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Effects of Violent Video Games on Children – Research Guider

The paper "Effects of Violent Video Games on Children" is a perfect example of a research paper on social science.
 In the past years, video games were seen to be a positive means of relaxation. The game could be controlled by the game player, not until the introduction of a new generation of video games by the Nintendo entertainment system which brought about changes in the game. On this note, Anderson and Bushman (2002) decided to carry out research on how the new video games initiated violence in the young ones. They introduced a model called the General Aggression Model (GAM) which focused on how violent video games influenced an individual’s behavior and way of thinking. This could only be controlled by studying how these video games affected the brains especially for those who were exposed to violent games at early stages of development. The main area of concern was about the violent contents of the games and their effect on growing adolescents. Connor et al (2004) define aggression to be a behavior that is controlled by external forces and leads to an unwanted trait in the individual.

Many researchers have conducted researches concerning the different ways in which violent video games affected the children in society. The main area of concern was the contents that were in the violent acts portrayed in the game and how it affected the psychology of those who watched the games because the game developers did not consider the effect of such videos on those who watched. An example of such violent video is the soldier of fortune which was released in early 2000 for home-based computers with their viewers accessing them while they were at home. Gentile et al (2004) illustrated that such a video consumed the viewer so much in that they felt they were more connected to those who were in the video.

It was found that in the past the video games were highly appreciated because it had a positive effect on its viewers but the present research studies by Spear (2000) confirmed that this conclusion was not true basing on the introduction of new technology in the market. A study conducted on 12-16-year-olds who were exposed to violent videos concluded that the rate of aggressiveness in them was high compared to those who did not access such games. Most data arrived at showed that there was a positive relationship between the video game watched and the level of aggression in children in that the higher the aggression rate the higher the exposure of the child to such scenes. Another research indicated a high level of aggression in fifth graders (ladies) when playing a violent game compared to when they played a game that was not violent. These experiments indicated the relationship between the two but it did not give clear evidence concerning the stated facts thus the question remained to be whether violent video games had any predictable effect on children.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which children are affected when they were exposed to violent games and if the effects are positive or negative. The study is conducted on a small group of students who watched any videogame. The research arrives at the hypothesis that those who watch violent video games have a high rate of aggression compared to those who did not watch violent video games. It also predicts that those who watch are affected physiologically leading to them being violent when dealing with situations in life.

Method: Participants and population
The participants of these research study include fifth-graders both male and female students who watch or never watch violent video games. Oppenheim’s (2000) questionnaire design of interview is adopted in order to arrive at reliable facts which give the real conclusion about the topic in question. The testing occurs in only 10 to 15min in a classroom setting. Conclusion will be based on what is arrived at after the completion of the assessment. The questions should be open-ended, such as’ how did you feel when you saw someone killed?’ ‘Can you kill if you are given an option to kill someone who has offended you?’

Independent Variables and Dependent Variables (Anderson and Bushman’s, 2002)
Indicates that personal character that makes up an individual and the situations, in which they are, interacts to bring about inner feelings that can be released to the outside in different forms. The internal state is defined by thoughts, arousal, and feelings which influences each other bringing about an effect to an individual that can be defined externally by how they behave and respond to situations surrounding them. All these factors will be interpreted by the brain which will then initiate an action taking place.

Spear (2000) in his study found out that video games can be of a good use to lonely children who due to their loneliness opt to play these games to participate with the person in the video who they take to be their friend. He also found out that those with antisocial order were the ones who portrayed a high rate of aggressiveness. He admitted that the interrelationship between the game and the one viewing the game is complicated and it sometimes depended on the personality of the watcher. GAM model indicated the complexity of the interrelationship between violent video games and aggressiveness. It claimed that the game was so addictive and those who were hostile in nature ended up being more hostile on exposure to such violent games. This is so because the viewer concludes that being hostile is appreciated and will opt to be just the way they are instead of correcting the bad habit. Those who were not hostile in nature demonstrated less aggression level when exposed to violent video games.

Gardner (2003) supports the fact that the level of aggressively among adolescents is high compared to the older generations who are not so much exposed. His application of GAM indicated that the adolescents underwent both biological and physical changes in their growing process and when they are exposed to violent acts in this tender age they tend to adapt to it more easily than mature persons. He also indicated that the internal state of adolescents is unstable and is easily influenced by the environment which then affects their feelings and how the to behave. Most of these viewers become desensitized in that they do not see the problem with committing a crime such as robbing a bank and killing. Their exposures to such stimuli have made them hard cores and are not usually scared of what might happen to them or to the other parties.

Limitations of Experiment
This experiment is conducted on a small group of individuals which does not extensively explore the real figures in the real world. The method of answering questionnaires gives the participants an opening to lie thereby providing results that are not reliable enough. There is also a conflicting conclusion pertaining to definitions’ of violence whereby it is found that each form of violence has a different impact on children. Some of the violent games make children grow bolder but this can also mean an increase in the rate of violence level.

Future Research
Gentile et al (2004) report that over 100% of school students in both elementary and high school levels have at once in their lifetime watched a violent video game. This illustrates that the games have become more popular and therefore research has to be done to ascertain the extent to which these video games affect the children. Past research conducted has been focusing on the violent side of this videos but some researchers have hypothesized that watching such videos can have a positive impact on the youth and to confirm this, research has to be conducted. It has been observed that some video games stimulate the brain cells thereby helping the mentally ill to connect with reality. Many individuals also play video games to make themselves alert and active instead of being idle. This boosts the power of their mind in that they can be able to be more creative and innovative. The games involving solving puzzles present a challenge to the player, therefore, gaining more insight to solving tricky situations in life. Researches have to be conducted to evaluate how this is true and if it’s true how they can be controlled by an individual. Some video games require coordination of the brain, the eye, and the hands in order to play it and this calls for future research which will ascertain the relationship between the three body parts above.

With the current advancement in technology, it is the responsibility of the parents to watch over what their children are exposed to. The effects of watching violent video games in children should be evaluated so that we can have a generation that is free from violent and aggressive behavior. 


Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2002). Human aggression. Annual Review of Psychology, vol 53, pp 27-51.

Connor, D. F., Steingard, R. J., Cunningham, J. A., Anderson, J. J., & Melloni, R. H. (2004). Proactive and Reactive Aggression in Referred to Children and Adolescents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol 74, pp 129-136.

Gardner, J. E. (2003). Can the Mario Brothers Help? Nintendo Games as an Adjunct in Psychotherapy in Children. Psychotherapy, Vol 28, pp 667-670.

Gentile, D. A., Lynch, P. J., Linder, J. R., & Walsh, D. A. (2004). The Effects of Violent Video Game Habits on Adolescent Hostility, Aggressive Behaviors, and School Performance. Journal of Adolescence, Vol 27, pp 5-22.

Oppenheim A.N. (2000) Questionnaire Design, Interviewing and Attitude Measurement. Continuum International Publishing Ltd, Hastings

Spear, L. P. (2000). The Adolescent Brain and Age-related Behavioral Manifestations. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Vol 24, pp 417-463.

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