Impact of Video Games in Society

A video game is an interactive computer that displays a video signal, allowing you to play thousands of games on your television or handheld video game device. (Wikipedia, Video Game) We have came a very long way since the very first type of video game console was invented by Ralph Baer in 1967. From the very first console, the “Brown Box” to the more interactive video game consoles such as the Wii, Playstation, XBOX or the handheld Nintendo DS. Regardless of which video game is being used, it has made a huge impact in life’s of many children, as well as adults today.
In the beginning, the games were user friendly and parents did not have much to worry about if they purchased a video game for their child. Take Pac Man for example, a very simple game where the player “Pac Man” eats dots and tries to avoid getting touched by an enemy. Now in 2012, we have games such as Call of Duty which focuses on killing members of the opposite team. As we as a society became more developed in technology, the video game systems became more and more high tech. For today’s generation, playing a 3D interactive video game is normal.
The manifest function of video game systems of today is the ability to connect the console to your television and even internet and play virtually with friends online. In 2009, it was reported by the Entertainment Software Association that nearly sixty-eight percent of households told have at least one gaming system. There are many video games aimed at children today that can be used as a learning tool. However, the amount of violent games greatly outweighs the educational ones. There are many sociological impacts from video gaming systems today.

Gaming systems are a very popular way of keeping children and teenagers entertained. Teenagers and children are becoming more and more addicted to these gaming systems everyday, which could lead to many issues such as poor school work or childhood obesity. Instead of doing homework or playing outside as we did before video games became popular, children are spending hours a day sitting on the couch due to the addictiveness of these games. Many of the games being sold today are full violence and teaching children bad morals such as sexuality, drug trafficking and even rape. According to Dr.
Craig Morrison, a professor of psychology at Iowa State University, even if children are playing games without violence, these children are forty percent more likely to show aggressive behavior after playing. The latent functions of these video gaming systems are quite clear. If we continue to allow children to play them it will lead to childhood obesity, violence as they grow older and even lack of motivation to communicate with the real world. In 2007 a sixteen year old boy in Ohio killed his own mother and shot his father simply because they took a game away from him, “Halo 3. According to the boy’s lawyer, he was injured in an accident that did not allow him to go anywhere, so he focused all of his time, energy, and mostly anger on playing this video game. When his parents decided the game was too violent, they took it away, causing the boy to snap. This is just one example of how video games can unintentionally lead to violence, and in this case death. The University of Texas performed a study on the relations of childhood obesity and video games.
Results were found to be that video games, due to their addictiveness were the cause of the children’s overweight status, and not linked to watching television as some may argue. It was found that children with a high weight status spent more time inside and less time performing outside activities, such as sports or riding bicycles. Perhaps the parents are to blame for allowing their children to do this; however, many parents today are of the working class group, sometimes being forced to leave their children unattended to do whatever they please. Each and every video game is required to have a rating. There are seven total.
Early childhood being the most non-violent and inappropriate. The rating Adults Only, requiring the purchaser to be eighteen years or older. Titles in this category usually include scenes of intense violence and or graphic sexual content and nudity. Even with the ratings, these video games are still getting into the hands of children. As our society and technology begins to grow, the problem will continue to worsen.
Citations: (Iowa State University Newspaper Article) http://www. public. iastate. edu/~nscentral/news/2007/mar/vvg. shtml (Cleavlead. com Article) http://blog. cleveland. com/metro/2008/12/boy_killed_mom_and_shot_dad_ov. html

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