Video Games Change the Young Minds of Today

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Valerie West, Staff

Fredericksburg Texas is a small, easygoing town with not much violence.  That could have been said about the quiet Wilmington, Delaware 10 years ago, though not anymore because of the trending teen crime rate. With a population of under 72,000 people, this town has a higher teen-on-teen violence problem than the well-known death traps of Chicago, Baltimore or Detroit. If I could just have a few minutes of your time, I can tell you why, in my own opinion, the innocent children of our towns aren’t staying innocent for long.

I won’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the video games my generation plays; I still play the Game Boy Advance. However, after copious amounts of research, I’ve found one word that explains so much: desensitization. The ease of ending a life with the press of a button has more impact on a growing mind than you could ever imagine. The human brain is fully grown around the age of 22 to 26, the ages differing between females and males. It’s a bit Newtonian if you think about it. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, meaning every action you take part in for copious amounts of time impacts your brain, even if it’s just the slightest change.

A deeper understanding of desensitization takes a degree I don’t have, but to my best knowledge, desensitization is explained as a phenomenon much like putting ice on a bruise. These insensitive games, much like ice, begin to numb down the shock of death. It’s a human instinct to be repulsed by the death of our own, but with the ease of killing in these games, the instinct becomes almost nonexistent. With the simple click of a button, a life is ended, and there are only three words that act as a barrier between entertainment and guilt: it isn’t real. How long does it take for your brain to blur the lines between reality and game?

Don’t take my words the wrong way, playing these games does not make you a killer. But the lack of emotion towards death, paired with severe psychological issues makes for a dangerous child. But desensitization isn’t the only way violent games change kids. During these games, you’re constantly on alert, wondering how many people around you would kill your avatar. You may not notice at first, but you start to become more alert in real life. You even start to conceal weapons such as switchblades and pocket knives because of the fear that someone around you is as well.

Imagine you’re walking down a dark alleyway, strange sounds fill your ears. Suddenly you hear footsteps behind you, following your every move. You suddenly stop, and so do the footsteps. You speed up, and again, the footsteps follow suit. You grab a small object from your pocket, flip it open, and turn around to realize the strange footsteps following you didn’t belong to a stranger, but to your best friend. And the dark alleyway you were so cautiously walking was the road to the nearby convenience store. But the knife you pulled? That was as real as you or me.  I think that was a bit overdramatic, but you see my point. These games really do affect you, even if you’re the last to see it.

Violent games don’t cause violent outbursts or mental disabilities. Violent games aren’t to blame for the unfortunate deaths of so many people at the hands of teens. But for the young growing minds to spend so much time around violence (be it real or otherwise) there is no denying it changes your mind and the way you think.