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A discussion about the effects of television and video game violence on children and teenagers

This popular form of media has both positive and negative effects on children. The most widely acknowledged "positive" impact is that video games may help children improve their manual dexterity and computer literacy.

Ever-improving technology also provides players with better graphics that give a more "realistic" virtual playing experience. This quality makes the video game industry a powerful force in many adolescent lives. However, studies also show that video games with violent content are linked to more aggressive behavior in teens.

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This is a concern because most of the popular video games contain violence. Part of the increase in aggressive behavior is linked to the amount of time children are allowed to play video games—and daily media use by children is increasing significantly.

  • Thus, a healthy, well-adjusted person with few risk factors is not going to become a school-shooter just because they start playing a lot of violent video games or watching a lot of violent movies;
  • Monitor all of your child's media consumption —video games, television, movies, and the Internet;
  • Here are a few tips;
  • Share with other parents information about certain games or ideas for helping each other in parenting;
  • A longitudinal test of video game violence influences on dating and aggression;
  • The newest media violence hazard.

Less than half of the kids surveyed said their parents have rules about the shows and games they can watch or play. In interactive video games, players are encouraged to identify with and role play their favorite characters. Players move up in game levels as their character masters skill and wins. In a video game about stock cars, winning may mean winning the race. But in many of the popular games, players move up levels by winning fights or battles. Players directly benefit from engaging in acts of violence.

This method of repetition has long been considered an effective teaching method in reinforcing learning patterns. 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.

However, you can decrease the negative impact that they have on your child. Here are a few tips: Know the rating of the video games your child plays see below. Do not install video game equipment in your child's bedroom. Set limits on how often and how long your child is allowed to play video games.

The Impact of Video Games

Monitor all of your child's media consumption —video games, television, movies, and the Internet. Supervise your child's Internet use—there are now many "video games" available for playing online. Take the time to discuss with your children the games they are playing or other media they are watching.

  • But in many of the popular games, players move up levels by winning fights or battles;
  • Less than half of the kids surveyed said their parents have rules about the shows and games they can watch or play.

Ask your children how they feel about what they observe in these video games, television programs or movies. This is an opportunity to share your feelings and grow closer with your child.

Share with other parents information about certain games or ideas for helping each other in parenting. The major video game manufacturers created this board after concerned groups applied pressure over the content of video games.

Similar to the movie industry's rating system, all major game companies now submit their new products for rating to specially trained raters at the ESRB.

Violence in the Media: What Effects on Behavior?

The ESRB rates over 1,000 games per year. The ESRB looks at a number of factors when rating games.

  1. A longitudinal test of video game violence influences on dating and aggression. Everyone E Content suitable for persons ages 6 and older.
  2. The major video game manufacturers created this board after concerned groups applied pressure over the content of video games. Supervise your child's Internet use—there are now many "video games" available for playing online.
  3. This quality makes the video game industry a powerful force in many adolescent lives.

In particular, it considers the amount of violence, sex, controversial language, and substance abuse found in a game. Based on its developed guidelines, the ESRB then gives an age recommendation and content descriptor to each game submitted. Early Childhood EC Content should be suitable for children 3 years and older and contain no objectionable material. Everyone E Content suitable for persons ages 6 and older.

The game may contain minimal violence and some "comic mischief. Mature M Content suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Content definitely has more mature sexual themes, intense violence and stronger language. Adult Only products are not intended for persons under the age of 18. The ESRB Web site has more details about this rating system, as well as the "content descriptors" that are used in conjunction with the ratings on game packaging.

The site is also useful for parents who want to search for the rating of a particular game. Back to top References Gentile, D. Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds. The newest media violence hazard.