The damaging effects of violent video games on America’s youth


Jake Pagnotto, Photographer

Video games worldwide have evolved tremendously over the last several years. Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto V, some of the most violent games on the market, consistently keep a high player count. Though these games include violence, that does not mean they immediately cause uncontrollable behaviors towards friends and family members.

People should find it concerning that parents let their children buy these games at such a young, impressionable age. Seemingly, many parents do not understand the content of these games and how it could form a negative influence on their child’s behavior.

The game Grand Theft Auto V came out four years ago and continues to keep players online. When the game released on September 17, 2013, people bought the game for around $60 per copy, leading to a total profit of approximately $2,079,480,000 in sales since the release of the game. Grand Theft Auto V quickly became the second best-selling video game, selling around 52 million copies as of March 31, 2015. This should concern several parents that kids and teens would play such a game, as it depicts violent crime throughout. It can expose children to a new world, without teaching them that the actions shown can destroy not only their own lives, but the lives of others.

Video games in general can also make kids anti-social because it consumes several hours of their day. These games exist as part of popular culture, but they can cause drama and make people that play them less social. This time away from family and friends can deteriorate relationships, and even prevent those that play in excess from developing lasting connections with people. It should concern people that some would rather spend their time in a virtual world, rather than in the real world.

Because teenagers across the nation cannot control how long they play games, the graphics affect the way they think. On December 2, 2011 a team of researchers headed by Dr. Vincent Matthews of Indiana University studied the behaviors of 28 students after either playing violent first-person shooter games or nonviolent video games everyday for a week. The study showed that the students playing violent games experienced a temporary change in brain function, pointing to more aggressive thought patterns.

According to comScore, 700 million individuals play online games, amounting to 44 percent of the world’s online population. 1.2 billion people around the world play video games, which easily includes a large portion of America’s youth.

Because these violent video games can affect the way people think or what they become exposed to, parents should keep close watch of what their children play.