Video Games and Juvenile Delinquency


Video Games and Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile is an individual who has not reached the adult age that is 18 years. This is a child or one who is in his/her youthful stage. Video games are a form of entertainment that allows players to be actively involved and the players have to pay a lot of attention when playing. Today video games have become very popular and every juvenile youth wants to be a part. Today a greater percentage of teenagers in most countries play games in the computers, phones etc., the sales of video games and PlayStations is constantly increasing day by day. This form of entertainment has had both positive and negative influences. As a matter of factchildren play games at home, schools, churches and other social places and this occupies a greater percentage of their time(Anderson, 2003).The effects of video games and juvenile delinquency is a debate that has been raging for the past two decades, researchers have taken a lot of time and money trying to investigate the actual effects.

Firstly, it is believed that when a child is growing he/she seems to adapt and learn from the surrounding environment. This means that such a child is likely to imitate whatever he/she sees. Just like a child learns his/her native language so does the imitation comes into play after watching and playing games. Most importantly are the violent traits and aggressiveness that are depicted in some games like GTA vice City which makes a juvenile believe that one can cause trouble and escape from the police. Playing video games may increase aggressive behavior because violent acts are continually repeated throughout the video game (Gentile & Anderson, 2003).Research has also found that, controlling for prior aggression, children who played more violent video games during the beginning of the school year showed more aggression than other children later in the school year (Pediatrics, Nov. 2008).


It is said that work without play makes Jack a dull boy. Psychologists have argued that playing promotes and stimulates the mental and physical development of a child. Playing in this perspective has made children to spend most of their time playing games at the expense of physical play. This has made such children to miss on the social life as a child can sit close to 4 hours playing a game alone. They fail to go and meet new friends and learn more extracurricular activities.Funk and Buchman did a study on self-competence whose results showed that “for boys, but not for girls, a stronger preference for each of the three types of violent games was associated with lower self-competence scores in one or more developmentally important areas, including academic, interpersonal, and behavioral skills” (Cesarone, 1998). This study narrows down to show that these boys tend to resort to other activities or behaviors because they are not doing well in other areas.

Other juvenile delinquency includes; children who spend a lot of time playing games tend to have poor health as they become obese. A research is currently being done to prove the fact that kids eat more when they are playing video games (Andrew, 2010). Andrew in his book the negative effects of video games on children claims that children who spend a lot of their time playing video games had anger problems and even eye vision problems as they are exposed to a lot of screen resolution for long, they play video games during the day and watch TV or play video games at night.

To conclude, the effects of video games to juvenile delinquency should be solely blamed on the parents and their teachers. They should act as guide to the children; check at the rating and contents of video games before a child can play. They should also encourage their children to embrace physical play as this will develop them socially and avoid obesity.Parents need to reconsider their approach to electronic media. This bad vs. good moralistic approach might be comfortable, but it also seems to be out of joint with the kinds of critical thinking skills that we consider being in the best interest of our children (Shapiro, 2012).


Cesarone, Bernard. (1998) “Video Games: Research, Ratings, Recommendations. ERIC Digest.” ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education Champaign, IL.

Craig A., Sakamoto A., Douglas A., (2008, Nov)Longitudinal Effects of Violent Video Games

on Aggression in Japan and the United States.Pediatrics Vol. 122 No. 5,pp. e1067 e1072

Gentile, D. A. & Anderson, C. A. (2003). Violent video games: The newest media violence hazard. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishing.

Shapiro J.,(2012).A Video Game Guide to Maximum Euphoric Bliss. New York:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Wikipedia (2015, 22 May). Video games controversies. Retrieved from


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