legal test that virtually guarantees invalidation. The courts have found that the social science research on the dangers age-appropriate games pose for children is insufficient to support statutory restrictions on free expression and that the existence of an effective voluptuary rating system makes penalties unnecessary (p. 2).

As mentioned before, “social science research on the dangers age-appropriate games pose for children has been found insufficient (Joint State Government Commission, 2008, p. 2).”

Video games, against common generalizations, does not directly contribute to youth violence. The Joint State Government Association (2008) states: Western culture has frequently dwelt on violence from its origins in Homer’s epic poetry and Greek drama down to such later media as the novel and the opera. Movies, popular music, and television all deal routinely with depictions of violent acts. If measures are taken to address the effects of violent media, it is important that no particular form of media is unfairly discriminated against (p. 1). Social science researchers have performed a number of studies on the relationship between violent media and aggression, but as VVGs are a comparatively recent invention, only a handful of studies have explored the link between the games and aggressive behavior in children. Despite the worrisome conclusions that appear in the popular press, there are very few studies involving current violent video games and real children (p. 8). Much of social science research involves the analysis of statistical correlations, not causations. An important point to bear in mind about the research is that there has not been very much of it with respect to video games, although a large body of research exists on the effects of violent media in general. One difficulty in studying the link between video games and aggression is the lack of a generally accepted definition of “aggression.” An accepted definition of “aggression” is “behavior intended to harm another who is motivated to avoid that harm.” “Aggression” must be carefully distinguished from “violence,” which is defined as “extreme forms of aggression, such as physical assault and murder.” “Violent media” is defined as “those that depict intentional attempts by individuals to inflict harm on others.” While these are representative definitions, the research has been criticized for using unclear and inconsistent definitions of those terms, especially between different researchers. In the video game context, it may be difficult to isolate violent content as a factor from other factors that may influence thinking and behavior. It would seem impossible to produce two video games of professional quality that differ only in substituting nonviolent for violent content. Another serious issue in research is the method of measuring aggression since established ethical constraints strictly limit actual aggression and prohibit violence. Aggression has been measured by asking the subject what they are thinking about after a session with violent video game, but this ignores the difference between thinking about aggression and thinking aggressive thoughts. also provides: A casual link between violent video games and behavior has not been proven. Many studies suffer from design flaws and usual unreliable measures of violence and aggression such as noise blast tests. Thoughts about aggression have been confused with aggressive behavior, and there is a lack of studies that follow children over long periods of time (para. 9).

According to Gerald (2002): When we consider children in relation to mass media and pop culture, we tend to define them as consumers, watchers, recipients, victims. But they are also users of that media and culture: they are chooser, interpreters, shapers, fellow players, participants, and storytellers (para. 68).

Many cases and events also disproves that violent video games disproves the possibility that the games cause violence in youth. According to (2014): Within hours of the Virginia Tech shooting on April 16, 2007, attorney and anti-game activist Jack Thompson appeared on Fox News to blame the tragedy on the violent video game Counter-Strike. Other high profile figures such as television host Dr. Phil McGraw and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney argued that video games were to blame for the shooting. However, it was later revealed by the Virginia Tech Review Panel that the shooter did not play video games (para. 43).

The Free Expression Project (n.d.) provided: On September 24, 2002, thirty-three media scholars, historians, psychologists, and game researchers filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, opposing a law that bars minors from from video games containing “graphic violence.” A trail judge upheld the ordinance based on the assumption that media violence has been proven to cause aggressive behavior. The scholars’ brief explains that most laboratory experiments and other efforts to prove adverse effects from media violence has yielded null results. Those researchers reporting “aggressive” effects, moreover, have often manipulated the numbers, ignored negative findings, and used measures of “aggression” that are artificial and often ridiculous (para. 1). On June 2, 2003, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit struck down the St. Louis ordinance, noting: “The County’s conclusion that there is strong likelihood that minors who play violent video games will suffer a deleterious effect on their psychological health is simply unsupported in the record (para. 7).”

