Violent Video Games

Video games have become more and more realistic as the world has gained new technologies. Video games today have characters who look exactly like people, the background scenery takes on real world settings, and when you shoot, slice, or blow stuff up blood and body parts fly. Many people, especially parents, like to blame these video games for shootings that happen at schools, movie theaters, or anywhere that this occurs. Instead of blaming video games for these horrific events we need to look at what is really causing these shootings to happen.

In our book Practical Argument: A Text and Anthology by Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell there is an article When Life Imitates Video by John Leo, and he talks about “Dress Rehearsal”. He is referring to the fact that many of these kids who are “maltreated or rejected and left alone most of the time” are putting their feelings of “resentment, powerlessness, and revenge” into these violent video games. He says that because of these feelings it can be a “dress rehearsal for the real thing.” What he is saying is that kids are using violent video games to practice for the real thing, but shouldn’t we focus more on why these kids are feeling this need to constantly play video games and not interact with the real world.

We first need to look at the parents of these violent children, and find out why they are neglecting their kids and allowing them to play these video games in the first place. There is a reason why there is a specified age limit on video games. Unfortunately, parents don’t know what they are getting their kids, and are just buying their kids these video games to keep their kids happy so they don’t have to deal with them. Many parents today do not spend time with their  children the way that they should, and this leads to the resentment, neglect, and revenge that John Leo was talking about in his article. Instead of putting the blame on the parents who are making there kids feel this way Leo says that it is the video games that are allowing the kids to practice for the real thing. I do not believe this to be true though. It is the fact that parents aren’t spending time with their kids the way that they need to, and then buying their children violent video games to keep them happy and out of the way so they don’t have to deal with their own kids.

I have been playing video games since the days of Atari. Video games have most definitely become more violent since then. When i was growing up I use to play Contra which is an early shooting game, but wasn’t very realistic. As I grew older though and new video game consoles started coming out, so did  more violent games. One video game in particular was Mortal Kombat which was wanted by all kids who played video games. When Mortal Kombat first came out i was around age 10, and my parents told me that i was to young to have this video game. I was very disappointed and probably kicked and screamed but no matter what my parents did not go buy me the game. Mortal Kombat though is not a realistic video game, it does not have any bad language, and there was no talking to other people in different parts of the world like there is today in video games.


Now a days I play video games like Call of Duty, Battlefield 3, Gears of War, GTA,  and other violent video games, but I am also much older and understand that these are just video games. When I am playing online against other people all over the world there are kids as young 8 years old on there playing a video game that is rated for someone who is 17 and up. There is lots of strong language being used in the video games, and between the people playing the video games. There are many times that these 8 year old kids are swearing more and more than the adults they are playing against. Sometimes they scream at people they are playing against, or just scream at the game because they were killed in the game. I do not think it is wise for the parents of these children to allow them to take part in playing these video games until they are old enough to understand that it is just a game. We need to stop blaming the video games, because the vast majority of people who play these games do not go out and kill people. We do not blame cars for drunk driving, we do not blame guns for killing people, and we also should not blame video games for being a “dress rehearsal” for children. It is not the equipment, because the equipment can not be used unless a person is operating it. We need to start at the source, and when it comes to the children who do the shootings at these public areas they are usually found to be outcasts and neglected children of parents. We need to teach parents how to be better parents, and not just buy their kids what ever they want just so they don’t have to deal with them. Parents need to spend the required time with their children so they don’t feel the hate or need for revenge that they are having.


2 thoughts on “Violent Video Games

  1. I’ve seen this sort of thing with kids first hand. When I was in high school I had friend who’s eight year old little brother played lots of violent videos games, most of them online. Thinking back to when I spent a lot of time with this family I realized that their parents didn’t spend a ton of time with their kids. And when their father spent time with them it was usually while they played video games. Playing video games was mostly the only thing that little boy ever did and if it wasn’t video games it was action figures (which are of course used to role play violence too). So when this kid got upset or angry it seemed he go from 0 to “I hate your entire being” in an instant. He’d clench his jaw, intensify his eyes, and yell trough is teeth and sometime’s he’d grab the person and attempt to hurt them by squeezing as hard as he could or hit (I can’t really remember any times he actually hit but I think he did at least once). I think because violence is all he’s ever immersed in that’s the only way he knew how to vent his anger. And the parents never successfully punished him for it. They’d just send him to his room where his toys were (yeah super effective discipline). So you’re right, it’s just bad parenting that these kids are being affected negatively from violent games. When parents don’t care what the kids play or don’t give them the attention they crave, the games are all they have to learn from as an example or role model.

  2. This was a very insightful post. At first i thought you were going to put the blame on video games for violence acted out by kids but thank goodness you didn’t! I completely agree with you that it isn’t the games that are triggering the feelings of violence, it’s the parents. The reason these kids are turning to video games and acting out badly is because they feel resentment, isolated, and probably feel they have nowhere else to turn. I think that parents should really look into their chillds lives before being so quick to blame video games for their childs behavior. I do not play video games such as the ones you listed, however i know people that do play those games and they are simply just having fun and interacting with other people in some good old fashioned competition, i mean that’s really all there is to it. The “Dress Rehearsal” thing is so ridiculous. Could it possibly be true though? Yes, maybe. For the most part i just think that’s so far from the real reasons why these kids play the games and what causes them to act out. Like you said, i’m sure that if parents spend more time with their children and talk to them more about how they feel then the source of their behavior will become clearer.

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