Hook: A lot of people in this room alone have probably at least once played a violent video game or at least have seen someone play a game that is violent. Games such as Call of Duty, Halo, or Gears of War. Heck I own all three of those games, but that’s beside the point. What good can come out of playing games where you repetitively kill others and see some ridiculous gory images? Honestly what good can come out of this when developing minds are playing games where they shoot peoples heads off over and over?
Like I said, yeah I myself have played these games and haven’t really thought about the effects of playing them but the statistics and studies don’t lie when it comes to linking violent video games with increased aggression in mainly teenagers, and to play the games so much to where it numbs your mind and you have no concept of what is actually going on in reality around you. Argument 1: Research finds that children who play violent video games can become violent themselves, but are these people just mimicking what they see on the screen or do the games leave lasting effects on the brain?
I mean that would be pretty messed up if a video game could have negative lasting effects on the brain right? Well… Time Magazine reported on a study conducted by Dr. Vincent Mathews and his colleagues at Indiana University where they took a group of 28 students all young adult males and they randomly assigned the students to play either a violent, first person shooter game or a non-violent one every day for a week. None of the the participants had much previous gaming experience.
At the beginning of the study, researchers used functional MRI to scan brain activity in the participants, while they completed lab-based tasks involving either emotional or non-emotional content. A week later after playing their games every day for that week they were scanned again as they repeated the same tasks. At the start of the study, researchers used functional MRI to scan brain activity in the participants, all young adult men, while they completed lab-based tasks involving either emotional or non-emotional content.
The participants were then scanned again while they repeated the same tasks, after a week of playing the video games. Researchers found that those who played the violent video games showed less activity in areas that involved emotions, attention and inhibition of our impulses. “Behavioral studies have shown an increase in aggressive behavior after violent video games, and what we show is the physiological explanation for what the behavioral studies are showing,” says Matthews. “We’re showing that there are changes in brain function that are likely related to that behavior. ” It’s not clear how long-lasting the changes may be.
When Matthews brought the participants back after a week of not playing video games, their brain activity had changed again, reverting to more normal reactions, but their brain functions still weren’t quite the same as before they were exposed to the violent games. Following playing the game they put the participants through some tests where it was clear that the students who played the violent first person shooter game showed signifigantly less activation of the emotional centers of the brain. Meaning the games had left their brain unable to show proper emotions or reactions to what’s going on around them.
The brain changes don’t appear to be permanent, but documenting that the brain does change in response to playing a violent game — even just for two hours a day for a week — is a significant advance in understanding how young players may be affected by these games. The brain changes that Matthews’ group saw were similar to those seen in teens with destructive sociopathic disorders, and his results, along with those from previous studies showing shorter-term effects, have been used in court cases by parents and others hoping to limit violent game play among young children.
Do you think its messed up that the patterns observed in that study were the same as those with destructive sociopathic disorders? Argument 2: So now that you know for a fact that violent video games effect the brain in a bad way, but what else could they effect? Teen driving habits and reckless driving for teenagers. A group of researchers at Dartmouth College did a study where they found a shockingly positive correlation in risky driving habits with teenagers that played violent video games that involved driving such as Grand Theft auto.
The researchers interviewed a group of teenagers when they first got their license that played these games, and a group that didn’t play the games. After time they checked up on their study participants and found that the ones that played the games were involved in a substantially larger number of wrecks and received a lot more tickets. Not only did the group that played the violent video games get in more wrecks and receive more tickets, there as a large number from this group that admitted to driving drunk where the group that didn’t play these games had no admittances to driving under the influence. The researchers of the study propose that violent video games change a young player’s self-perception, so that they see themselves as someone who does risky things. In other words, they are suggesting, the players try to become more like the characters they are controlling on screen. Recap: Good: Nothing
Bad: A lot.. Lasting negative effects to the brain, increased aggression, positive correlation with reckless and drunk driving with teenagers. Hmmm I’ll let you decide…. Argument 3: By looking at this kid, would you say he looks like a murderer? I don’t think so. But here’s his story on how his strong addiction and how what I talked about in the first study directly ties into his case of murdering his mother and shooting his father all because of the video game Halo 3.
The controversy between Daniel and his parents began when they forbade Daniel from buying and playing the Xbox 360 game Halo 3. Petric’s sister, Heidi Petric, testified in court that Daniel never played the game until he contracted staphylococcus infection from a jetski injury and was housebound. Petric was introduced to the Halo franchise while at the house of his friend, the Johnsons. His father, Mark Petric, was a minister at the New Life Assembly of God in Wellington.
Both parents objected the idea of their son playing a violent game with adult ratings and did not find it suitable for him. Mark testified that Daniel sneaked out of the house one evening and purchased the game without either of the parent’s knowledge. While housebound, Daniel would sometimes play the game for up to 18 hours at a time without taking a break. After his parents found out that he had gone against their wishes and purchased the game, they immediately took the game away and locked it in a safe that also incidentally concealed a 9mm Taurus PT-92 handgun.