DiCarlo 1 Tim DiCarlo Professor White English 152 December 3rd, 2010 Rated E for Everyone Many parents

would never slum down to buying a pack of cigarettes for their young. There have always been circumstances such as laws and health hazards to help prevent smoking and to discourage underage smoking. In the United States, you are able to legally buy cigarettes at the age of eighteen. The broadest concern about smoking is how it affects the user. Whether the smoker is young, pregnant, or even in the greatest health, tobacco is proven to have long term harmful effects on the human body. The physical effects include acquiring cancer, endangering the respiratory system, and so on. The real consequences come from the addiction part caused by the exposure of nicotine to the user, which influences them to abuse cigarettes, while slowly harming their body in the habit. If you’ll bear with me, it’s a common conception you could similarly grasp when it comes to consuming a video-game in which its content is more suited for a mature audience. Just as an educated adult wouldn’t buy cigarettes for an underage consumer, most parents wouldn’t buy a game with a substantial amount of violence for their adolescences. However, our culture is still freely able to disperse cigarettes and explicit media to unsuitable consumers unknowingly. The controversy in the fluent releases of gore and violent video-games worry parents to death, for their young may be exposed to such a nature that may scare them or ultimately, confuse them. Apart from the two products, there are quite a few relations between them. Imagine each of the types of

DiCarlo 2 products in front of you. Beyond the rest of the components such as brand, title, and overall familiarization with the each of the individual casings, there is a label explaining what the consumer is being exposed to. On cigarettes, it is required by law to place a Surgeon General’s Warning on the side of the pack. And as with video-games, a specific rating must be placed on the back symbolizing the products content with a specific grading letter and shortly summarizes why the game received that rating. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) do not judge the same products, they limit the misuse that could take place more than if the buyers were uninformed. In this matter, how safe is it to say that the scenes and in-game objectives influence the player’s overall personal behavior? As a proven fact, violence in video games does not alter one’s behavior. It was astonishing for most people to learn that an interactive game, Pong, could be played simultaneously by two people on the same television screen. With technological advancement, this simple game of two rectangle paddles bouncing a square ball on a screen would make people render ideas for other types of game genres that could be created.. It took time to finally shape graphics to look more realistic, and when this happened, the video game industry expanded. Many other types of games, such as platform games were created, like the popular title Mario Bros. Long behold, video games became more advanced which allowed the use of detailed graphics to satisfy different tastes of consumer’s game content. In 1993, the game, DOOM was created for use by the military to simulate the overall aspects of combat. The game was in firstperson perspective which simulated the player as the wielder of the weapons. The game contained demons in which the objective was to shoot them until they were a bloody pile

DiCarlo 3 of pulp to advance in the game to other objectives. Through time, technology made these images more obsolete and descriptive. It was at this time that a rating system would have to be released, because the content was felt it should not be viewed by certain ages. One year after the release of DOOM was all it took for a guideline to be enforced. Under the ESRB, it was required by law that a rating has to be placed on every video game, labeling it’s user appropriate age limit (Video Game Ratings).With this small black square, there are a list of letters that symbolize a group of people. From eC, or early childhood to AO, or adult only, these limits are placed onto the games to warn the consumer of what they are purchasing. Games rated E for everyone, contain content that would not offend viewers. Games rated AO for adult-only contain explicit images, such as extensive amounts of sex and violence (Video Game Ratings). All media has to be judged through some type of rubric. There were debates among making a universal rating system to interrelate all types of media. Basing all media entertainment on the same rules has its pro’s and con’s. The beneficial part would be that the system would be very easy to follow, for it would become second nature during the purchase of the product, to screen what material is being exposed. “Advocates of a universal rating system say that it would keep parents from having to keep track of multiple systems when evaluating different entertainment titles” (Universal Rating System Debated). If this system was introduced, it would also empower the people who give these ratings, which would limit the expression of creativity (Universal Rating System Debated) In a sense, the ease of browsing through titles trying to find the right one for you would always seem like a stagnant limit of choice. Song lyrics and bothersome scenes in movies couldn’t be judged on the same

