I made this assignment for my class “Introduction to Mass Media” (Fall Quarter 2011). This article poses some grammatical challenges that need to be fixed. But I left it unfixed with the reason that you guys as readers can give your valuable comments to create a meaningful learning experience. Feel free to leave your comment as an opportunity for growth for my next article. Thank you and have a good day.
Lakewood, February 11th, 2012
Cognitive and Behavioral Violence Resulted from Violent Video Games
By Haeril Halim
There is a wonderful analogy from a Slovenian Philosopher, Slavo Žižek, like this “Images are the true reality today, even when we discard the images to find reality nothing will remain just some pure abstractions”. I agree with that analogy since in this era we are living in the era where we are bombarded with images especially on internet. The same as internet, video games are made of images, even the latest games today are made lifelike to present the real atmosphere of real life. The more lifelike a video game the more popular it is. Video games are a reality today and of course their effects like violence behaviors are the true images can be seen in real life especially in the children lives. Like political issue of the wars, to identify cause-effects relationship of video games’ effects in society is not a piece of cake, it is completely complex and complex. So a careful study should be conducted to reveal out clearly this problem. Since the study of video games is a complex thing, I should limit the focus of this essay into cognitive violence and behavioral violence happen to the children only.
The cognitive violence I mean here is the way our mind is bombarded with negative imageries and negative linguistics from violent video games and it might cause a conflict in our mind. The game “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” is one of the most popular video games nowadays in Amazon.com. How this game is very popular? It is because it portrays images and graphic which are so lifelike. This game teaches people especially children to kill the enemies as if they are in a real war. This is not the only one video game teaching children to shoot and kill the enemies. And what is worst is some of the games present the imagery of the enemies in Arabic-fundamentalist-like and violent vocabularies which are not appropriate to children. By playing this kind of violent game, children are bombarded with imageries and war vocabularies which can affect children’s cognitive and it might end up with an abhorrence (hatred) towards Arabic-like people as they might consider them as enemy. Consequentially, they are thought to have enemies in their early age which is not normal according psychological point of view. This is of course a vivid example of cognitive violence that the children might suffer from. And they have the stock of vocabularies from video game to describe those who they call enemy.
What is worse than cognitive violence is when children act based their affected cognitive (minds). With all the brutal minds they have from violent video games it is easy for them to act brutally as well in real life. This is what I call behavioral violence. As we all know some shootings done by some students at schools were already identified as the result of playing violent video games. It is something interesting to notice that killing people in real life can be in lifetime-prison, all people know that. In contrast, what children are thought in video games is the more enemy they kill the more points they might score and of course they are rewarded from killing enemy in the games. In addition, children have tendency of not having ability to differentiate between fiction and reality; it was something that I found from the mini survey I conducted for this essay (7 out of 10 respondents agreed on that statement). It is clear that violent video games might cause behavioral violence to children in real life.
To sum up, parental guide is needed to avoid children from having cognitive and behavioral violence. In addition, the same as my conclusion above, Henry Jenkins (a MIT Professor) in his article “Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked” also suggests that adult authorities should be more suspicious towards these phenomenon caused by violent video games. Also it is interesting that one of the respondents of my survey said that he was shocking when he listened to a group of 7-9 years old children talking about the most destructive mass weapon in the world. That is a sad fact and it urgently needs solution. Therefore, I personally think that parental guide is not enough to prevent bad effects of violent video games thus the government should give a censorship to minimize the bad effect might happen in the future. We should keep the children safe since they are the future of the nation.
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