Child Counseling Video games behavior, emotional problems in phoenix Arizona, Chandler AZ, Scottsdale Arizona

Most parents view video games as” entertainment.” their content is
not taken as seriously as that of the passive act of watching TV. After
all, most adults today grew up playing pong, pac man, asteroids, space
invaders, or defender. Nevertheless, what many parents might not realize
is that the challenge for many players today is to rack up points by
killing prostitutes after having sex with them. Video games have not
only become more violent, the characters have become more real, and the
effects that they are having on society, specifically women is shocking.
Video games have engaged the “once spectator” to actively
participate in addictive violence. Recent studies have undoubtedly
concluded that the violence and negative reinforcements in video games
have not only successfully promoted violence against women by
desensitization, but they have also increased aggressive behavior in
children and teenagers to a level that has devastated the lives of many.
Many people are shocked to discover that the video game industry is
larger than the film industry. The Interactive Digital Software
Association reported that video games are “the fastest growing
entertainment industry in America, surpassing books, records and movie
box offices combined” (Berger 2002). In 1997 the video and computer
game industry generated 16 Billion dollars in economic activity, this
does not include computer and video game hardware sales. In the year
2000 it became a 20 billion dollar industry and is still growing
considerably (Berger, 2002). IDSA also reported at the time sixty five
percent of all Americans age six and older, or about 145 million people,
play computer and video games (Berger 2002). The video game industry has
increased exponentially since 2002. It is stated that video games, many
times is the initial experience that children have with the computer/
technology world. So, if boys tend to be the primary target of the
industry, which, they are, what effect does it have on girls.
If a child’s interest begins with games. most common computer games
involve violence and aggressive themes have the effect of turning girls
away from the computers in general. This is one way of keeping women out
of power. After all, these are male dominated industries. Since computer
literacy is essential in most jobs, people who are exposed to computers
earlier in life have an obvious advantage. The boys who outnumber the
girls in gaming, will be the men who out-number the women in the
business world. This may lead to the girls becoming less interested in
the world of computers as a career. Girls are not the only ones who are
not enamored with video games. Parents are unaware of the violence that
is being reinforced hundreds of thousands of times in their child’s

Teenagers report that 95 percent of the time their parents do not check
the ratings or the content of video games being purchased. Ninety
percent of parents do not set limits on how much time their child can
play video games.
We have seen an alarming increase in violence and school shooting.
Shootings at Paucah, Kentucky, Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Littleton,
Colorado were all cases where the shooters were students who habitually
played violent video games. The bloody game Doom was Eric Harris and
Dylan Klebold’s favorite game ( they wounded 23 and killed 13). Two
studies examined violent video games effect on aggression related
variables. The first study found that real-live violent video games are
positively related to aggressive behavior and delinquency. the second
study showed lab exposure to a violent video game increased aggressive
thoughts and and behaviors. The results are in line with the General
Affective Aggression Model, which predicts that exposure to violent
video games will increase aggressive behavior in both the short term and
the long term ( Calvert, Jordan, Cocking 2000)

A study of about 329 children and media violence was done over a 21 year
period by L. Rowell Huesmann at the University of Michigan’s Institute
for Social Research. Girls and boys participated. This was one of the
few studies that followed children into adulthood, which enabled
researchers to gauge the long term effects of televised violence. Men in
the top twenty percent on childhood exposure to violence were twice as
likely as adults to have pushed, grabbed or shoved their wives. The
women who scored in the 20 percent were twice as likely to throw
something at their husbands. the study concluded that both girls and
boys exposed to a lot of televison violence have a greater risk of
spousal abuse and criminal offenses, no matter what they were like as
children( Ritter, M., 2003). This study was based specifically on
violence, however, most video games today are also including very
graphic sexually violent images, which are destroying women and the
morality of society as a whole.

