The attributed to the actions of a seventeen-year-old gamer

The marine stands in a hanger bay with a gun in his hand. He looks around and finds some armor and health packs. As he moves through the area, he finds a door and opens it. Ahead of him, he sees possessed men carrying weapons. In order to defend himself he shoots straight at them. Instantly, they are dead. He picks up their equipment and continues on. This is the opening scene of the violent, first-person shooter game called Doom (1993). Violence in video games is a very controversial topic among many people because of how it affects the minds of young children when they are exposed to violence repeatedly in their early years. One of the first major school shootings attributed to the actions of a seventeen-year-old gamer and an eighteen-year-old gamer occurred at a high school in Columbine, Colorado in 1999. In 2012, another shooting from an alleged twenty-year-old gamer occurred at an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. In the Columbine shooting there were thirteen victims, and twenty-six victims at Sandy Hook. Both of these tragedies cannot be completely attributed to violence in video games. However, there is evidence that violence in video games leads to aggressive and severe anger behaviors, poor school performance, and bullying.One serious effect of violent video games is the aggressive and severe anger behaviors that can result from the amount of time spent playing these games. It is estimated that as many as eighty-nine percent of video games on the market include violent content and about half of these include acts of violence against game characters resulting in serious injury or death (Glaubke et al 6). When playing a violent video game, the player becomes a part of the game’s script. This allows them to decide what they want to do within the game world as the character that they are playing. In first-person shooter games, the player’s objective is to gather weapons, for instance, as they progress through the game environment to be used against the enemies they encounter as they move to the checkpoints that they must reach. After each checkpoint, the player receives new instructions which will help them with the next level. The ultimate goal is to survive until the player reaches the end of the game. If the player dies along the way, the game sends them back to the last checkpoint. Therefore, it could take hours and hours to finish a game completely. A study from The Journal of Adolescence shows that boys play an average of thirteen hours a week while girls play an average of five hours a week (Gentile et al 6). The reason for the higher play time for boys may be because of the presentation that the game offers. The realistic graphics tend to excite boys more and spark their interest in the game’s story line.The amount of time spent playing video games also contributes to how children learn from video games. A study by Gentile and Gentile published in The Journal of Youth & Adolescence reviewed two hypotheses on how violent video games teach children aggressive behaviors. The first hypothesis proposed that children who play multiple violent video games learn “aggressive tactics” that can be used from game to game. This means that those who play more games learn more aggressive behaviors than those who play less. The second hypothesis proposes that the more time spent playing a game over long periods of time improves “long-term learning.” This means that children who play violent video games more frequently over time remember the aggressive behaviors they have learned more than those who play the same games less frequently. Their study found evidence to support both of these hypotheses (Gentile and Gentile 3).Aggressive behaviors are learned over time but today’s technology is also contributing to learned aggressive behaviors. The advanced graphics in today’s game technology have created a more “realistic” experience for gamers who enjoy violent play. When video games first appeared on the market, they were made with very primitive pixels. Objects were created from pixels, so they weren’t clearly defined. As technology advanced over the 1980s and 1990s, video games were beginning to look more and more realistic. When it was released in December of 1993, Doom was the very first violent blockbuster in gaming. The game dealt with a space marine fighting back against a demonic invasion on the planet Mars. When enemies were killed using a variety of weapons, they would either lose a lot of blood or explode in an extremely graphic animation scheme. The violence in the game caused huge controversy and led to complaints about how realistic it was (ProCon.org). The visual technology that is presented to children draws them in with both interest and excitement. Because children’s minds are developing, it is believed that they may have difficulty separating themselves from the fantasy world presented in violent video games (Villani et al 527).As gamers see advanced violent graphics over and over again in games, they are beginning to develop immunity to the horrors of violence. In one study by Craig Anderson of The Journal of Adolescence, Anderson compared the effect of violent video game violence to the effect of lung cancer caused by second-hand smoking (Anderson 120). He believes the effects of exposure to violent games is even larger than the effects of second-hand smoke, but not much research has been done on the effects of violent video games according to him. Every year, new games containing even more graphic violence are created. As gamers play these new titles, they are not shocked by the game’s content. When gamers see any bloody acts in a similar game franchise, they dismiss the violence as having seen it before in different titles. The immunity to the horrors of violence carries over to what gamers see on television and the news. They are no longer shocked by the violence