Guy Cumberbatch (Free Expression Project, n.d., para. 2) states: “While tests of statistical significance are a vital tool of the social sciences, they seem to have been more often used in this field as instruments of torture on the data until it confesses something which could justify publication in a scientific journal.” The has yet to be research that offers sufficient positive results of violent video games contributing to youth violence. According to (2014): Defenders of violent video games argue that the research has failed to show a casual link between video games and real world violence. They argue that correlations between video games and violent behavior can be explained by youth predisposed violence being attracted to violent entertainment. Additionally, if video games do cause youth to be violent, then one would expect juvenile crime to increase as more youth play violent video games. Instead, the arrest rate for juvenile violent crimes has fallen 49.3% between 1995 and 2008, while video game sales quadrupled in the same time period (para. 45).

The Free Expression Policy Project (n.d.) provides: One of the scholars, Celia Pearce, sums up the humanist understanding of violent fantasy games:”Most of the alarmism about violence is based on a profound misunderstanding about the social and emotional functions of games. Games allow people who are midway between childhood and adulthood to engage in fantasies of power to compensate for their own feelings of personal powerlessness. This role-playing function is important for children of all ages (para. 4).”

Adults tend to worry about many things that their children engage in, especially in video games. However, adult anxieties about the effects of entertainment are sometimes the real causes of the very effects they fear most (Gerald, 2002, para. 57).

Entertainment Software Association. (2009). Essential facts about the complete and video

game industry. Retrieved from


Entertainment Software Association. (n.d.). Video games and the economy. Retrieved from

Free Expression Policy Project (n.d.). Media scholars' brief in st. louis video games censorship case. Retrieved from

Joint State Government Commission. (2008, December). The report of the task force on violent interactive video games. Retrieved from report-of-the-task-force-on-violent-interactive-video-games.pdf

Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Violent Video Games are Not as Harmful as Parents Make Them Seem" Study Notes, LLC., 24 Apr. 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2018. <>.

To begin with it should be noted that nowadays, everybody knows what a video game is. As a fact, computers become an entire part of our lives and are almost in every family. As a result, children start to use computer before even know how to talk. Of course, computers are used for good purpose – to teach children read or solve math problems and so on. Unfortunately, the most of their time children spend if front of the computer monitors and devote their time to PC games. As a rule, arises the question: how does such situation is reflected on the psyche of the child? In my opinion this is a debate question and there are a lot of opinions concerning this issue. In this essay I would like to focus on video games violence and its effect on children.

Many experts consider that today the fascination of some people, especially children in violent video games reaches the level of dependency. As a rule, psychologists call this process gambling. According to Jill Adams (2010), it can be said that there is a psychological portrait of gamer: a teenager, that is immersed in the virtual world and ignoring all external events, very often such child has not been adapted to life in real world. The first stage of addiction is easily reversible disorder. At first, child is simply fascinated by the “new toy”; this stage is characterized by the detriment to education and other businesses. He gradually becomes estranged from family and friends. As a rule, children on this stage hide from their parents how much time they spend in front of the computer. The second stage is characterized by the following symptoms: if a child is prohibited to use the computer, he experiences a feeling akin to “breaking” of a drug addict. The child may steal money to pay for the time that he spends in the internet club. As a rule, the child feels decreased efficiency, impaired attention, the emergence of obsessive thoughts, headaches, cramps in the eyes, insomnia and so on. The third stage is called social disadaptation. As a fact, on this stage the child is completely lives in the virtual world and considers that this is his real life and the real world is a fiction.

Moreover, it should be noted that in their passion to video games, children prefer to play in violent video games with a lot of blood and aggression. So, why do children prefer not innocent logical games, but those in which there are uncovered violence, cruelty, murder and other activities related to the destruction and degradation? Answering this question it can be said that, as a fact, these games give the child opportunity to feel power. Violent video games can be characterized by feelings of superiority and omnipotence. As a rule, children do not have an opportunity to experience such feelings in the real world, where everyone is stronger than they are (parents, teachers, seniors and so on). In turn, violent video games give the child a possibility to immerse in the game, where he plays a role of powerful or almighty hero, and this is a chance to take revenge.

