Week 8 First Impression

As a child who grew up in a small town with very few people my age, books and video games were my two primary sources of entertainment. At the time, I shied away from some of the more graphic games, but I think that might have had more to do with my fondness for puzzle games than anything else. Video games that are gratuitously violent or gory tend to annoy me because I don’t think it’s necessary most of the time. If the game itself is focused on action, then I can understand the desire to make it more realistic and to more accurately portray the damage in the game. It’s games like Mortal Kombat and its “fatalities” for example that I think are needlessly and excessively violent. To some up my thoughts on violent video games, I don’t have a problem with violence as long as it serves to further or enhance the story that is already being told. If the focus is not on any discernible story but is instead on the violence itself, then I take issue.

I think calls to have violent video games banned are a knee-jerk reaction that, while well intentioned, would not likely be all that effective. To start, I can see why the impulse is there. I do think that if kids start playing these games too young that there can be some desensitization to violence. However, I don’t think these games necessarily increase levels of aggression in children. It’s very possible that children who are already prone to violence are the ones who will become more aggressive with exposure to these games. From a logistic perspective, there would likely be too much pushback from the adults who enjoy these games to ban them entirely. The best that we can get is a rating system such as the one we already have that could be perhaps improvement by more stringent evaluation.

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One thought on “Week 8 First Impression

  1. This first impression was not only extremely insightful and intelligent, but also, I think, very well reasoned. I agreed with the overwhelming majority of points made in this post, and I find it difficult to refine it much beyond sharing my own insight and attempting to build on the ideas you have laid out here. As a fellow puzzle enthusiast, I share your feelings for needless violence just for the sake of violence, and I think it is these situations above all that may lead to increased violence in children who experience them. I also agree with your point about the rating system, and I think it is this area that opens up the most interesting line of discussion here. I would begin by asking why the rating system is there in the first place, because, while this seems a simple question, the answer leads to important realities of young people. The rating system is in place to protect those too young from graphic or explicit content, but why? I believe it is because they don’t yet have enough life experience to fully understand these situations and their implications. Lack of experience leads to an inability to process or compartmentalize disturbing things, because, instead of using reason built from experience, a child reacts using emotions. For example a child playing a very tastefully violent and historically accurate video game could think, by no fault of their own, that he wants to point guns at “bad guys” just like his video game character does. Without the life experience to know what the implications of pointing a gun at someone really means, these thoughts could be normalized for the child and be just as dangerous as an excessively and needlessly violent video game. For this reason I believe that it is the job of the parent or care giver to explain in no uncertain terms, the meaning and implications of the violence in video games as it applies to the real world. To summarize, this is a very long winded way of furthering your discussion to include potential negative effects of the ignorance and lack of experience that comes with young age on normalization of violence for children. Hope you found this point of view interesting and were not put to sleep by its length! Looking forward to reading your future posts.

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