that they see in the real world (Anderson and Dill 778).Besides the effects on aggressive behaviors, violent video games are also linked to poor school performance. In a study from the Mental Health Nursing Institution, the authors created a hypothesis to prove that time spent on video games affected the performance of school students in regards to their grades. This hypothesis is known as the “Displacement Effect.” The hypothesis states that the amount of time spent on games takes away from academic, social, and physical activities (Hastings et al 639). Other studies that also support this hypothesis showed that young gamers spent thirteen percent less time on reading and thirteen-four percent less time on homework (Cummings and Vandewater 684).Another study published in Pediatrics shows that while the amount of time spent playing video games takes away from studying, the content of violent video games affects a student’s attention to schoolwork. The study suggests that as the games become more violent and children are stimulated by them, they continue to seek out more games that will provide stimulation. Schoolwork does not provide the same stimulation and therefore their attention is swayed away from their schoolwork (Sharif and Sargent 169).The most important finding in regard to school performance and aggressive behaviors at school is that the amount of play affects school performance, whereas the content of violent video games affects aggressive behaviors (Gentile et al 6). This has been found true for both boys and girls, however, because boys are naturally more aggressive than girls and typically spend more time playing games than girls do, they are more at risk for aggressive behaviors at school (Gentile et al 19).In addition to less time spent on schoolwork and attention issues, violent video games are also increasing aggressive behaviors towards teachers. The amount of play that children spend on video games is linked to arguments with teachers (Gentile et al 16). However, it was found that gamers get into more physical fights with peers than arguments with teachers. The arguments the gamers have with teachers may not be as aggressive as the physical fights they have with their peers, because the gamers experience more fights in their games than arguments in their games (Gentile et al 18).It is clear from many studies that aggressive behaviors and poor school performance result from violence in video games, but the effects of violent video games also cause the dangerous behaviors of a bully. A bully is someone who targets weaker individuals soon they appear to be the tougher, more powerful person. A bully usually does not understand the pain that he is inflicting upon his target. Mary Hicks of The Washington Times cited a 2011 study from researchers at Simmons College which looked at how moral reasoning develops in children between ages seven and fifteen who play video games (Hicks Washington Times). The study pointed out that video games don’t provide a “perspective on the suffering of others.” Gamers who constantly play violent video games may not see what is wrong with hurting other people. This is referred to as the “desensitization of emotions.” The games don’t involve any type of emotions from the gamer’s character or from their victims. As you shoot one enemy you immediately move onto the next. The study states that it is these gaming situations which are affecting the development of moral reasoning in children and leading to bullying.The desensitization of emotions explains how quickly a gamer can emulate what he sees in a first-person shooter game. In first-person games, players assume the role of the main character and make decisions on role playing as the main character. Studies show that the gamer, after just a short time of playing their character, can “easily turn on aggressive thoughts.” This may explain why a gamer, who is also a bully, can easily target a victim (Norcia). In addition, studies show that gamers with aggressive tendencies have a greater fear of perceived threats from others (Bushman and Anderson 1680). Gamers tend to see other actions from others as intentional harm rather than accidental mistakes. Because of their aggressive behaviors that they have learned from video games, they react more quickly and aggressively. Bushman and Anderson found that playing a violent video game for just twenty minutes lead the gamer to respond to potential conflicts with an aggressive reaction (Bushman and Anderson 1683). The study also showed that gamers expected the characters that they are role playing to “react more aggressively even though the character was not facing a threatening situation.” They concluded that the violence which gamers are experiencing teaches them that the world is a dangerous place and that violence is the answer to all conflicts, whether the conflicts are dangerous or not.After fighting through waves of enemies, the marine reaches the end of the hanger bay, picks up any remaining items lying around him, and flips a switch, thus ending the first stage of Doom (1993). But the first-person shooter game is not over. The violence continues in the second stage. And as visual technology improves over the next couple of years, new titles in the gaming industry will present even more realistic violence that will cause new controversy between gamers and non-gamers. It is important to know that the research behind the effects of violent video games is detailed well enough, but more will need to be done in order to understand the link between violence in video games and the effects to a child’s developing mind. Until it is understood how extensively violent video games cause aggressive behaviors, poor school performance, and bullying, deadly school shootings and other violent acts are possible results from the minds of gamers who have spent countless hours playing such games as Doom, Call of Duty, and Battlefield.