Friday, September 6, 2019

Rethinking Video Game Violence Essay Example for Free

Rethinking Video Game Violence Essay Technological advancements made in the twenty first century have continuously altered the lives of every individual in this planet. Digital technologies have made communication among individuals very easy with the click of a button. In addition to this, technological advancements have also affected how people entertain themselves. Children all over the world are already abandoning their traditional toys. Action figures, matchboxes, building sets and puzzles are now losing its popularity because of the invasion of video games. The technological advancements have introduced the Play Station, Xbox, Game Cube, etc. to millions and millions of children all over the world (Mayor, 2005). True enough; the development of video and online games has continuously invaded the households of citizens all over the world, targeting their most important clients, the children. For some reason, video games only cater to the young adolescents and children; only in rare cases do they tend to be successful in influencing the adults. This is due to the fact that these games were designed using the role-playing method, which only entice the younger population as they are the ones who could not distinguish which is real and which remains to be in the fantasy realm of their minds. When adults observe children playing video games, the former fails to see what the latter sees (Mackey, n. d. ). In one way or another, these video games contribute to the construction of the children’s identity and culture, thus greatly affecting the lives of the children. With the popularity of video games increasing, the traditional ways by which childhood is characterized have continuously eroded and undermined. Somehow, no one knows where and what childhood really is about (In Search of the Child, 1969). Together with these advancements in technology come social problems associated with children and the youth such as drug-trafficking, teenage crime and the involvement of children in crime. The development of these video games has continuously instilled fear upon educators and parents as they continuously affect the children’s lives. Critics of video games fear transmission of violent messages to the children as they engage in playing with these video games (Squire, 2002). It was in 1980 when these video games were developed when President Reagan called for the creation of cold war warriors, knowing that these games would instill skills and attitudes to the warriors. However, more critics become more and more afraid of the effects of these games to cultural activities. They would often think that these would become influence children negatively as these would cause the young children addiction in technological developments (Squire, 2002). In April of 2002, a U. S. District Judge named Stephen N. Limbaugh, Sr. made a claim which somehow contrasted this particular fact. According to this very famous personality, video games are not capable in conveying ideas or expressing anything else that could possibly amount to speech (Jenkins, n. d. ). Because of this, video games did not enjoy constitutional protection since then. Limbaugh also said that for as long as games do not express ideas, no game shall be protected even if laws clearly state that children and the youth should not have access to any form of media that is said to explicitly contain violence and sexual messages (Jenkins, n. d. ). According to different research and studies made regarding this topic, the kids who have are now part of the videogame generation does not respond to traditional instructions. Because of this, researchers and educators worry that video games transmit hyper competitive and distorted sexual values to the children. Government policies have been constructed in such away that violent messages could not reach the children. Government policies introduced censorship practices which aim to keep the different homes safe from violence and distorted sexual messages. There had been several devices developed that could help in filtering out violent messages from reaching the homes of the children (In Search of the Child, 1969). In addition, video games are said to turn the children’s attention away from their academics (Squire, 2002). This particular ruling met a lot of criticisms, arguing that video games do express ideas that could definitely influence the minds of the youth negatively. Video games are seen to have psychological and social effects (Jenkins, n. d. ). According to some critics, gamers produce meanings through game play and other related activities. Effects are often seen as they emerge in the game itself. Thus, meanings become visible through interpretations as it continuously reflect our conscious engagement. Through this, they would be put into words and finally, examined. New meanings would often arise from what we already know and think. Because of this, each and every player would interpret a game according to his or her own experience and knowledge (Jenkins, n. d. ). In the same manner, it is often argued that children could not distinguish fantasy from reality. Due to this, focusing on meaning would increase the knowledge and competence each player has, that would often start with the mastery of particular concepts that differentiate the fantasy from the real world (Jenkins, n. d. ). This paper would look into the effects of video games on the children and the role they play in the lives of the children. In the same manner, it would look into how violence is instilled in the minds of these children through these video games. In addition to this, this paper shall look into how these games construct meanings and identities for the young children. For this paper to accomplish these tasks, it shall be using the game RuneScape, developed by Jagex Ltd. , one of the most popular online games in the whole world. RuneScape Released and Operated by Jagex Ltd. in 2001, RuneScape, once again is one of the most popular games in the world. It is said to take place in the fantasy world of Gielinor which is divided into different kingdoms, regions and areas. Players travel throughout the world by foot, often using spells and devices and other means of transportation. As they travel to each region, players face different monsters and quests. In the same way, more and more materials are being made available to them (RuneScape, 2007). Players are portrayed in the screen as avatars that could easily be customized. The players of this game could set their own goals and objectives together with the activities they