DiCarlo 4 criteria, because meaning resides differently among each piece of entertainment. The debate traces back to the actual question, does media violence really provoke one to act different than if they weren’t exposed to it? An American activist, Dave Grossman states that popular films parted violence from being wrong (Media Violence Debates). The issue was half-way viewed that the fault of school shootings had roots in the exposure to the violent media. Psychiatrists have a different viewpoint. Serge Tisseron, views the subject in a different manner, claiming that imagery does not contain that amount of power and that it is the parents job to explain the visuals to their young (Media Violence Debates). If someone were to watch any movies based on the Holocaust, I’m definite that no person will retain the idea to reenact the piece of history. When explicit movies like Pearl Harbor are shown in school, the teacher always has to define what exactly is going on in it. Therefore, the meaning of the media content resides in prior knowledge of the situation. On a scientific level, psychology has a major role in the issue. “More than one thousand scientific studies and reviews conclude that significant exposure to media violence increases the risk of aggressive behavior in certain children, desensitizes them to violence and makes them believe that the world is a ‘meaner and scarier’ place than it is.” (Tompkins) The Academy of Pediatrics claims that overexposure to these threats build a different attitude about life for the young kids who cannot relate violence to reality from the forms of professional acting (Tompkins). In the long run, the over exposure is almost never monitored, because when a child is by themselves playing a game, they perceive that everything looks real, and that it is actually happening. The problem with this is that violence makes up sixty percent of favorable

DiCarlo 5 entertainment (Tompkins). When the roles of parents do not intervene, children learn to become just like their heroes in the games and movies and act more fluently on aggression, because they have trouble depicting right from wrong. Though some believe that taking actions while playing the game is the ultimate teacher of violence, while movies are more passive and do not include the teenager’s control (Teen Violence and Video Games). Teenagers are susceptible to getting the wrong impression of violence. They are in the stage of their life where a lot of concepts seem abrupt, because they are going through many changes in their period of life. When they grow up, they want to be of something that has always stood out for them that makes sense for their future. Studies show that violent media can make a teenager think about violence (Teen Violence and Video Games). However, there is no evidence that they can influence one to act on these thoughts. There are also beliefs that advertising has a large scale effect on youth. Advertisements are very powerful. The fact is that advertising expenditures have doubled during the 90’s decade (Youth-Oriented Advertising) Advertising simply is an attempt to make a business more well-known among consumers. The pressures are enough to give you consideration in a purchasing decision. Ad’s are a very beneficial way to be informed of options to take part in that can change an area of your life in having free choice. The impact of so many choices leads to a negative effect as well. On the youth, there is a weight to bear, because there are situational instructions to follow to get the best deal (Youth Oriented Advertising). The video games released normally gain their popularity by word of mouth. When Pokemon was a large scale trend, it was a pressure to fit in with the crowd to have the most products from the producers. Mind you

DiCarlo 6 that Pokemon has no explicit violence within, such as gore, but it could be referred to as magical wrestling. The monsters battled each other physically with each of them having different powers. The trend was hard not to be a part of; everyone within the age group was involved. The extent of this made many businesses want to be involved. At McDonalds, Pokemon toys were offered in the kid’s meals. The critics believe that the government should have more regulation in the advertising to the young, because children are very easy to lead through marketing. (Youth-Oriented Advertising) Since children can be influenced so easily, then would that mean that anything violence related should be kept out of the grasp of children? Rating systems try to keep everyone on the same page by relating the games content based on the grades. It doesn’t help when the marketing is aimed at children to be a part of it. (Video Games and Violence) The push to ultimately eliminate video game violence does not have enough back up to be initiated. “Critics of legislation against violent games counter that they are a form of free speech, and that censoring them is unconstitutional” (Video Games and Violence). Another part the issue is that the producers benefit financially to allow these games to be sold to youth. Honestly, it seems immoral to push the violence onto children for the incentive of profit. To use children for monetary value is a practice that doesn’t sound right. The concern about it isn’t an issue that will escalate. Marketers do research to find what the best way to hook a consumer, such as a young child. It is also overlooked about the benefit of playing games. Firstperson shooter games can actually improve your coordination (Video Games and Violence). The part that troubles me the most about the whole ordeal is that it’s very assumed that the violence in video games are rock-solid attempts to show viewers bad

