Term Paper on Computer Games

Table of Content

Intelligence and Dexterity, bestowed upon humanity by God, allow for the manipulation of nature and offer vast potential in areas such as Medicine, Transportation, Communications, and Technology. Among these opportunities, Computer Games hold significant importance in society as they captivate teenagers who perceive them as one of their vices.

For many individuals, playing a variety of online or downloaded games has become a constant activity throughout the day. It seems to be an undeniable urge that they must fulfill in order to feel complete. Surveys have revealed that computer games have a profound impact on people, as demonstrated by the abundance of teenagers who spend hours seated in front of their computers, playing games and engaging in vulgar exchanges with one another. When teenagers develop an obsession with gaming, they gradually adopt the behavior of someone consumed by their passion for gaming. This often includes using offensive language to express their emotions, much like a volcano ready to erupt.

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There is a concern that today’s youth are not participating in sports games like basketball, volleyball, and other physical activities that contribute to their health and physical attributes. It is believed that computer games are gradually taking the place of these sports games. The government should address this issue to support today’s youth. Additionally, parents remain concerned about the impact of violent computer games, which continues to be a topic of interest for the media.

In regard to computer games, parents may need to focus more on teenagers addicted to playing instead of worrying about the impact of violent games. Studies on video game addiction show varying opinions on the percentage of children and teens addicted, but most research indicates that around 5 to 10% of youth who engage in computer games develop addiction.

Teenage computer game addiction is a recently emerged issue for families, compared to other psychological difficulties like depression and anxiety. Consequently, parents may lack useful and accurate information on signs of computer game addiction, risk factors associated with video game addiction, and strategies for assisting teenagers who are addicted to computer games. In terms of background, the debate surrounding whether computer games have social effects and provoke violence among players, primarily children, dates back to 1976 with the release of the video game Death Race.

The game’s objective was to drive a car and crush screaming gremlins, which would then transform into tombstones. The pace of the game was slow, and the gremlins were designed to look like humans. This video game caused public outrage, resulting in its discontinuation. Other violent computer games released in 1993, such as Night Trap and Mortal Combat, also faced backlash from the public. Consequently, a board was established in the United States that year to assess and classify computer games according to their content (Siwek, 2007).

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), or The board, is responsible for rating video games. One specific game known as Rapelay, released in 2006 (Siwek, 2007), garnered media attention due to its depiction of rape and stalking towards a woman and her two daughters. There is an argument that these types of computer games can have an impact on children’s behavior. Incidents like the tragic massacre at Columbine High School, which resulted in the loss of 13 lives, have been linked to computer games. In response to this concern, laws have been put into place to prohibit or regulate the sale of computer games.

In 2007, the Supreme Court invalidated a California law that banned the sale of Computer Games to minors due to concerns over freedom of speech. Despite aiming to protect children, the court found the law violated this right. It is worth noting that boys typically spend more time playing computer games than girls, potentially resulting in varying effects on children of similar ages.

Engaging in computer games that include violent scenes is the primary cause of negative effects on children. The excessive amount of time spent playing these games can lead to social isolation, as there isn’t enough opportunity for the child to interact with others in society (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). When a child spends long periods absorbed in computer games every day, they miss out on chances to meet new people and make friends, which can eventually result in feelings of depression and loneliness even within their own homes.

Excessive engagement in computer games among children often leads to neglect of other activities, such as sports, reading, and homework. This behavior can result in reduced social involvement and the adoption of improper values (Gunter, 1998). Additionally, these children are at a higher risk of academic underperformance and developing a video game addiction. As a result, their ability to think creatively may be negatively impacted. In conclusion, computer games can have adverse effects on a child’s social interactions, academic performance, and cognitive development.

Excessive computer game playing hinders children’s creative and independent thinking, impeding their development. It also adversely affects their health due to lack of physical activity, resulting in video-induced seizures, obesity, as well as skeletal, muscular, and postural disorders like tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

According to Anderson & Bushman (2001), playing Computer Games has been linked to the association of happiness and pleasure with causing harm to others. This can potentially lead to the development of selfish behavior in children who partake in these games. Furthermore, Computer Games teach players to rely on themselves and their abilities, which may strengthen their existing selfish tendencies as children often play these games alone. Research conducted at a national institute for media in Minneapolis discovered that children can develop an addiction to Computer Games and may consequently develop social phobias.

