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Austin Singleton

Dr. Tess Evans

English 111
3 November 2014
Violence and Addiction: Online Gaming and Adolescents
Today, society presents itself with multiple forms of media. Television, radio,
newspapers, and (above all) the internet can be considered a vital piece in the lives of many
individuals. One source of media has seen a huge rise in popularity, especially among
adolescents. With many adults, teens and children alike, online gaming has seen a huge increase
in popularity. When my older brother turned eighteen years old, my family and I discovered that
his grades were slipping and he was spending copious amounts of time playing online games.
Not only were his grades slipping, he also seemed to be acting more violently when it came to
talking with his friends and my family. My family and I deduced that my brother was acting this
way due to his addiction to online games as well as the violent content that was presented in the
games he chose to play. Being personally affected by this, I have seen that online games are an
issue when not taken in moderation. I argue that online games are affecting some of the
adolescents of todays society because some teenagers are becoming so addicted to them. Also, I
argue that violent content in games is making some children and adolescents act in a more
aggressive manner. Society needs to pay attention to people who seem addicted or acting in a
violent manner to online gaming, and try to help that person by monitoring what they play and
how much video games they actually play.

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I plan to explain why society needs to pay attention to gaming habits of adolescents by
explaining the correlation of playing violent games and how the violent content can actually
affect teenagers, how being addictive to games affects an adolescent, and rebuttals to such
claims. Also, keep in mind that the claims I make are not towards all gamers. Understandably,
some gamers arent affected by the violence in games, nor are they addicted to the games. Some
people are addicted and are affected negatively by the violent content that is within games, which
is the underlying problem in society today.
Adolescents who play games are exposed to multiple factors that make up the game. In
some video games, that factor is violent content. Some teenagers might not be affected by the
content. Other adolescents will re-enact the violence in the games that they are playing
(Willoughby et al. 1044). If teenagers are re-enacting this content, then it may be of concern to
why they are acting that certain way. Teena Willoughby, Paul J. C. Adachi and Marie Good from
Brock University provide insight that violence in video games is affecting the adolescents of
today and they found out why. Playing violent video games can create or activate networks of
aggressive thoughts, emotions, and memories through aggressive cues, such as feelings of
frustration or violent imagery, (1044). That being said, adolescents who play violent games are
prone to react in a violent or aggressive manner to a situation based upon how they situation is
presented. For example, if someone is angry at the adolescent who plays video games and yells
at them, the teenager may perform an action they have seen in a violent game in reaction to the
yelling. These actions can even be seen in children as young as four years old. Graeme Paton,
Education Editor for The Telegraph has shared information on some educators observations on
children in their school who have been given unlimited access to video gaming consoles at home.
[Miss Sherratt] says her class of four and five-year-olds was seen in the playground throwing

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themselves out of the windows of the play car in slow motion and acting out blood spurting from
their bodies to mimic scenes from violent games. If young children are re-enacting the scenes
from these violent video games, then actions might have to be taken to limit the access to these
violent games so that aggressive behaviors cease to continue. Violence present in video games
should be taken seriously with adolescents as well. If children are re-enacting the scenes of
violence, it shows that the violent content of games have made them more aggressive and made
them act a certain way. While adolescents may not re-enact scenes from games on purpose, they
may act out in a violent or aggressive manner, since they have experienced so much violence to a
game they have recently played.
Along with the violence of games, addiction to online games is a problem. Kimberly
Young, a representative of The Center for Internet Addiction Recovery in Bradford,
Pennsylvania agrees that addiction to games has become a serious problem. Talking about how
ten percent of Chinas internet gamers are addicted, she states that up to ninety percent of young
Americans (adolescents and children) play online games and up to fifteen percent may be
addicted to them (356). Being close to five million children, that data is alarming. With addiction
being a problem in itself for adults, children are just as threatened, if not more threatened, by
addiction than adults are. Young mentions that the Netherlands has opened up the first Detox
Center for Video Game Addiction and she quotes the founder of the center stating that as
harmless as video games look, they can be just as addictive as gambling or even drugs (356).
With games being so addictive, as compared to gambling, an individual can wonder what the
negative effect of being addicted to gaming actually is. Gaming addicts willing forgo sleep,
food and real human contact just to experience more time in the virtual world, (Young 358).
When a person is addicted to playing video games so much that they neglect the basic necessities

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of the human body, it is considered a large threat and problem; that individual could become
more prone to being sick or worse, they could perish. A valid question arises stating what could
possibly make gaming addicts neglect their basic needs. Young states that online games have
characters who grow in strength, smarts and even agility, which propels gaming addicts to spend
a great deal of time developing their character, since they have become attached to them (358). If
gaming addicts are becoming so attached to their characters thus making the gamer addicted to
their games, then they need to seek out help so that they can detox their huge addiction to the
online world. If they dont, they might neglect needs that are essential to their body such as the
aforementioned neglect of eating and sleeping.
Some individuals, who play video games, seem to think that violence in video games are
not affecting our adolescents, nor the teenagers of todays society are becoming addicted to
online gaming. Eddie Makcuch, news editor for Gamespot seems to think that violent video
games are not affecting the world. Research show[s] that there is no evidence that violent video
games are positively correlated to real-world crime rates in the United States. Makcuch also
presents three line graphs that show video game sales, homicides, and aggravated assaults in the
United States from 2007 to 2011. A first glance, his presentation of data might prove that he is
correct, but looking at the data he presents again, one can see that he might have been too broad
with his topics in the line graphs. Makcuch could have used data from the total number of crimes
around the world, since crime doesnt only happen in the United States. Same rule applies to the
sales of video games; he could have used data from around the world as well. Also, the
presentation of what ages of gamers are purchasing said games could have helped too, since
adolescent aggression and addiction is the concerning issue of todays society. Susan Perry,
writer for MinnPost, suggests that she is agreement with Makcuch. Perry quotes Vaughn Bell, a