DiCarlo 7 things. In every game that involves the bad guy, there is always a reason to why they are seen that way. Most games have an extensive story line that includes wronging another person as a part of playing. The only reason video games are popular due to violence is because playing them is an escape from reality and a chance to use imagination. The escape from the real world keeps people happy. “The current generation has grown up to movies like Terminator and Die Hard, so it is only natural that we will attempt releasing our anger through video games. However, that does not mean that we are at risk for releasing violence into the real world just because we release anger into video games” (Remley). Coincidently, it’s fun to do what you cannot do in real-life! Our generation is in the information age, and with all our findings and information we obtain, we are able to use them to stimulate our senses. Watching Terminator is a thrill, because there are no such things as robots that shoot guns and are biologically rendered to be human-like, but its fun to imagine that there could be such a thing. It amplifies the question, what if? Since the beginning of time, hypotheses have always driven us humans to adapt for our futures. We can create our thoughts into something powerful that could change our lives. If the creation is entirely unrealistic, we use digital media to imagine what it would be like if what we saw on TV was true. It opens our minds to think on a more optimistic level. “The minds of young humans are sensitive and impressionable. This is why they are able to learn new things quickly and absorb information. They are free minds, uncluttered with responsibilities and the hard realities of life. They are hungry minds seeking adventure and stimulation and they rely, to some extent for the adults in the world to provide the mind fodder they need. Computers are an easily

DiCarlo 8 accessible source of this nourishment and games are particularly appealing” (Hillcroft) The above quote is the contradictory statement of the imagining process. It is very true that children get their life perception at their young age and need the correct leaders to shape their lives. This is where the role of the leaders is supposed to regulate reality. Parents are encouraged to share the truth to their little loved ones. Without explanation of the adventures they are embarking on, it’s relatively easy to see why they would try to be someone from a movie or game. Consider the video game series, Grand Theft Auto. The objective of the game is to commit crimes for family and bosses, with deadly weapons, while completing objectives for rewards such as clothes and money. In 2003, there was a case where an 18 year old murdered three members of the law enforcement. During this crime he also stole a cop car and drove away with it. Once in custody, he explained that his acts were based off video games and that he thought life was like a video game (Video-Game Studies Reach Contradictory Conclusions). Because of incidents like this, there have been prolonged studies trying to find a comparison between anger and video games. In the studies at The University of Illinois and The University of Michigan, the results showed that through playing violent games, there is no behavioral motivation to any extent (Video-Game Studies Reach Contradictory Conclusions). When the two matters are explained, it's rough to fathom the hardships that the families that had to suffer from the loss of the police officers. The tragedy that resulted from the ideas from the video game has many directions to where the blame could be placed. Regardless, every story has an underlying situation. Prior to the 18 year old killing those officers, there may have been

DiCarlo 9 anger issues or stress that he may have been dealing with. It's probable that his exposure to the game was unmonitored and he saw a different level of fun involved that other players didn't find interest in. Long term effects of this study have not been recorded, which makes it hard to think about what the results could be (Haines). Yet, it's still certain from a broad range of studies that there is no sublinimal messages recommending that you take part in violent crimes to act like a video game hero. In conclusion, violence has always been a large part of our history. The nation we live in has been shaped by a dominance factor that some believe that one person is better than another. Upon the birth of our country's values, it was proposed that everyone is equal. Upon shared morals, we have been able to develop our industries to satisfy people to adapt their lives. Power over such large crowds can be achieved through good or evil. When the very first video game was invented, there was no thoughts of the advancement to a violent genre. Through discovering principles of how a video game system could be better, the limitations made the creators feel that their finsd could not be improved. It took innovation to build the ladder to where video games lie todya. The pattern of advancement is obsolete, because of all of the general factors that shape the overall concept. Even when the video game DOOM was established as a benefit for the military, the consumers raged to be able to play it because it was such a different game than everyone was already used to. The complexity of having such a new concept of gaming was just enough for the government to intervene. The year after, the first step to helping distinguish any debate about the game, a rating system had to function to warn the audience. The reason was for the overall belief that children would be scared and mislead by the disturbing images. Parents couldn’t elaborate how much they didn’t want their

