Are Video Games Ruining the Lives of Children?

Zaire Giles, Writer

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Nowadays, the world is completely surrounded and dependent on the internet. No matter where a person goes he/she will most likely see a smart phone, computer, or some other form of the internet connecting all types of people in different sizes, ages, and personalities. The ones who are the most vulnerable and valuable on the World Wide Web, are children who constantly use the internet for mostly entertainment purposes unaware of some things they may encounter especially through the most likely popular form of entertainment up to date, video games. Are the video games presented to people nowadays, appropriate for children use or are they so vulgar that they may potentially ruin the lives of youth on this Earth?

According to the NPD, 91 percent of children (ages ranging from 2-17) in the U.S play video games which is about 64 million children in total. These numbers had increased by 13 percent from 2009 to 2011. Across this time frame, many popular video games were introduced to the gaming world that may have attracted the younger audience due to their violent aspects. These games include hits like; Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed II, Left 4 Dead 2 (2009), Red Dead Redemption, Call of Duty: Black Ops, God of War III (2010), Batman: Arkham City, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011.) All of the games listed are definitely violent in some sort of way, with aspects ranging from lots of gun usage, over use of melee attacks, constant street fights, or even just explosions here and there. Even though this is true, not every game across that time frame from 2009- 2011 was violent and popular. Games such as Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009), Fifa 11 (2010), and Portal 2 (2011), had featured little to no violence at all despite still being popular games with the gaming community.

Even though many games from 6-8 years ago had appeared to be popular due to their violent tendencies, there is no telling if the same outcome can be said about more recent video games that may have changed the theme of violence along the course of a few years. I had conducted a survey of six 2016-2017 games, that are popular and/or are about to be released. The people who were surveyed on these games, were asked if the game was violent or not (based on their knowledge of the game or the picture provided) and on a scale of 1-10, how violent or inappropriate would the game be for children. The “If the game is violent yes/no” results appeared as follows: 5 yes & 14 no (Overwatch), 10 yes & 14 no (Hello Neighbor), 3 yes & 16 no (Pokémon GO), 13 yes & 1 no (Ghost Recon: Wildlands), 4 yes & 14 no (The Last Guardian), and 13 yes & 0 no (For Honor.) These results apparently show how people nowadays see video games has nonviolent with the ‘yes’ total coming down to 48 and the ‘no’ total coming down to 59. This shows how even teens themselves believe that video games nowadays are not so violent and are less violent than they were a few years ago. A surprising conclusion that was made in this survey though, was the fact that the “on a scale from 1-10 how violent/inappropriate is this game for children?’ part of the survey, was split down the middle with 5 being the media. This shows how even though people see games nowadays more of the nonviolent type, that certain games can also appear violent as well to a certain degree but it honestly just comes down to the type of game.

It seems as though many video games nowadays are perceived as nonviolent for children of all ages to play at their extent. Even if many people see it as this way, it still always good to make sure of what kind of game you, a child, or anyone is getting themselves into. Though no matter what is said about games being nonviolent or violent, at the end of the day it is still agreed by many that games are a great way to pass the time.

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