Playing violent shooting games can make some teenagers more aggressive and hostile, although there are also beneficial effects. Research reveals that video games can improve visual and spacial skills, help control pain, aid psychotherapy and manage diabetes. However, this happens in a controlled environment, while teenagers spend many hours in front of the computer screen.
The first video games appeared almost 50 years ago. Spacewar, a game in which two spacecraft battle, was released in 1962. Nowadays, American teenagers play an average of 8 hours every week, according to the Kaiser Foundation. Approximately 99 percent of boys are gamers and 94 percent of girls. Some even spend more than 20 hours per week in front of the computer screen and a few play 40 hours or more whether shooting games or free casino games or any other type of games they prefer. Australian teenagers play less then their American counterparts.
Attention deficits are some of the effects shooting games have on teenagers. Researchers reveal that attention deficits, hyperactivity and impassivity are linked to playing video games. Pathological players have a higher chance of being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder than teenagers who play non-pathological. Strategy games that require controlled planning and thought have less effect on attentional problems than violent shooting games that involve constant reactive behaviors. The same is valid for free casino games, where reactions are not as important as strategy planning.
School performance is also affected by long hours of playing video games, because that time would normally be spent reading and doing homework. Furthermore, too much exposure to violent video games leads to an increase of aggressive behaviors, thoughts and feelings, as well as a decrease in empathy and pro-social behavior. Correlational studies have linked violent behaviors to violent video games due to a causal effects between them. Aggressive behaviors include hurting people verbally, physically, as well as bullying and damaging other people’s property.
Violent shooting games can increase attitudes that approve hostile behaviors and promote violence as a normal social response. Thus the likelihood of aggressive behavior is increased because mental scripts for resolving conflict by adopting a hostile attitude are enhanced. Another effect is that teenagers develop the belief that the world is a frightening place. The effects of playing violent shooting games are both immediate and long-term.
Teenagers develop attitudes about violence at a young age, thus changing them is very difficult. Individuals coming from a violent home or having a high levels of trait aggression are considered a risk group, because video games can enhance their anti-social traits. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP, 2009) and the American Psychological Association (APA, 2005) state that violent video games, including shooting games, are related to later aggressive behaviors in teenagers and children, based on extensive research from numerous countries.