There are many types of games online.  Some games available are puzzle games, adventure games and world building games. I would like to bring more focus on the war, combat and action games, games that contain violence, for example the Call of Duty franchise. There have been studies that have proven a link between aggression and high exposure to violent media.  Television and movies in themselves are violent, but what about the video and online games out there? Are these computer games more harmful than simply watching a movie?

Learning happens more easily when a person is actively involved in a situation. In gaming the person plays an active role in the whole process. Be this as it may, there hasn’t actually been a connection made with gaming and criminal behaviour and violence. There are quite a lot of opinions whether violent gaming inspires crimes in ‘real life’. Playing of violent game for an hour or two is not going to make you go out afterwards and commit some kind of crime. But making gaming an addiction or obsession, and exposing yourself to violent games will surely have some kind of an effect. There are in fact specialized clinics and rehabs in Cape Town and other parts of South Africa that admit people that have been diagnosed with an addiction to computer gaming.

Sometimes when playing a game the person chooses the character they want to be. Many of the characters are violent in nature and the gamer then sees and actively participates in everything the game requires. I have seen many games where the gamer is a shooter and is basically killing everything that comes around the corner. Graphics nowadays has also improved, so visually everything is in detail, and so shooting somebody is very vivid. Never mind the weird and awful sound effects that go with it. At least with a movie you can distance yourself from any of the violence, in a game you are fully immersed.

Games also reward you for your behaviour. Points are given or you reach the next level. By hearing verbal praise from the game it only aids in increasing the enjoyment and behaviour. Violent games can increase aggressive thoughts, pronounce angry feelings and can cause other physical reactions. Things like increased heart rate and blood pressure while playing. Thoughts also linger on graphic violence, which is why there are parental guidance warnings on movies. Violent gaming can also desensitize a person, decreasing good behaviour such as empathy for others.

Many times even though there is parental guidance warnings for things, some kids can still get access to the movie or game. Exposure to such violent games at a young age, while the brain is still in a developing stage, is surely not a good thing. What will such games teach them, surely nothing good? Liberty Home is a Cape Town rehab centre that not only offers a place of refuge and treatment for those suffering from substance addiction, but also online gambling and gaming addiction

What you read, listen to and watch is important, because everything that goes in will come back out as something good or bad. In other words your Input equals your output. There are many other factors that contribute to aggression, but violent video gaming definitely has a significant effect. More research should be directed towards this issue; sometimes some things are not taken seriously until it is too late. An event has to happen before anybody takes notice and something is done about an issue.

You have to form your own judgment on the matter, does violent gaming influence behaviours? There seems to be many different opinions. I personally after having watched something violent or played a game that is violent, felt different afterwards and not a good feeling.  Images keep replaying in your thoughts of the most gruesome parts you saw. From my own perspective I think computer gaming like anything else should be done in moderation. Discretion should be used when it comes to the type of game being played.  If it has become an addiction, the problem should be dealt with if not by you then by a professional.