IFSM 304 – Ethics in
Virtual Worlds and Video Games
1: Moral Issue
The topic I have decided to discuss
in this research paper is gaming and their impact on society by
distracting people from everyday responsibilities. This topic is interesting
due to the many concepts this topic allows me to explore. I will explore the
different ethical dilemmas with video games and how they affect people
individually and how they affect society. Many people believe that video games
can be correlated with the real-world violence we all see every day. This topic
really appeals to me because of my time playing video games. A lot of people
see playing video games as “nerdy” but I can see the advantages for people with
physical or mental disorders to be able to interact with people without the
pressure of feeling inadequate. However, the violence in video games are
increasing and becoming the norm to take over your life. Unfortunately, there
are a lot of ethical issues with gaming. This topic also interests me since I
am split on how I feel about it. I can see how video games can negatively
affect people as well. When people are
so separated from real life and miss experiences to play games can really
affect society. Also showing violence in videos can make people ethically
scared and un able to make moral decisions. I had a friend in high school that
ended up dropping out to play World of Warcraft (WOW). He was not present in
real life and let video game addiction consume him.
2: Who’s problem is it and the Facts
the PBS Frontline documentary, Digital Nation they explore video games and how
they affect modern culture and society.
In the very beginning of the documentary section they are surprised to
see how theses digital worlds are bring people together. Most people see video
games as a way for people to isolate themselves but thinking about it in the
way cell phones and social media brings us together so can the idea of virtual
worlds being a way for people to complete common goals and expand their own
social range. The moral problem falls on the video game creators and the
parents of children who play video games. There are two ways to think about it.
One is that video games are helping to stop the alienation of people who are so
immersed in technology or that video games are making us morally dull and violence
has become a norm.
I believe more
technology will shrink the alienation that some people feel. I play a lot of
video games and for a few years I play World of Warcraft. I did notice that I
did not see my friends very much and my romantic life took a back seat to my
computer chair. I used it to escape everyday responsibilities. Another
important ethical issue is with video game creators making video games increasingly
violent to keep up with an increase in over saturation of violence in our
society. Some of my friends played the game and I noticed that a lot of the
time I did not even play with them because I was only focused on my task in the
game and if they could not help me I did not want to play with them. Another
topic the documentary goes into about digital worlds is the aspect of the
military using drones to conduct warfare.
I understand that this is different than video games because it is a mix
of both virtual aspects and real life. The benefits of this is enormous do to
the ability to separate the hardship of war to the soldier. But just like with
the effects of games on society the effects of being able to conduct warfare
without really feeling responsible for what your doing can be very dangerous.
In a way you could say it’s almost like losing your conscious. As I researched more into video
games and their effect on health I came across article entitled “15 ways video
games make you smarter and healthier” The article explains just like all my
other research stated video games are often portrayed as antisocial, violent,
and as an addictive waste of time that encourages obesity. Interesting
fact authors Spector and Loria found that the Robert Morris University started
giving scholarships to people who played a game called League of Legends.
Studied have shown that games that have repetitive actions help train the brain
to perform better in real life. “Video game brain training has the same effect
as reading a book or riding a bike and when the brain is learning,
thousands of new connections are being formed. The addition of a reward system
motivates players to continuously improve their skills.” Spector and Loria
(2014). The authors also go on to explain how play video games also increases
3: What has been done already
government has stepped in a has created a ratings system that is basically ratings
for movies. The intent was to limit the violence and adult content shown to youth
threw video games. So, the morality would be being anyone ever ready to see
people dying and shooting people as the main part of the game. Playing video
games can take a huge part of your life. But, just as all things are violent
video games are more fun. So, should people or government step in a tell companies
to stop making these games and tax them more for hurting people with things
that people want. Video game makes are only making games that people want to
play. The owners and stakeholders have a lot to lose if people do not buy their
games. It would kill the industry. Legally there is something that could be
done. Put a surcharge on violent video games. If it is deemed unhealthy and
addictive why wouldn’t you put a huge tax on it like cigarettes and alcohol. Fortunately,
that is unethical for now when it comes to things like video games. Therefore,
there is not solution and could not possibly offer a competing alternative. The
only thing that makes sense would be for parents to pay more attention to how
much video games their children play and think about the ratings system that is
already in place. I used Kidder’s Nine-Steps and Spinello’s Seven-Step Process
to perform this ethical Analysis.
Kidder, R. M. (1995). How good people make tough choices: Resolving the
dilemmas of ethical living. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Spinello, R. A.
(1997). Case studies in information and computer ethics. Upper Saddle River,
New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Drezen, R. (n.d.).
Digital Nation. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from
Przybylski, A. K.
(2014). Electronic Gaming and Psychosocial Adjustment. Pediatrics, 134(3).
(2016, May 10). VIDEO GAMES and THEIR EFFECT on MODERN DAY SOCIETY. Retrieved
December 10, 2017, from