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The Dark Side of Video Games

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Advancements in technology have resulted in a world in which many American homes have not just one television, one computer, and one video game console, but more than one of each of these media devices.  To please their children and keep them occupied, many parents buy them a variety of video games, ranging from seemingly innocent, fun games such as Dance Dance Revolution to survival horror games like Outlast 2 and violent first-person-shooter games such as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.  Many parents are working more hours than ever before trying to provide for their families. They are not always home as much as they would like to be to spend time with their children, and when these parents are home, there is much that demands their attention.  As a result, many children are keeping themselves occupied by spending hours each day playing video games. While some argue that playing video games does not have harmful effects, research proves otherwise.

One concern many people have is that playing some of these video games makes children become more aggressive and violent. Playing violent video games can cause children to behave violently because they are imitating what they see on the television screen.  It is also important to note that playing violent video games can cause children to have behavioral problems versus watching movie violence.  One can conclude that children can learn to be more aggressive and violent by playing video games over time.

A tendency toward increased aggression and violence is only one of many negative effects of spending time playing these games; another negative effect is video game addiction.  As children spend more and more time playing video games, the chance that they will grow up addicted to playing them increases.  Violent video games usually offer positive reinforcement and positive sanctions for violent acts. For example, first-person-shooter games often offer positive reinforcement in terms of new weapons, perks, vehicles, and ranks.  Many who play these video games online communicate with others through a simple microphone as they play the games.  This allows them to receive even more positive sanctions for their violent behavior.  Gaming addiction has also been associated with mental illness, physical exhaustion, and death.

Increased aggression and video game addiction are two of many negative effects; another effect is the danger to the child’s health.  The United States has become known as a nation filled with obese individuals.  Children who spend hours each day playing video games are most likely not getting enough exercise; this can cause an increase in risk for obesity.  Not only is the child’s physical health at risk; there is also a risk of poor psychological health.  Children who spend time playing video games experience higher levels of emotional distress, anxiety, and depression than other children experience.

In conclusion, playing video games can have many negative effects on children.  While playing these games is a very popular activity among children, it can result in increased levels of aggression and addiction.  Gaming addiction can lead to hours of screen time each day, which, in turn, can lead to obesity and greater chances of psychological issues such as emotional distress, anxiety, and depression. Parents need to think carefully before caving in to their children’s pleas for the latest video game.  The dangers associated with video gaming cannot be denied and should not be ignored.

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