How Virtual Killing Might Shape the Attitudes about Real-Life Violence
With the introduction of the internet, computers, and play stations, children are now shifting from traditional games, such as riding bicycles or playing football to new ones (Fritz 8). For example, existing statistics show that 72 percent of the children in the US spend most of their time on computers or play stations. Further, the statistics show that, in a week, a fourth-grade male child spends about 9.5 hours on average playing video games. Parents permit their kids to play the games because of the notion that they sharpen their thinking skills. However, these trends of playing video games, among children are worrying since the games, and virtual killings shape the children’s attitudes towards actual life violence.
Most scholars hold the belief that virtual killings found in violent video games play a significant role in shaping the children’s attitudes towards real-life violent behavior. For example, Judith (30-31), posits that there is a significant association between aggression and exposure to violence or virtual killing in the media among children. This scholar bases her arguments on the social learning theory as advanced by Albert Bandura (Judith 31-33). According to the theorist, children learn through their innate tendency of observing and imitating the behavior of live models. The live models can be teachers, parents, favorite characters in the games, and many others (Judith 32-33). Thus, in a situation where a child happens to identify with one of the violent characters in the game, as his favorite model, such a child may start imitating the behavior. As time goes by, the child may internalize the violent behaviour, thus becoming violent.
However, Robbins (74-75), refutes Judith’s sentiments, by arguing that there is no significant association between virtual killing and a change in attitudes towards real-life violence. In advancing these arguments, the scholar holds that currently, children play many games especially violent ones. Despite this fact, the scholar holds that he has never seen a child who took a gun and started shooting at, in the name of imitating violent characters in the game (Robbins 75-76). Children playing violent games do not necessarily copy the behavior since they are able to distinguish between video games and reality. Further, children playing warlike games do not necessarily become violent since they are able to choose the right and leave out the wrong (Robbins 74-75). By arguing that the children are able, to choose between the right and the wrong, Fritz holds that, Robbins is giving misleading information (Fritz 8-9). Robbins is giving misleading information since the children’s brains are not mature enough to enable them to differentiate between right and wrong. Therefore, because of lacking brain maturity, some children unconsciously internalize violent behavior as they continue playing violent games.
Unlike Robbins, Fritz (8-9), holds that virtual killing shapes attitudes on real-life violence, as the children try to identify with the violent characters in the games. Identifying with the characters present in the games enhances the children’s learning and retention ability of the violent behavior and thoughts as depicted in violent games. In addition, the scholar argues that exposure to violent games enhances hostility and angry feelings among children especially when they are interacting with their peers (Fritz 8-9). Moreover, exposure to violent games may lessen feelings of compassion among the children, hence the development of violent behavior.
In rubbishing the claims that virtual killing shapes the attitudes of a child on real-life violence, Robins uses himself as an example. In this regard, the scholar held that he regularly played video games full of violence, such as Grand theft, halo, call of duty, and many others. However, in spite of playing violent games, the scholar never engaged in any violent behavior (Robbins 72-75). In addition, the scholar holds that virtual killing does not shape the attitudes of children on real-life violence, being that cases of juvenile delinquency are on the decrease. For example, statistics show that cases of juvenile delinquency are declining in the US, despite the increasing rates of playing violent video games (Robbins 71-74). Similarly, cases of youth homicide are on the decrease in the country despite the rampancy of violent video games. Therefore, based on these facts, the scholar holds that the accusations that virtual killing shapes the attitudes of children on real-life violence are unrealistic. The accusations are unrealistic since there is no correlation between violent video games and change of attitudes among children.
Based on the review of the materials, it is evident that mixed reactions exist concerning the argument that virtual killings shape the attitudes of children on real-life violence. For example, some scholars hold that virtual killings shape the attitudes of children on real-life violence while others believe that there is no such association. Despite, the existence of these arguments, it is arguable that virtual killings shape the attitudes of children towards real-life violence. Virtual killings shape the attitudes of children because of internalizing the behavior after some time as explained by Bandura’s social learning theory (Robbins 71-74).
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