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Facts About the Effects of Violent Video Games

People’s ideas about violent video games and their effects often clash. However, there is information gleaned from studies that can enlighten players, and non-game players about how this activity can be detrimental or beneficial. At present, it is thought that only a select few can achieve a boost to their wellbeing by engaging in violent video games.

People often disagree about the true effects of violent video games. Those who like to play them will tell you that they personally do not impact on them adversely, and that they are simply a form of entertainment. Some may even insist that aggressive computer games help them release pent up negative emotion, and ultimately make them calmer.

Other people think that violent video games promote violence; often more than TV violence, as a player is actively involved in the game, and is rewarded for joining in with virtual violent acts of aggression. The truth about video games and violence however, is a mixed bag.

Recently studies have revealed that there is one sector of people, namely soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, who may benefit from playing violent video games. Apparently doing so can help them have fewer nightmares than usual, and nightmares are just one terrible symptom of PTSD.

There is a theory that players become desensitized to violent images, and that this can work in a positive or negative way. People who are less sensitive to aggressive images may feel less empathy with victims of crime, and so be less ethically inclined to refrain from actual acts of violence, as they feel less.

On the other hand, soldiers who have been to war and witnessed real-life violence first hand may find that games can help lessen internal images that plague them as they sleep.

So far, there is little other evidence to suggest that violent video games can have a positive impact on players. It has been recognized that viewing violence repeatedly has the potential at least, to be harmful.

Players who refuse to believe that engaging in violent games is detrimental often disengage from reality when viewing the subject, assuming that although some people may be damaged by playing, they are different. It can be hard to assess your own behavior when you do not have concrete evidence that you personally are being badly affected. Therefore, until they commit an act of violence, they assume they are okay and no harm is being done.

This poses a problem, as it means that people who definitely are becoming desensitized via violent video games may not recognize it until its too late. Studies show us that desensitization can reveal itself in lesser ways initially, than actual violent acts. For example, players may begin being less sensitive to other people’s problems and less caring if game playing is having a negative effect.

Violent video games are of course, legal which means people have a right to play them if they want to. However, it is necessary that they understand the full risks involved regarding how their behavior may change adversely, their relationships become damaged, and ultimately why they could find real life violence less objectionable after playing games.

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Comments (5)

This is quite scary..

Excellent analysis. Thank you.

It seems like entertainment to a point but can create problems.

Ranked #3 in Psychology

Interesting discussion. I think we will know some damaging results of these in years to come for some individuals. Thank you for your research.

Some of these games are quite scary.  I can't imagine playing them.