Video games really do affect children



With Christmas comes the onslaught of various new video games and video game consoles, with each manufacturer and software house adding more  incredible realism ,year-on-year, to their games. In fact, one game uses a computer-generated Hollywood actor as part of the action. As technology becomes cheaper and more accessible, gaming graphics become more lifelike with stunning HD and now 4K, game graphics appear almost lifelike. It’s only a matter of time before gameplay become indistinguishable from real-life, it’s only an issue of computing power, and that is becoming cheaper. Unfortunately, there is a downside, as these graphics become more realistic, is it desensitising young people. A research study found that ,on average, gamers are playing these games up to 8 to 16 hours a day and researcher shown it has a startling effect.

A research paper(a meta-study) by Iowa State University compiled by Anderson and Bushmen looked at all research and came out with a startling conclusion stating that exposure to video games in college aged individuals heightened levels of aggression. There was one caveat to that statement that this research was only carried out on college-age students, it does not take into consideration younger adults who’ve been playing these games. The paper mentions an interesting fact, that the two students, which were involved in the Columbine high school massacre, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold  were themselves gamers. This is not to say that every child will turn out to be a perpetrator of mass violence, but one interesting fact was noticed that Harris created a customised version of the game Doom with two shooters, extra weapons and unlimited ammunition and victims that could not  fight back, features which are strikingly real, to the actual shootings.

The report stated that 90% of parents never checked the rating of a video game before allowing the purchase, with only 1% of the teen’s parents actually preventing the purchase based on the rating.

Fundamentally, the days of cute cartoons playing games are well and truly over, with more realism added each year, as technology becomes cheaper.

Finally, the report states that exposure, to violent video games, is positively linked with aggressive effects and psychological arousal; there is a relatively small amount of research carried out on the long-term effects on young adults, who play video games, Which is surprising, as young adults are playing these games for extended periods and in some cases without any adult vetting, or supervision.