The effects of films and video games have been argued for some time now. My parents, and I have no doubt that other parents, have warned their children about the effects of playing video games. I know I have been told things like, You will get square eyes if you play that any longer’ and don’t try and do anything you seen on there’ and I personally know others who have been told similar things. However, I have always wondered, Is this really true, are there real effects of playing video games along with strong evidence supporting them? It is a question that has been on my mind for as long as I can remember playing video games and I’m sure it is a question that gamers and parents alike would want to find an answer to.
The effects of video games and films is a subject that has been debated for many years now and it has still failed to produce a definitive answer.
Both sides of the argument claim their research to be true producing a situation where it sees to just be one word against another. An example of such argument is about middle school boys and girls in the US which states that 60% of boys and 40% of girls who have played at least one Mature-rated game hit or beat up someone, compared to the 39% of boys and 14% of girls who had also hit or beat someone up despite not playing a mature-rated game (this was in 2013). This statistics would suggest that video games cause much higher aggression levels in young people which can lead to increased violence. However, the sales of violent video games has increased hugely while rates of violent crime committed by juveniles has significantly decreased. In fact total sales of video game hardware and software increased by 204% from 1994 to 2014. In this time, the number of violent crimes and decreased by 37% and murders committed by a juvenile alone saw a decrease of 76%. There is of course a possibility that this is merely coincidence but this seems unlikely.There have numerous cases of serious criminality linked with video games and films and although they often have little evidence that the crime was committed solely due to video games or films, they seem to be something that has played a significant part in the lives of offenders. For example, in April 2000, a 16 year old spanish teen called Jos© Rabadn Pardo murdered his mother, father and sister with a katana and stated he was on an avenging mission for Squall Leonhart, a character from a video game called Final Fantasy VIII. Squall Leonhart was the main character of the game and was often seen with his signature weapon, a pistol combined with a large sword, somewhat similar to the weapon used by Jos©. As this case proves, video games can have some sort of effect on some young people even causing them to carry out extreme violence. Even the famous case of the murder of James Bulger by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson was possibly a recreation from a scene the boys had scene in a movie. This movie, Child’s Play III, was rated age 18, significantly higher than the two 10 year olds that committed the crime. While it is not known the true reason the boys committed such an abhorrent act, it is little things like scenes from games and films that can contribute more than people recognize.An obvious effect that can come from video games and films, mostly games, is addiction. Addiction to video games can cause extreme aggression, changes in lifestyle and health. Video game addictions can be very serious and hard to deal with. People with addiction to games often become depressed as they can’t keep up with their need to play the game. They will often become much less social, go out less, get less exercise and eat unhealthy food that is quick to prepare. All of these things are done to maximize their playing time. Inability to play games causes people with an addiction to become restless and irritable, increased levels of anger and aggression, lack concentration and increase the amount of lies they tell related to video games, for example, the amount of time they have spent on games. Physically, video game addictions can cause fatigue – addicted people often spend most of the night on games – migraines due to concentration on a screen and eye strain, poor personal hygiene and even carpal tunnel syndrome due to overuse of console controllers or a computer mouse. This is a pain in the hand and fingers as well as numbness and tingling caused by pressure on a nerve in the wrist. Video game addictions are similar to gambling addictions as a result of the way most video games are designed. They are made to be challenging but rewarding and not too hard that it makes the the gamer give up and not too easy that it becomes boring. This can make someone addicted as it always seems success is always just out of reach. Gambling is very similar in this way.Another affect that has been proven and even I have experienced is the desensitisation of people from a young age due to violent content that is so common in games and films. I have experienced this personally when watching a film with my family. To them, a particularly graphic scene came up and they seemed somewhat horrified but were shocked that my 17 year old sister and I barely reacted. I know I had seen much worse before in other games and films but my parents who don’t watch films much or play games obviously hadn’t. Video games can involve extreme violence and crime as well as some films, and this seems to become more common every year. This results in young people growing up seeing these things and so violent crime and other things seem almost normal to them.