Videogames: A Leisure Activity With Negative Consequences

by emsh98 on April 25, 2017 - 4:49pm

             Playing video games is a popular activity where people resort to for fun. Video games are commonly played amongst many adolescents, are quite addictive and can be played for hours. On the other hand, video games that have violent content may come with some negative consequences if teenagers are exposed to them too much or, are addicted to playing violent video games. For instance, Call of Duty Black Ops is a violent video game played by many teenagers that may be a contributor to aggressive behaviour. Furthermore, violent video games can influence a teenager’s behaviour which leads to aggression. The utilitarianism framework is the best philosophical model to support that the risks and consequences are a negative outcome. The videogame industry does not  significantly take the behavioural consequences into account before releasing the game therefore, creating a bad outcome for adolescents.   

                According to a research study, the amount time playing video games peaks during the time of adolescence (Exelmans, 267-268). On average, in 2009, teenagers spent approximately an hour and fifteen minutes a day playing video games where ninety percent of videogames contain violent content and forty percent consisted of major violence against other characters (268). This study shows how popular videogames are for adolescents and how often they are exposed to violence on a daily basis. Additionally, since so many teenagers are exposed and engaged in virtual violence, it is evident that there is a link between aggressive behaviour and violent videogames.  Moreover, due to the time consumed for playing videogames, it is difficult to eliminate aggressive behaviour in adolescents who engage in these games.

                Call of Duty consists of missions to kill enemy soldiers or to murder zombies that attempt to attack the player and his or her friends. Weapons are used at all times such as a variety of guns, knives and grenades (Call of Duty Black Ops). Coarse language is also said throughout the video game (Call of Duty). According to a study, as an adolescent is exposed and engaged to more violent video games, they are more likely to become aggressive (Bushman, Psychology Today).  Engaging in violent videogames can be more harmful than watching a violent film or television show (Psychology Today). Videogames are more influential to teens because they are active while playing the game, rewards are given and they take on the identity of a violent character (Psychology Today).  In relation to Call of Duty, teenagers who are exposed to such a violent video game can become more aggressive due to the fact that they are engaged in virtually killing others. Additionally, as a player is on a mission, they get rewarded with points or have the chance to gain more ammunition (Call of Duty). Utilitarianism, can support this argument because the outcome of being exposed to a violent video game is negative. Since there is evidence that supports aggression is linked to exposure of violence, teens who do play Call of Duty are not reaching the summun bonum, the greatest good for humanity. Altered negative behaviour does not benefit an individual to reach the greatest good and create happiness for the community. It causes harm to the individual’s surroundings and the aggressive actions do not benefit anyone. Overall, aggressive behaviour and actions adopted from violent videogames such as Call of Duty is considered unethical.

                Violent video games such as Call of Duty can also desensitize the players which supports the fact that violent video games contribute to increasing aggression. Another study has shown that violent video games construct a certain portrayal for men and women (Gabbiadin, 3). The “ideal man” is portrayed as brave, aggressive and to hold back any feelings while women are portrayed as sex objects and submissive (Gabbiadin, 3). Call of Duty only consists of male characters which are aggressive towards one another because each one is a soldier and their main objective is to attain a high kill count (Call of Duty). This portrayal of man is the reason why some teens are influenced to act in an aggressive manner. Between the violence and the construct of the characters in Call of Duty, some teens may become desensitized to the violence and to aggressive attitude from other players. Another study conducted by the American Psychology Association found that there is a link to violent games and aggressive behaviour (Sifferlin, Time). Furthermore, results show that an individual is more likely to become less sensitive towards aggression and lack empathy (Sifferlin, Time). Utilitarianism defends that violent video games is a risk factor because some teens who try to meet the “ideal man” standards means that they have again, been influenced to act with a negative attitude. Therefore, become desensitized and insensitive. With utilitarianism, one can argue that adopting an aggressive attitude does not create happiness for the community because aggression is a quality that does not benefit others and only causes trouble.

                A solution to resolve the issue of aggressive attitude is quite difficult due to the exposure of violent video games in the studies mentioned previously. One solution may be to have more noticeable and specific warnings about the graphic content, the main content and objectives of the video game. This way individuals who buy this game will have an understanding that the game involves a significant amount of violence. Another solution is to find other activities to let out the aggressiveness from violent video games such as doing a sport, reading or socializing with friends. By doing all of these activities, one will be exposed to violent content less often and therefore, are less likely to develop aggressive behaviour.

                In conclusion, utilitarianism supports the fact that violent videogames lead to a bad outcome since it is not ethical to be aggressive towards others. Adolescents are playing videogames more often which increases the likelihood of aggressive behaviour. Videogames such as Call of Duty consists engaging in violence against other characters therefore, a good example that can lead to aggressive behaviour. Although eliminating violent videogames is impossible, engaging in other activities such as socializing with friends or doing physical activity is a way to let out aggression. If these activities are done to counterbalance the amount of time reserved for videogames, then an individual will more likely be exposed to videogames less often. In the end, will less likely to adopt aggressive behaviour.

Works Cited

Bushman, Brad J. “Do violent video games increase aggression?” Psychology Today, 2012 Jan 27, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-psyched/201201/do-violent-video-games-increase-aggression

               Call of Duty Black Ops. Treyarch, 2010. Xbox 360.

Exelmans, Liese, et al. "Violent Video Games and Delinquent Behavior in Adolescents: A Risk Factor Perspective." Aggressive Behavior, vol. 41, no. 3, May/Jun2015, pp. 267-279. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1002/ab.21587.

Gabbiadini, Alessandro, et al. "Acting Like a Tough Guy: Violent-Sexist Video Games, Identification with Game Characters, Masculine Beliefs, & Empathy for Female Violence Victims." Plos ONE, vol. 11, no. 4, 13 Apr. 2016, pp. 1-14. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152121.

Sifferlin, Alexandra. “Violent Video Games Are Linked to Aggression, Study Says” Time, 2015 August 17, http://time.com/4000220/violent-video-games/

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