The effects of viewing sexually violent images was researched and
discussed by Ed Donnerstein, Dean and Professor of Communications at the
University of California, Santa Barbara. In his study, young adults ages
18-20 were shown a one hour documentary on battered women. After
watching the film, the viewers showed less empathy toward the victims.
They lowered their evaluation on the level of injury that the women
received. They also under estimated the level of pain that must have
been experienced. Both men and women were more likely to display
indifference toward the victims. many blamed the rape on the ladies and
believed that the women brought it to themselves. It is clear that
watching these images are negative, however, the video game industry
uses reinforcement tactics to hook children, teens, and adults making
the game, not just interactive but addictive. Violence in America and
against women has increased since the rise of video games across the
Violence was declared the number one health problem for women in 1992,
sadly, recent studies have concluded that the problem is not decreasing
( Violence, Women, and the Media, 2000). For example , consider the
following statistics: the single major cause of injury to American women
is domestic violence, exceeding gang violence, muggings, murders, and
accidents ( The Commonwealth Fund, 1993). In the US, one women is raped
every two minutes (National Crime Victimization survey, 1996). One in
every seven women has been raped in her life time (Daily News, November
18,1998). Also, In America a woman is physically abused every nine
seconds ( The Commonwealth Fund, July 1993). In emergency rooms more
than one third of American women have suffered physical or sexual abuse
( Sternberg S. 1999) And a staggering thirty percent of women murdered
in the US are killed by their husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends (
national Crime Victimization Survey,1996). Researchers have found that
the way the media depicts women influences how women are viewed and
treated in society( Violence, Women, and the Media, 2000). For example,
many video games are very degrading and often depict women as victims of
violence. Also many video games also portray women as sex objects.
In the year 2000 half of the top selling video games contained negative
images about girls according to (Children, Now 2000). For example
unrealistic body images, high pitched voices,fainting, violence, and
provocative sexuality is promoted.

Twenty eight percent of games in a study show women as inferior and
powerless. In games like Grand Theft Auto boys are taught women can be
treated brutally and this is reinforced in the video game.
Players of Grand Theft Auto get rewarded if they kick and kill the
prostitute to death after they have sex with her. Sounds shocking, but
it is true and is one of the most popular video games among children and
teenagers in the US. After playing for 4-8 hours a day, these acts of
violence begin to seem normal.
Two decades of research had shown that repeated exposure to violence
blunts emotional reactions and makes people less likely to help others
in need ( Levine, 1996). Perfectly normal people no longer recognize
violence because it is so prevalent in the media. People grow numb to
violence with repeated exposure via media. People become less responsive
to human pain and begin to lose awareness of what it means to be human.
Before the Vietnam War, fewer than 20 percent of soldiers on the front
lines would actually fire at the enemy, however, with games such as Doom
used as conditioning tools fdor the soldiers, the US military kill rate
increased to (0 percent in Vietnam. With video games, our military
scientifically overcame the soldier’s innate resistance to killing (
game Over, 2000) Violent video games are the mental equivalent of
putting an assault rifle in the hands of every American child. By
sitting mindlessly, killing countless thousands of fellow members of
their own species without any ramifications or repercussions, operant
conditioning concepts transfer immediately when the individual gets a
real weapon in their hand and are being taught violence. The recent
school shootings in 2008 and 2007 serve as an example of a link between
video games and heightened aggressive behaviors.
For the video game child/ teenager or gamer, beating a previous high
score, or winning a free game, or having sex with a prostitute is all
part of Skinnerian reinforcement. behavior that is followed by
reinforcement will increase in frequency. In short, video games that
make a child or teen or adult feel good will be played again and again.
A partial reinforcement schedule will lead to behavior that occurs more
often with and is more resilient to extinction than does a continuous
reinforcement schedule. These two effects of partial reinforcement
produce what is considered addictive behavior. These irregular schedules
of reinforcement are in part, what cause these video games to be so
exciting and desirable. Tis kind of reinforcement, which causes
addictive behaviors can explain why their is an increase in the video
game industry as a whole.

The AMA states that anywhere in the world where TV appears, 15 years
later the murder rate doubles. Ten thousand murders per year, 70,000
rapes, and 700,000 assaults. We must consider the impact of violent
video games on the minds and behaviors of our society. The evidence is
clear violence breeds more violence in the majority of situations.
The 20 Billion dollar Video game industry must be taken seriously. It
must start with education and healthy parenting. It must come with
boundaries and limitations. It must come with healthy communication and
listening to children and teenagers. It must come from healthy role
modeling from parents. The video game industry is no different than
access to violence on TV or on the internet. Violence and abuse
physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually is not ok!

Articles are not to be taken as a substitute for professional advice or counseling.