Video games have become the entertainment of choice for America’s adolescents and many others around the world. In America seven out of ten homes with kids have a personal computer (68.2%). In the America alone video games earn estimated revenue of $10billion. Apart from owning a computer most of these homes have a console or video game machine which the children play on for an average of 90 minutes daily. This indicates that annually a lot of time is dedicated to game consoles; the psychological and social impact on the life of the users (adolescents) cannot be ignored, for example do video games lead to teens becoming violent or juvenile delinquents?
The General Aggression Model indicates that use or exposure to violent media or video games makes adolescents less sensitive to violence, this is because when initially introduced terrifying material that is displayed in an optimistic psychological content. Thus after several instances of use of these violent video games, the adolescent becomes less afraid of such violence, and generally that violent image becomes normal and a regular part of day to day life. This in turn creates a situation of insensitivity that is; reduced awareness to violent actions, reduced compassion for victims of violent acts, and increased positive outlook towards violent tendencies among others (Greitemeyer & McLatchie, 2011).
Years of research has revealed that juvenile delinquents exhibit a persona and behavior distinctiveness that set them apart from less serious, ostensibly unfriendly youth. Further research on the relationship between video games and aggression or juvenile delinquency has relatively been inconclusive. According to (Anderson, 2004) the impact of violent video games on aggression or violent behavior is evident and that it contributed largely to the Columbine High School killings, since the shooter was said to have played violent video games. If video games can be connected to the origin violence within adolescence, then policies designed to decreasing access to video games may be beneficial to the society. However, although there is insufficient proof that violent video games cause violent behavior in an experimental setup or laboratory setting, but these simulations cannot represent real life scenarios. This is because the more time they spend on video games the less time they take to commit real life crime or violence (Kutner and Cheryl, 2008).
It was recently analyzed the impact of video games on crime, and found increased use of game consoles or video games led to a decreased crime. This analysis, which is nothing compared to the laboratory studies, was accomplished with observational data, which has distinctive scientific challenge to ascertaining causality. Although laboratory investigations have shown no relations between video games and violence or juvenile delinquency, the observational investigation considered more reliable (Ward, 2011). Similarly studies done using time series analysis, on the relationship between video games and violence or juvenile delinquency, which found that when more video games where sold crime rate reduced significantly, showing that video games actually reduced juvenile delinquency (Dahl and Dellavegna, 2009).
In conclusion it is difficult to connect video games to juvenile delinquency and it is also hard to dispute that it plays a hand in the same. Many studies support that video games may cause increased aggression, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the aggression will evolve and become crime, since there various external factors such as family relations, school environment and other psychological issues that may lead aggression to become violence. It is necessary for further research to be conducted so as to efficiently conclude on this issue.
Anderson, C. A. (2004). “An update on the effects of playing violent video games,”
Journal of Adolescence 27, 113–122.
Dahl, G and Dellavigna, S. (2009). Does movie violence increase violent crime?
Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124(2) 637–675.
Greitemeyer, T and McLatchie, N. (2011). Denying humanness to others: A newly discovered
mechanism by which violent video games increase aggressive behavior. Psychological Science. (22), 659–665.
Kutner, L and Cheryl, K. (2008). Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth about Video
Games and What Parents Can Do. New York: Simon & Schuster. Print.
Ward, M. R. (2011). Video games and crime. Contemporary Economic Policy. 29(2)