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Video games came into our living room and into our life about 50 years ago. As the technology for the games improved, people recognized it as a business opportunity. With money making as the sole aim, game developers thought it fit to feed the basic cravings of humans – violence, vulgarity and perverseness. And they have been unleashing their despicable fare on the unsuspecting but highly impressionable young minds of children all these years. Researches conducted by organizations like, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association have concluded that there is evidence of the cause-effect relationship between television violence and aggression among the children who watch it.
The perpetrators of this crime of poisoning young minds may argue that they do not force their ware and they rate their product as per the guidelines of Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). But the Federal Trade Commission investigation following the Columbine High School shooting, has concluded that, “Of the 118 electronic games with a Mature rating for violence the Commission selected for its study, 83 or 70%, targeted children under 17 in their target audience.” And the irony is that most parents, who have the ultimate responsibility for their wards, are unaware of the ESRB ratings.
Research* has shown that boys play video games for an average of about 13 hours a week. It has been found that the children who play violent videogames are characterized by 1. More aggressiveness 2. Confrontation with teachers 3. Fighting with their peers 4. Decline in school achievements. All this affects the overall personality of the child in the long run. The child becomes an adult who is not team spirited, doesn’t care for fellow human beings and has scant respect to traditions and practices.
The solution for all this may lie in totally banning the video games from the household. But that would be highly impractical, given the popularity of the video games and peer pressure. So, stricter legislations against marketing of mature content video games to the children should be enacted. The industry may protest that it’s infringing their rights, but as of now, the future of the young generation is more important than the right to do business using the loops in the law. However, it would not be prudent to blame the industry as a whole for the rising aggressive and defiant attitude of the young people. There are many games which are really fun to play and playing them can actually be beneficial for the youngsters. Kids can learn about problem solving and strategy planning.
So, the only solution left is in the hands of the parents. Parents should get to know what their kids are playing in the computers or consoles. They must find out the rating system and see that their child is playing only what has been recommended for his / her age. While it’s impossible to ban the video games altogether, it would be prudent to limit the time the kids get to play the games. Perhaps in the future, responsibility on the part of the gaming industry and increasing awareness among the parents can stem the damage.