The interactive nature of Computer Games sets them apart from movies or television, allowing players to actively engage in the storyline. Players who benefit from acts of violence can progress to the next level (Sherry, 2001). However, playing Computer Games has been linked to an increase in violence among children. According to Lillian Bensely and Juliet Van Eenwyk (2001), Anderson and Dill discovered a strong correlation between video game play and aggressive behavior in males with high aggression and irritability.

According to Gunter (1998), the global issue of violent behavior among children who play violent Computer Games is exemplified by the Columbine High School massacre. This tragic event occurred on April 20, 1999, at Jefferson County’s Columbine High School and involved Dylan Klebold and Harris Eric, aged 17 and 18 respectively. Both individuals were known to frequently participate in weapon-based combat games. Regrettably, this incident led to the devastating loss of 12 students and one teacher.

The incident also revealed that the two shooters were fans of violent video games such as Wolfeinstein 3D and Doom. Numerous newspaper articles following the incident suggested that these games were the main catalyst. In another case in April, 2000, sixteen-year-old Spaniard Jose Rabadan fatally stabbed his parents and sister using a katana sword. Rabadan claimed to be Squall Leonhart, the protagonist from the video game ‘Final Fantasy V111’, and that he was on a mission for vengeance. This tragic event was attributed to excessive gameplay and a fixation on the game’s content (Williams, & Marko, 2005).

In 1997, Wilson Noah, a thirteen year-old boy, was fatally stabbed by his friend using a kitchen knife. The mother of the victim claimed that the motive behind the stabbing was the obsession the friend had with the video game Mortal Combat. According to the mother, the perpetrator was fixated on the game and believed himself to be one of its characters called ‘Cyrax’. In this game, Cyrax is known for executing a finishing move where he grabs his opponent and stabs them in the chest. The mother alleged that it was this move that inspired the killing of her child.

According to a report compiled by the FBI in 2006, the effects of playing computer games have caused numerous incidents. The report identified playing violent computer games as a behavioral trait associated with school shootings. It also revealed that playing computer games increases the player’s aggressive behavior due to the repetitive exposure to violent acts during the game (Anderson & Bushman, 2001; Gentile & Anderson, 2003).

Although heightened physiological arousal such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and skin conductance can be beneficial in certain situations, it can also lead to an increase in aggressive behavior when induced by violent media or other sources. This is particularly true when the arousal is incorrectly attributed to another provoking event rather than to the violent media. Additionally, repetition of an act has been deemed an effective teaching method in reinforcing learners’ patterns (Barlett, Harris, & Bruey, 2007).

The games motivate players to engage in role-playing or connect with their preferred character (Gentile & Anderson, 2003). Furthermore, the rise in physical bullying in numerous schools can be attributed to the widespread appeal of violent Computer Games. According to a study conducted in 2008, approximately 60% or more of middle school boys resorted to physical aggression or assault after playing at least one video game with a mature rating. Additionally, the research indicated that about 39% of boys who never played violent Computer Games refrained from participating in any form of violence.

Playing violent Computer Games can lead to the learning and enjoyment of violent behavior in children. They are rewarded for simulating violence, which can result in the development of aggressive behavior when violence is rewarded in these games. Furthermore, playing Computer Games can desensitize players to real-life violence. Studies have found that exposure to Computer Games reduces P300 amplitudes in the brain, which can contribute to aggressive behavior and desensitization to violence later on (Bartholow, Bushman & Sestir, 2006).

Multiple national medical associations compiled a report in 2000 explaining that when children undergo violence during computer game play, they tend to develop a fear of becoming targets of such violent acts. The report also highlights that as a result, children lose trust in their peers and adopt a more aggressive and defensive mindset. Additionally, the exposure to violent computer games leads to a decline in empathy among players. In fact, a survey conducted by Jeanne Funk in 2004 found that computer games are the sole form of media associated with decreased empathy.

Empathy plays a crucial role in evaluating moral values and deterring aggressive behavior, especially among children (Bartholow, Bushman & Sestir, 2006). Exposure to violent computer games can diminish empathy in children, increasing their susceptibility to violence. The repetitive nature of gaming actions can subconsciously shape behavioral scripts. This phenomenon is also evident in the behaviors of drivers.

