Violent Video Games are Very Bad for an At Risk Child
by Liane J. Leedom, M.D.
Some people argue that many children and adults play violent video games and watch violent television, but do not become violent. Research shows that violent media do promote aggressive behavior in susceptible children and adults. At Risk children are those most likely to become aggressive when exposed to violence!
I have begun to review the content of Play Station II video games in order to provide parents with guidelines, I will soon post a list of postive and recommended games. I was horrified to discover that MANY games rated E for everyone are NOT acceptable for at risk children. When I asked my teenager why these games (a friend brought over for us to examine) are rated E, she replied, "well, you don't see any blood. Mom, in the violent ones people's brains and guts shoot out."
Video games that are bad for at risk kids are those games where the child pretends to have a weapon and/or enjoys attacking others. This is true even if the others are supposed to be the "bad" guys. Some of the games also sanction males attacking females. Do you want your child to think it is OK to hurt anyone he determines is a bad guy/gal?
It is the learning of enjoyment of aggression that is harmful to the at risk child. This learning disturbs the inner pleasure balance of at risk kids. When the pleasure balance is disturbed, children don't enjoy other things they should enjoy. Some children even refuse to go outside and play!
If you are still don't agree with me about violent video games consider this: Many parents have said to me, "But, he likes to play those games." I reply, If the game involved sexual content and your child pretended to commit acts of a sexual nature he might enjoy that as well!
Why do we expose our kids to violence while shielding them from sex? We instinctively know that a child/teen exposed to material of a sexual nature will be encouraged to be sexual. Violence is no different. I guess we would rather our kids be aggressive and violent than sexual. At risk children need to be shielded from BOTH violence and sexuality in the media.
We have to understand the way pleasure and our drives work.The more time we spend enjoying any given pleasure, the more will will form a habit of seeking out that pleasure. That habit is a drive because it drives our behavior. There are two social drives, the love/affection drive and the social dominance/aggression drive. By enjoying aggression we become only more aggressive AND less able to enjoy love and affection.
An inability to enjoy love and affection as opposed to sex/violence is an ultimate cause of addiction. People who don't enjoy love have to look elsewhere for pleasure and relief from boredom. When they do they try alcohol and drugs.