Children should or should not be allowed to play violent video Games?
There is change in the overall genre of entertainment of kids of the contemporary era. There is access to the electronic gadgets and the latest X box integrated PC to even young children of these days. People do play all types of video games, right from doll houses, Spider man, car racing and WWF and so forth. For instance, Entertainment software Rating Board (ESRB) described the content of the several games in the Grand Theft auto series as "blood and gore, intense violence, strong sexual content, strong drug use"(Harvard newsletter). Young children specifically in the age group from 6 to 12 years age are mostly sensitive and they will be impacted by the content of the games. The content of the games will leave deep impressions on the psyche and emotional well being of the children. In the connection, the following part of the argumentative discussion is focussed to investigate, "whether children should be allowed or not to play the violent video games?". The following discussion will focus on critical examination of the reasons that are attributed to limit Children from playing violent video games.
Is there an relation and association between video games and aggression?
It is a worthy thing to decide whether the children should be or should not be allowed to play violent video games. There is tremendous change in the entertainment industry at present there is access to extreme violence in the form of video games. Young children of the age from 6 to 12 are mostly engaged in playing video games. They are highly vulnerable to the exposure violence through video games. Implications of such exposure can be disastrous; it will impact the mental and social health of the children and also has potential to disturb the physical health of the children. Hence it is advisable from the perspective of responsible parenting, not to let the children pay violent video games. The three attributes that makes the key argument to limit the Children from playing violent video games, include loss of mental health, loss of social well being and finally loss of physical health.
(i) Loss of physical health
One of the key characteristics of these violent games is their addiction property. Children will get addicted to playing violent video games all the day and this can have range of physical problems, like intense body strain, muscle cramps due to long hours of the same posture, strain in the eye muscles. Further the rays from the gaming screen can impact the bone health of the kids; they can either create weak points in the bone or alternatively will result in the weakening of the bone strength. Also the rays from the gaming screen and the continuous exposure to the same will impact the eye-sight of the young children. Other possible physical consequences of the long terms exposure to the video games in general and violent video games in particular can include complications like muscle pains, obesity, eye strain, sleep disorders. Neck pain problems and joint pains are also reported by children who used to do continuous playing for long time. Also the tender kids when exposed to extreme violence in the video games, it is more like that they will get into a type of flight or fight type of arousal conditions. There will be high release of adrenaline and dopamine production in the brain. Both these actions will trigger the children to stay for long time with sustained high blood pressure as well with increased heart rate. All these developments will make the children vulnerable to the heart attack in the later stages of life. Chronic adrenaline fatigue in the young children will also create complications like cancer and autoimmune disorders in children in the later ages of life. Also the investigative research into the brain development indicated that the children who are exposed to video gaming do not have their frontal lobe development in line with healthy kinds of their age. Frontal lobe atrophy is seen in the children who are addicted to video games. This will seriously impact their capacities of concentrations, reasoning and analytical capacities. It is like partial brain lagging with ineffective functioning. Chen et al(2019) indicated that the tendency of the violent video game watching is related to poor academic performance of the children.
(ii) Disturbance to the emotional well being of children
Violent games when they are played with other children of their age as well as on computer can result in intense frustration in the children who lost the game. These pshychological factors will result in problems like depression, anxiety, mood disorders etc. Emotional health of the children, who are continuously exposed to severe violence in the video games, will also get impacted by the same. They will adopt such violence in their own life and will develop emotional and mental deficiencies. They may not actually feel secured and will not develop decent emotional well being. This disturbance will be reflected in their attitude changes, swift mood change disorders and even develop hallucinations like in the schrezophreniya disease. The most serious part of the issue is that since the children are in the developing age, any impressions that forms on their tender brains will leave deep scars on it and they will be guiding their actions throughout in their life. Children with excess exposure to violence will develop three different traits like high neuroticism (Sigman, 2017) Characterized by anger and depression, emotionality, upset, and disagreeableness. Also, these children will develop low levels of conscientiousness (prone to act without thoughts and deliver false promises and will break rules)(Ayenigbara,2018). Lobel et al (2017) indicated that the psychological well being of the children will be deeply disturbed by the violent video game addiction; they provided evidence to the same by finding from longitudinal study of several minor aged kids.
(iii) Incompetency in social relations
Social health of the children is another key aspect that will be deeply impacted by the video game screening. It is possible for the children to intake the observations whatever they seen from the video games into reality. Since they are too young to distinguish the reality and the virtuality; they feel that are living in such violent world and start developing defence for the same. It will be seen in starting bullying the fellow kids, involving in violent manhandling the infants and children who are of lower age. Also it is possible for the children to develop aversion towards regular class rooms and social working in the class rooms. They may feel worried of getting bullied and harassed in class rooms and will not feel like attending the class rooms. This can seriously hamper their academic performance and sow wrong seeds in their development process. It is also possible that the physical development of bullying can make the children feel like getting worried of bullying in the class rooms and will make them distant from regular attendance to the classes. Emotional attachment with the family members, fellow children, friends and neighbours all will get disturbed due to the emotional imbalance which is likely to get induced by violent video game viewing in children. High levels of aggression which will become norm of the children will seriously impact the social well being of the kids and also becomes a problem for their parents or care takers. This is also possible that the excessive exposure to the violence in children will make them committed to the anti social activities in the later times of life like mass killings, horrific terrorising activities will be undertaken by them in the later parts of their life. A good step to curb the same is to refrain them by getting exposed to extreme violence, till the age they develop their own judgement and balance. American Academy of paediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Child and Adolescent psychiatry (AACAP) and other similar organizations expressed their opinions that the children exposed to strong violence in their childhood are more likely to involve in the real time violence and can harm other children (Harvard News letter). Dirandeh et al (2016) related the teenage violence to the involvement of the violent video games.
There are also arguments indicating that the violent video games provide scope for socializing of the kids as it is possible for 2 or 4 children sit together and socialize during the playing of the violent video games. Well, it need not be the case, children when they are playing in groups, they will develop socializing skills, however when they are playing violent video games, they will get involved in more aggressive interplay with children. Also socializing not only will be learnt from video games, there are several other healthy ways of socializing like academic learning centres, playing in the grounds, social family get together, moving for a festive occasions with families, learning to play music, dance etc. All these socializing activities can be stimulating and will make the young brains adaptive to different life challenges and will help them develop the necessary life skills for growth and success in life.
At the outset there is no any constructive benefit in watching video games which are violent and unhealthy for the emotional and mental aspects of the children. Continuous watching of the violent video games will not only create permanent physical problems but will create long time emotional and mental problems to the children. Since this is too young age for children to decide what is right and what not for them, it is also a moral and ethical responsibility of the care takers and parents to create the necessary well round environment for children for prospering in life. Hence it is very much necessary to curtail over exposure of violent video games by children. There can be very limited allowance on the grounds of socialization, but infact even that is not necessary for too young children. There is no need for allowing video games that are detrimental to the emotional, physical and mental health of the children. It is right to limit the overall exposure of the children to the video games and also specifically it is necessary to moderate the games which they are being exposed to. Even there can be authentic censoring body certifications by experts to rate the games which are good and which are not good for children of this age. These certifications will guide the parents to select the most appropriate games for their children. In essence, Children should not be allowed to play violent video games.
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