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writer for a British newspaper, stating that research has found that violent games have caused
short term aggression in players, but they have no negative long-term consequences. If violent
games are causing any aggression whatsoever, then it is still an issue. In the short-term
aggression period that people experience after playing a violent game, they may lash out on a
friend or relative. Possibly, the aggressor who plays games could go out and commit a crime; it
all depends on the individual.
Along with the topic of violence in games, people also disagree that adolescents are
getting addicted to online gaming. Simon Treanor, writer for Planet Ivy states that gaming
addiction is not a serious issue. The only time there was ever a problem with me putting off the
more important jobs [in order to play games] was almost exclusively because I really, really,
really didnt want to do them [the jobs]. Treanor also claims that he never really had an
addiction to playing games after explicitly stating that he plays too many video games. That
being said, one could question why Treanor did not want to do his work and rather play games.
To him, this may seem like he just didnt feel like doing his work; to others, this seems like he
did not have his priorities straight and instead wanted to play video games. Bottom line, he might
have had a problem with not getting his work done which might be considered priority issues.
Some individuals who practice what Treanor did, this might be considered an addiction problem.
Tying back to Youngs ideas, a gaming addict might skip out on certain necessary activities in
order to play games. If a person skips out on their homework, chores or even their job, it might
be a less serious case of gaming addiction, but is considered an addiction.
Im not saying that online games as well as games in general need to begotten of, but I do
think that people need to take caution when playing them. I am a gamer, however I do not
neglect necessary things I need to do and I do not act in a violent manner. Not everyone is

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affected by games in a negative manner, however some people are. Society needs to take care of
and look out after its adolescents and children who have become addicted to video games and are
acting in a violent manner to said games. The teenagers of the current generation are going to be
the future leaders of the world, and I for one do not want individuals who are seriously addicted
to anything lead the next generation of children and adolescents. Bottom line, violent behaviors
and addiction that are correlated to online gaming needs to be monitored and taken care of, for
the betterment of society as a whole, as well as the children and adolescents who are affected by
such addiction and violence.

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Works Cited
Makuch, Eddie. Violent Video Games Dont Lead to Increase in Violent Crimes, Study Finds.
GameSpot. 19 Sept. 2014. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.
Paton, Graeme. Violent Video Games are Fuelling Rise in Aggressive Behaviour: Children as
Young as Four are Re-Enacting Scenes from Ultra-Violent Video Games at School After
Being Given Free Access to Consoles in the Home, According to Teachers Leaders.
The Telegraph 3 Apr. 2012. LexisNexis News. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Perry, Susan. Violent Video Games Not Shown to Cause Real-World Violence. Minnpost. 8
Jan. 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.
Treanor, Simon. Video games arent addictive, youre just messed up. Planet Ivy. 14 Nov.
2013. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
Willoughby, Teena, Paul J. C. Adachi, and Marie Good. A Longitudinal Study of the
Association between Violent Video Game Play and Aggression among Adolescents.
Developmental Psychology. 48. (2012): 1044-1057. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24
Oct. 2014.
Young, Kimberly. Understanding Online Gaming Addiction and Treatment Issues for
Adolescents. American Journal of Family Therapy. 37. (2009): 355-372. Academic
Search Complete. Web. 23 Oct. 2014

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Letter of Reflection
Initially, I decided to do Inquiry 3 on just video game violence and how it affects teens.
After researching that, I figured out that most of the academic sources and popular sources had
the same argument (that is the academic were the same as each other and the popular were the
same as each other.) After going through conferences with my instructor, she shed new light on
my subject, and that is when I incorporated addiction into my argument, so that I can get
multiple viewpoints on how video games affect teenagers of today.
After peer review, I noticed that I had a great amount of grammatical errors, so I fixed
those and redid my works cited page from my annotated bibliography, since nearly all of my
sources were scrapped and I had to research anew. After being done with research and my zero
draft, I decided to formulate a plan of attack. I chose to analyze how violent content in games
affects teens, followed by how addiction to games is a problem for teens and then the counter
arguments for each.
Since this topic is more modern, there werent many peer-reviewed journals about it, but
the journals I did happen to find (after refining my topic) were excellent and had a great deal of
information in it.
I believe the strong point in my paper is my argument that some teens are becoming more
violent due to the violent content in games while the weak point in my paper is my rebuttal
against how violent content in games isnt affecting people.
What I learned throughout this assignment is to utilize academic journals (since I havent
used them before) and how to correctly cite sources that need to be cited. Also, I learned how to
organize my notes through an annotated bibliography.