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Transcending Argument Essay

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Ask almost any youngster to name a popular video game and they’ll probably come up with an endless list of current titles. It’s not just that it’s a pop culture phenomenon played in virtual reality, there’s a lot of skill in game playing, and most of it is harmless. For those kids who play video games seldom, the frenzy can be disconcerting. True gamers don’t have the same outlook. Yes, video games have been blamed for violent acts in public forums (Green, 1993). Moreover, video games provide scapegoat excuses for anti- crusaders when kids kill other kids in school shootings; however, this is the contradiction of contemporary video in today’s capitalist consumerism.

Since the inception of television in the mid 1900’s, virtual reality has been a focus of media rhetoric and discussion. It’s an environment that lets kids play with or without others, while engaging in competition devoid of any real threat of physical aggressiveness. Video gamers acquire many skills from their hours of playing: eye/hand coordination, rapid decision-making processes, and, most important, safety from the streets (I personally grew to be a video gamer after my older sibling made a career as a computer programmer due to their devotion to gaming.) However, video games also lead some to act out in public (Frontline News Story) and allow violent fantasies, influenced by game playing and TV, to become realty. The spirit of video game playing is being ruined by opposing factions.

What is the harm of rhetoric in public forums to monopolize attitudes in the video game world? A great deal. For example, children become confused, oppositional, and defiant towards any outside interference. In addition, negative media influences towards a cultural trend may actual make that movement more popular.

Young children (the usual age to start gaming is about five to seven years old) do not understand why news stories, parents and community leaders are fighting over a novel pastime of fun (Pillow, & Stephen, 1997). Most important, children become subconsciously influenced by these outside forces. Playing video games, getting together with your friends to do so, and being influenced by outside personal opinions may satisfy the people with agendas, but for youngsters the continual rhetoric is a propagation grounds for the pendulum of influence to swing in either direction.

Is there really any dissimilarity between watching people getting murdered on a television program, watching television news footage of two bank robbers killing police and themselves, or watching sexually provocative television programs, then playing a video game? It’s not hard to see the similarities among these two activities: both occur in virtual reality, both have the possibility to include elements of aggressiveness, both contain influential imagery that may, or may not, negatively influence a young person’s attitude.

One important difference between “watching” television aggression and “playing” video games is interaction (Lazar, 1994); playing a video game includes thinking and externally acting out within the spectrum of virtual reality; watching television, while sitting in a room, does not require any outside movement. The youngster who becomes fixated on the video game world needs a certain level of stimulation to keep their threshold of attention involved in the action of the play. However, both video game playing and watching television require the necessity of emotion to be invoked in thought processing.

The public discussion on video games and aggressive children in society seems to be more interested in personal and group schedules than finding real causes of cultural violence. This could be because the politicians, capitalists, and parents don’t want to admit that ulterior motives may be a contributing factor to the problem. Politicians need votes, capitalists need money, and parents need control of their children.

In other words, the child becomes the premise to justify the actions for each entity to carry on their crusade to fulfill their own interests. Moreover, the target shifts from a lame law, greedy entrepreneurship, and inadequate parenting skills, to a child trying to have fun playing a game (Singer, 1999). It may be time to break up these groups to analyze the subcategories of influence they have on causing a massacre in a school.

Although the dialogue of video game violence is fairly recent, the predicament itself, family values and children, started to be redefined in the 50’s and 60’s. Leonard Eron, who studies experimental situations similar to these for forty years, maintains that “television violence increases aggressive and antisocial behavior” in children (3). Moreover, the problem has increased in the public forefront within the past ten years as youngsters have been acting out more violently in public.

One can understand how community leaders and parents are concerned when innocent children are being killed in public displays of hostility. As well, it is not the business man’s fault for wanting to make a profit on their invention. But what are some of the reasons for this increased propensity by children who want to harm others? There is no singular solution or simple answer to this question, but there is some suggests. Let’s think of the problem in divided categories, in terms of the point of view involved, and the inference of these approaches, for politicians, capitalists, parents.

First, politicians should learn to mind their own business and stay out of matters that concern family values and beliefs. The home is a place of free thinking. In Canada, which has the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or the United States, which has the Declaration of Independence, freedom and rights are the individuals’ choice. It is alright to put age warning labels on a game, but is not alright to suggest who can play that game. If the individual is not harming any one else physically or in a criminal manner and has their parents permission, these rights must be upheld, and politicians must stay out of the home.

Second, capitalist entrepreneurs’ should not be able to exploit children and their parents for unreasonable amounts of profit with explicit violence and sexuality in video games. In the market place kids are easily influenced by the expression of impulsive buying and visual advertisement, irrelevant of the price of the product. On the contrary, kids do not care what the price of the product is.