would want to pursue in order to reach their goal. Competitors engaged in the game are not encouraged to pursue a linear path. They fight with other players, monsters, complete quests and increase their experience in all the skills available. Interaction between players is also encouraged through chatting, trading, etc (RuneScape, 2007). Video Games and their Impact to Children’s Lives A very famous retired military psychologist, Grossman said that video games teach kids to kill in the same way the military trains their soldiers. This very famous retired military man turned psychologist identified the following military concepts included in video games. The following are: brutalization, classical conditioning, operant conditioning and role modeling. These concepts are said to be adopted by the training camps as they prepare their soldiers for the battlefield (Jenkins, n. d. ). These methods have similarities in the way players interact with the computer games and other players. Because of this, the over exposure of children to these kinds of violence at the age when they are still having a hard time in distinguishing fantasy from reality brutalize them. Because of the rewards associated with the different video games, the children are trained to kill in exchange for these prizes. In addition to this, Grossman claims that a child acquires the same conditioned reflex and motor skills the soldiers have every time he plays an interactive point-and-shoot video game (Jenkins, n. d. ). Lastly, soldiers tend to imitate the role models being made visible in the games. Thus, the possibility of acquiring the same skills in real life is high. For humanist researchers on the other hand, these games are very powerful tools for teaching. It could help players in problem solving as they can see their mistakes as opportunities for learning and reflection (Jenkins, n. d. ). Thus, they would be finding better solutions to their problems. The different video games encourage the players to form their own hypotheses, and in the same manner, test them. In the obstacles that they face in the game world, their abilities are pushed to the highest level, since these games are designed in such a way that players would be encouraged to meet their goals (Jenkins, n. d. ). Thus, video games increase aggression among its players which then affects crime rates all over the world. Because of this, even unrealistic video games could be dangerous for the children and young adolescents. According to an experimental study that dealt with college students that engage in video games, these students have increased aggression after exposure to fantasy violent video games. This then proves the alarming situation at hand, that young adults are even affected by the violent messages transmitted by video games even when they are already supposed to know how to differentiate between fantasy and reality (Anderson, 2003). Because of this, these video games are said to be more dangerous than violent television shows and cinemas. In the same way, newly developed video games are now designed to reward the players for killing innocent bystanders, police, prostitutes, etc. using different means and weapons (Anderson, 2003). Hence, the plots of video games are now worse than ever, becoming more and more violent. In addition to this, there are even games that make some criminals as the heroes of the particular video game. For the author of the book What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy, the most powerful dimension of these games is the projective identity. Projective identity is the way role-playing allows us to experience the world from different perspectives. Identity then is chosen, accepted or constructed rather than imposed through the games that they engage in. How Video Games Define What it means to be A Child Young children, as mentioned often find it hard to distinguish fantasy from reality. Thus, most children are engaged in games that often involve role-playing. As defined, role-playing games are composed of sessions where group of gamers meet to play. Make believe rules are often formulated which may be simple or sophisticated. As adults already know the difference between reality and fantasy, they find it hard to grasp the concept associated with role playing games (Fei, n. d. ). These role-playing games have said to continuously influence the personality of the children and other young adults. These particular influences, in turn help in shaping the identities of these teens, especially those that are still in the so-called development phase (Fei, n. d. ). How Children Use Video Games to Construct their Realities and Identities As mentioned in the previous parts of this paper, children engage in role playing activities when they play with video games. Thus, this somehow helps them in constructing their realities and identities, how they perceive themselves. This perhaps is the reason why research published in 2000 supports the fact that playing violent video games increases one’s aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior. Apparently, without the children’s proper discernment of what is right and wrong would lead them to the adoption of these concepts that are supposed to exist only in the fantasy world in real life. In the study conducted by Craig Anderson and Karen Dill, it showed that their college student respondents have been influenced by the violent games they have played or are currently playing. It is quite obvious that the aggressiveness they have acquired through playing these violent video games caused their delinquent behaviors in the past (Anderson, 2003). In the same manner, video games have been a very popular avenue in which certain children construct their gender realities. In one way or another, video games have played a very important role in enhancing the gender differences between the girls and the boys. Based on observation and research, the characters, stories and worlds created by girls are truly different from that of the boys. Obviously, boys are more violent than the girls, making violence the most popular feature of the video games for boys. On the other hand, the girls just do not find the themes of these video games appealing – hunting, battling with monsters, etc. Because of this, video games tend to be more popular among the male kids than the female ones. In addition, this then leads to the social construct embedded upon the young minds of these children. At a very young age, the differences between the roles of the males and the females are quite clear to them (Kafai, 2001).

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