Violence in Video Games
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97% of 12-17 year olds in the US played video games in 2008, this fueling an $11.7 billion domestic video game industry. In 2008, 10 of the top 20 best-selling video games in the US contained violence. Violent video games have been blamed for school shootings, increases in bullying, and violence towards women. Critics argue that these games desensitize players to violence, reward players for simulating violence, and teach children that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflicts. Video game advocates contend that a majority of the research on the topic is deeply flawed and that no causal ...view middle of the document...
One of the primary concerns with violence in video games is that gaming is not passive. In order to play and win, the player has to be the aggressor. Rather than watching violence, as he might do on television, he's committing the violent acts. Most researchers acknowledge that this kind of active participation affects a person's thought patterns, at least in the short term. Another factor that concerns both researchers and parents is that violence in video games is often rewarded rather than punished. In army and sniper games, players "level up" based in part on how many people they kill. If played frequently enough, games like this can skew a young person's perception of violence and its consequences.
In 2002, researchers Anderson and Bushman developed the General Aggression Model (GAM). Often considered one of the greatest contributions to the study of violence and video games, the GAM helps explain the complex relationship between violent video games and aggressive gamers. The GAM takes some (though not all) of the heat off video games by acknowledging that a gamer's personality plays into how he is affected by violence. Anderson and Bushman refer to three internal facets - thoughts, feelings, and physiological responses - that determine how a person interprets aggressive behavior. Some people's responses are naturally more hostile, making them predisposed to respond more aggressively to violent video games.Short-term effects were easily identified in the GAM; the most prominent being that violent games change the way gamers interpret and respond to aggressive acts. Even those who aren't predisposed to aggression respond with increased hostility after...