The continued advancement in technology has been characterized by the emergence of innovative developments whose merits and demerits have spurred widespread debates. In relation to technological, moral panics, the media has been awash with contents warning parents over the harmful influence of video games on the behavioral development of children. The popularity of video games has been underpinned by the widespread demand for interactive media not only by the younger generation but also by adults. The onset of moral panic associated with video games has largely been attributed to the extreme violence depicted by the majority of video game themes. As a consequence, extensive Scholars have correlated ubiquitous of video games with the rise of violence among the younger generation in the society (Laycock p. 34).
However, the public discourse concerning video games and moral panic has not been without critics. Critics have been keen to disregard the currently witnessed moral panic over video games and further arguing that empirical research showed the positive impact of video games on children's cognitive development. Statistics further show an emerging trend where the average video game is an adult aged 31 years old. According to statistics from Entertainment Software Association, those aged below 18 years old comprised 29 % of video game players in the USA, while those aged between 18-35 comprised of 32 % and 36 years and above constituted 39 %. In terms of gender male players comprised of 52 % of players while female players were 48 %.
To a larger extent, the onset of moral panic related to video games could be traced to the media and scholars. On their part, the media has been active in publishing scholarly research findings that posit to correlate heightened violence among teenagers with video games. On the other hand, these findings have been erroneously compounded by the evidenced increase of acts of violence in schools and within the community. The extent of the moral panic could be deduced from the massive supporting materials from the media and scholars. According to an article in The Independent titled " Playing video games can be bad for you health, researchers claims," playing video games was linked to a range of life-threatening events such as internal bleeding, stroke, and addiction to the games (Harris). Similarly, CNN reported that violent video games could be linked to child aggression (Harding). On the other hand, BBC reported that research had showed that violent video games resulted in teens being morally immature. (Coughlan). All these cases point to the poignant role of the media and scholars in the development of moral panic towards video games.
Critical evaluation of the identified sources reveals widespread concern from the media and the researchers who seem to be alarm by the possibility of disruption of the status quo of the society. According to the article by Coughlan, video games are being linked to the deterioration of empathy among teenagers. In essence, the researchers warn that such teenagers were on the verge not differentiating right from wrong. Similarly, The Independent showed that children were so engrossed in the games that they almost ignored essential habits such as visiting the toilet. Consistently, Harding reported that continued exposure to violence made players desensitized to violence, therefore, deem aggressive behavior as normal. It follows that the arguments put forwards against video games were more technologically deterministic as opposed to being social constructivist. The media and the community seem to be concerned with the resulting behavioral patterns of players in relation to the social, cultural and psychological wellbeing. Vis a vis, the moral panic is hinged on the possibility of video games leading a to social structure and cultural values which contrasts with the accepted norms (Baym p.41.)
Laycock, Joseph. Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic Over Role-Playing Games Says About Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds. 2015. Print.
Baym, Nancy K. Personal Connections In The Digital Age. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2010. Print.
Coughlan, Sean. 'Violent Video Games Leave Teens 'Morally Immature' - BBC News'. BBC News. N.p., 2015. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.
Entertainment Software Association,. Essential Facts About Computer And Video Games Industry. 2014. Print.
Harding, Anne. 'Violent Video Games Linked To Child Aggression - CNN.Com'. Edition.cnn.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.
Harris, Dominic. 'Playing Video Games Can Be Bad For Your Health, Researchers Claim'. The Independent. N.p., 2014. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.
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