The juxtaposition between paying unreasonable prices on video marketing products, and the unquestionable thirst to gobble up the video game item at any expense, is fueling competitive market place sales. No longer are such home entertainment activities like card games, board games, and reading, options in the average home. In fact, most young adolescents, some as young as 13 years old, are working at jobs previously reserved for adults. Gone are the days of the paper route for the child who now needs more money to fund their expensive habits. A look through the litany of flyers on the door step each week provides enough evidence that capitalism is alive and well in North America.

Third, yet no less important, parents need to be held accountable for their children’s impulsive actions. Unfortunately, and quite often, parents seem to reinforce their children’s attitudes towards consumerism. There is nothing wrong with living a comfortable life that has material possessions; however, when the video game becomes a substitution for a babysitter, it may be time to re-evaluate your priorities in parent skills. As a result, children are raising themselves and indoctrinating the philosophy of unknown external influences.

According to Craig Anderson and Brad Bushman of Iowa State University, who reviewed dozens of studies of video gamers in 2001, “children and young people, who play violent video games, even for short periods, are more likely to behave aggressively in the real world; and that both aggressive and non-aggressive children are negatively affected by playing.” In the end, children may be lacking adequate role models to persuade them from entering a school and killing their fellow classmates. Is it the politician, who passes laws that do not work, the capitalist, who floods the market with over priced and aggressive video games, or the parent, who doesn’t know how to parent, that is responsible for the wayward actions of abnormal child behavior?

The position on video gaming in North America is becoming a hodgepodge of extreme contradictory natures. A condensed paradox, or an oxymoron, is facilitating the atmosphere of rhetoric. On the one hand, people line up (as they did November 17, 2006 for the new Sony PS3) and sleep in front of businesses to purchase new products. On the other hand, the politician and the parent are the first to point their finger at the capitalist when youngsters take their violence to the streets (Testimony Before Senate).

Even more important, millions, if not billions, of dollars have been spent on congressional hearings, professional studies, and corporate fines, to explain nothing of what drives the philosophic issues of the controversy. Who is shaping our children’s cultural values and beliefs? Is it right wing conservatism that wants all our kids locked up for spitting on the sidewalk, the greedy business mongers that give money back to nonprofit organizations to look charitable, or the delinquent parent who takes no responsibility for their child’s aggressive actions? The condensed paradox has become a waking nightmare to figure out.

The basic error in the video game breakdown is that each individual entity approaches the subject from different premises that underlie the motives to form an inference to their pre-fabricated “self-fulfilling prophecy” (Aronson et al 528-31). Stakeholders should begin with—or at least try to—develop a common thread that connects all outside entities of social behavior to family values and beliefs. It should not be the control or punishment of any single person that motivates public consensus. On the contrary, control and punishment should be the reaction to the action. Ultimately, the decision to allow video games into the home needs to be made by the parent, sanctioned by responsible business, and governed by political establishments.

Each group has to examine all possible options to search for answers, but if the evidence provided indicates that any one group is wrong then they have to put their personal reasons aside and draw the right conclusion to the accepted group information available. The contradiction of a capitalist society allows products to be sold but at what or whose expense? All to often individuals defy the obvious that we are a democratic society made up of groups to start with, and allow it’s individuals to control the process. This is analogous to tree movement cause the wind to blow.

Since the fifties changing family structures have been mistakenly referred to as eroding, and thus pundits have, to this day, been attacking everything, and anything, that seems like the cause of our violent and aggressive children. This is most regrettable since the video game industry is yet another example of a scapegoat, not just in recent years, but since political affairs in capitalist economies, and in the overall analysis, determines the fate of both the individual and their abhorrent behavior. All of these aspects of the violent public acts of youngsters are long overdue for a new scrupulous exploration. It is not the game that kills, but the person. We just don’t know which person to blame yet.

Works Cited

Anderson, C. & Bushman, B. Research on the Effects Of Media Violence. Retrieved

November 20, 2006, from http://www.media-awareness.ca

Aronson, Elliot, et al. Social Psychology. Toronto: Prentice Hall, 2001.

Eron, L. D., & Huesmann, L.R. (Ed.). (1986). Television and the aggressive child: a

cross-national comparison. Hillsdale, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.

Green, (1993). Chronic Exposure to Violence and Poverty. Psychological Journal,

39 (1).

Lazar, (1994). Why Social Work Should Care: Television, Violence and Children.

Social Work Journal, 11, 3-19.

Media Literacy Online Project College of Education University of Oregon. Frontline

Examines Impact of Television on Society in “Does TV Kill.” Retrieved November

17, 2006, from http://www.interact.uoregon.edu/medialLit/readings/articles/front.html

Pillow, & Stephen, (1997). Pre-school Children. Genetic Psychology, 158 (3), 365.

Singer, (1999). Contributors to Violent Behaviour Among Elementary School Children.

American Academy of Pediatrics, 104 (4), 878.

Testimony Before Committee. Effects of Television Violence on Children. Retrieved

November 17, 2006, from http://www.commerce.senate.gov/hearings/0518ero.pdf