According to Andrea Norcia (2010), over the past 30 years, leading institutions and experts in the field of psychiatry conducted over 1000 studies that encountered that exists firm connection between violence on TV or computer and aggressive behavior of children. In other words, watching violent programs or playing violent video games can lead to the emergence of aggressive feelings, reactions and inappropriate behavior of children. Moreover, the child that reviewing abusing surveillance of violent scenes, as a rule, becomes numb to violence in real life.

It should be noted that scientists’ conclusions are confirmed by following facts. In 1997 three children were killed in a school in West Paducah. The attacker, Michael Kernel, was 14 years old. As it became known, a young man was fond of such violent games as DOOM, Quake and Mortal Combat. In 1999, in Littleton 12 students were murdered by two high school students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. As a fact, they were constantly playing DOOM, as well as Duke Nukem 3D.

It is believed that a particular problem has the role-playing computer games, i.e. games in which the player acts as prescribed by the story of a specific computer hero. According to Sumit Tathguru (2009), a study conducted by the Department of Psychology of Iowa State University found out that during the playing video game, children feel the process of “entering” in the game, and in clinical cases – the loss of individuality as a result of identification themselves with computer characters. Moreover, the survey has shown that violent video games cause a qualitatively different level of psychological dependence, in contrast to logical games or any kind of non-game computer activities. It should be noted that this dependency is the most powerful on the extent of its influence on the playing person.

However, not all scientists blame violent computer games in all teenagers’ problems. Of course, there are quite innocent and good video games that not cause harm to children. As a fact, there are different video games and some of them help children to review their potential and logical thinking. Many games are even beneficial, because children develop useful skills and learn to find effective solutions in difficult situations. In principle, any passing the game from the beginning to the end is the real victory, and without any doubts is essential for normal child development. And the fact that children are aggressive can be explained not only by violent video games influence but also such factors as dysfunctional family situation, peer influence, availability of firearms, etc., according to Teresa McEntire (2009). Although, the negative effects of such hobbies as playing violent video games is obviously stimulate aggressiveness and spread the cult of violence among teenagers. The children, who often play video games, which contain elements of violence, as a rule, consider that violence is the most effective way of conflicts resolving. It can be said that cruelty scenes view leads to reduced ability of appropriate emotional response to brutality in general. As a fact, cruelty in video games makes perceive the world as a place where there is evil. In addition, there is a fear of becoming a victim of violence, causing a lack of trust towards others.

Nevertheless, experts agree that adults can not simply deny children play video games. According to Anne Harding (2008), In the United States at the level of individual states have been numerous attempts to restrict the sale of violent video games that contain scenes of violence and sex. However, the producers of games have always been able to, through the courts, abolish restrictions as contrary to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech.

To sum it up, it should be noted that nowadays violent video games contribute to the development of the less compliant, and short-tempered children’s hostility and aggression. Also, many studies encountered that exists firm connection between violence on video games and aggressive behavior of children. As a fact, violent video games contribute to feelings of superiority and omnipotence among children, because in the real world, children do not have an opportunity to experience such feelings. However, not all scientists blame in violent computer games in all teenagers’ problems. As a fact, there are different video games and some of them help children to review their potential and logical thinking. Many games are even beneficial, because the children develop useful skills and learn to find effective solutions in difficult situations.

It can be said that today we live in an era when it is difficult to imagine the implementation of any action without a PC. Computer is not a monster, but it is very useful assistant in your everyday life. Moreover, I would like to say that such specialties as computer programmers and web-designers are the most demanded and highly paid nowadays. In my opinion, to prevent further violence distribution among children parents should try to ensure that computer does not replace family and friends for the child. I am convinced that by paying attention to the child, by asking him about his life, by spending more time with him, by simple taking care parents offer to the child alternative solution to spending time by playing video games.



Andrea Norcia (2010). What impact does playing video games have on children or adolescents? Retrieved March 17, 2011 from
Anne Harding (2008). Violent video games linked to child aggression. Retrieved March 17, 2011 from
Jill Adams (2010). Effects of violent video games. Retrieved March 17, 2011 from
Sumit Tathguru (2009). Violent Video Games Effect on Children. Retrieved March 17, 2011 from
Teresa McEntire (2009). Does Violence In Video Games Affect Children? Retrieved March 17, 2011 from

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