Gunter (1998) states that playing computer games can result in the development of a behavioral script among children, which promotes violent responses in certain situations. This fosters the belief that violence is an appropriate resolution for conflicts, particularly when engaging with games containing violent content. Consequently, children who play computer games, specifically those featuring violence, do not support the use of non-violent methods to address problems and typically exhibit less forgiveness compared to children who play non-violent computer games (Sherry, 2001).

Children often mix up actual violence with the violence they witness in video games, which can lead to an increased tendency for them to engage in fights at school or in their communities. In today’s world, contemporary computer games provide multiple opportunities for players to actively take part. Certain computer games even offer guidance on becoming a murderer. An example of this is Doom 11, a violent video game that received official approval from the United States Marine Corps and was launched in 1996. Initially created as a training resource for marines, this game has the capacity to potentially train children into proficient killers.

Most Computer Games have been criticized for their negative portrayal of women, with some researchers suggesting that playing violent games may contribute to an increase in violence against women (Gunter, 1998). However, there are counter arguments that argue that Computer Games can actually be beneficial for children. One counter argument is that children are not isolated when playing these games, as they have access to online gaming communities.

It is noteworthy that socially isolated or physically unfit children find solace in playing computer games, and it is interesting to observe that even though violent juvenile crimes have declined, the popularity of computer games has risen. From 1995 to 2008, there was a substantial decrease of 71.9% in the arrest rate for juvenile murderers and an overall reduction of 49% in instances of juvenile violence.

The sale of cruel Computer Games increased by almost four times, indicating that there is no direct relationship between violent juvenile crimes and Computer Games. There is no scientific evidence linking children’s aggressive behavior to Computer Games. The majority of surveys on Computer Games have design flaws since they are conducted over a short period without long-term follow-up on children. Therefore, conclusions are drawn from brief observations.

One counter argument against Computer Games is the idea that children can learn real life-skills while playing them. According to Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley (2007), players of violent Computer Games can learn how to manage their emotions. Playing Computer Games can help children develop control over their actions and pace, which in turn can regulate their emotional state. Feeling in control during gameplay can reduce emotional and stressful reactions to different events. Additionally, Computer Games can provide an outlet for aggressive and angry feelings.

Playing computer games is a great way for children to release aggression and reduce depression. Some children play these games to manage anger, while others find them helpful in relaxation. Computer games provide a safe and controlled environment for kids to virtually experience and understand the consequences of violent behavior (Bartholow, Bushman & Sestir, 2006). By playing computer games, including those with violence, children can develop coping mechanisms to avoid violence. Although computer games can influence the form of violence, they do not necessarily cause it.

Through the challenges faced while playing some Computer Games, children can learn how to avoid or escape from violence. Those who believe Computer Games do not have negative effects on children argue that it is not the games themselves that lead to violence, but rather that violent children are more likely to be interested in Computer Games (Anderson, Gentile & Buckley, 2007). In conclusion, the debate over whether Computer Games have positive or negative effects on children is extensive and subjective, depending on one’s philosophical beliefs.

“Most of the research projects on the actual impact of media violence on children’s behavior have used small and often unconventional samples (Dietz, 1998).” This study has gathered several detrimental effects of Computer Games on children. These effects encompass feelings of isolation from society, increased violence and aggression, and impaired communication skills. During gameplay, children often spend prolonged periods alone, with minimal interaction with real-life peers, apart from virtual counterparts.

According to some researchers, children who play Computer Games do not develop effective communication skills with others since they spend most of their spare time on these games. This excessive gaming has also contributed to an increase in violence among children, as seen in incidents like the Columbine High School massacre. In addition, there has been a rise in injuries and fighting at home and outdoors due to children engaging in brutal Computer Games (Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley, 2007). Nonetheless, there are arguments from some researchers that highlight the potential positive effects that Computer Games can have on children.

They argue that children do not exist in isolation, as they form online gaming communities. In addition, children can acquire real-life skills and learn how to avoid violence through playing computer games. However, both sides agree that parents should supervise their children’s gaming habits. Personally, I believe that computer games can be permitted with care and moderation. As long as virtual reality does not overpower a child’s real-life interactions, computer games can serve as an excellent leisure activity.

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