DiCarlo 10 children to see the images. Another game, Mortal Kombat, was also anticipated as a borderline game. The scenes where ripping another character in the games heart out on a 16-Bit system was nothing compared to the newer titles of the series. With high definition gaming becoming more advanced, the game play looks almost too real. The point is to involve the player in the cyber world by letting them interact with the game content. Likewise, TV shows have advanced way farther than video games. TV shows show actual people in life-like situations with sixty percent of shows including violence. Now that video games are similar to other media, universal rating systems are proposed to keep a guideline to rate which content is appropriate for who. In the long run, this would limit the creativity of the companies that project the products onto the market. Since explicit suggestions can be perceived as a work of art based on the context they are used in, it is hard to fathom having a piece of media so inspiring that it would lead to a huge problem such as a genocide. Movies and games based on history such as Pearl Harbor teach us about how we got to where we are today. The public concern is that such imagery teaches our youth in a wrong manner, that is deceiving and misleading. Contradictory to that fact, if we never taught was violence was, how would our nation prepare for situations such as war? If anything, violence should be taught through moderation, allowing information to be learned through a child’s life when they are ready to understand the whole concept. As adults, we understand life at a whole new perspective as we mature than we could at a stage of adolescence. We learn about the psychological stages that a human goes through in the development of the brain. Given that over exposure to negative visuals can change our emotions, it’s no surprise that watching people be aggressive has an impact on our mindset. The fact that violent media

DiCarlo 11 can involve our minds consciously is our way of getting astray from reality for a time being. When we become motivated to use media for entertainment, there are typically many reasons why. A main one is that people want to find an answer in life or a relation involving another person’s situation to apply it to one’s they are able to relate to. When teenagers get the big picture, they know the basis of right and wrong. Though their bodies are going through drastic changes, they are still able to perceive wrongly of the media. During this time, they are also growing up to be more independent and the tie between them and their families slowly becomes more distant. They lock themselves in their rooms to get away from chores and watch movies and play games that their parents wouldn’t let them interact with under supervision. It’s no surprise, being that the economy is focused on gaining monetary value through advertising. Through all the mediums of advertising, they all have the same objective. As long as a business can hook one consumer for a purchase, it is looked at as profit and not the overall benefit for the customer. At a young age, children are the main target for most advertising. Adults have already learned the tricks of advertising and know which deals are good or bad. Young children get a sense of urgency and act on impulse to advise their parents about how much they need the game they saw on TV. Ad campaigns target children as much as the law will permit. Even under a rating system, the government cannot stop the violent games being dispersed to young children. Just as explicit games get to the youth, explicit products such as cigarettes do too. The situation of every story always has it’s different width of roots embedded that are often unconsidered. When the want of a person is great enough, they will act to get what they desire. The thought process of imagining cannot be revoked. It is programmed in our brains to try and make our thoughts become real. Until

DiCarlo 12 we see our dreams, we don’t realize the value and fruits of life. It is certain that everyone has different mindsets and beliefs based on our prior experience. It is when we combine our ideas to innovate benefits for the future. There is also a consequence involved in the progression of such a concept. Because of violent media, it has been claimed for the blame of causing aggressiveness in the user. Through many examples of crime that have related back to the source, it’s always so easy to point the finger at the easiest target. Once the view is held in the hands of someone optimistic, you understand to think outside the box without jumping to derogatory conclusions. Scientists and experts conduct studies to find the truth in these problems. Once an extensive amount of study with a broad range of capabilities is conducted that analyzes every side of the issue, I’m positive that there is no behavioral motivation to commit crimes and be violent because of it. There are forms of aggression that can take place such as hostility in ones mood. It’s one of the more negative emotions, but we all get it. The parenting role in all of our lives is supposed to guide us and remind us of right and wrong. As long as there is someone to teach us and answer our questions about the unknown, we can have a predetermined action in understanding the issue when the situation varies, which builds on our part of learning and acquiring information. Because I play the new video game Call of Duty Black Ops, where the setting involves blood and immoral actions of killing, cussing, rude remarks, and racial slurs, does not make me want to go out and repeat the main characters objectives. I would not advise going home and teaching a four year old every component of the newer violent games so that they can adapt to it in their futures. What I will say is that if you’re going to worry about what exactly it is that the young are attaining from these games, it’s best that they are overlooked far in advance before a

DiCarlo 13 child gets the urge and feels it is necessary for them to be a part of the game interaction.

DiCarlo 14 Works Cited Haines, Lester. "Violent Video Games do not Cause Aggression. No Evidence, Academic Report Suggests." The Register. N.p., 15 Aug 2005. Web. 4 Nov 2010. Hillcroft, Margaret. "Does Violence in Video Games Contribute to Real Life Violence?." Helium. Helium.com, N.d. Web. 2 Dec 2010. "Media Violence Debates." Media Awareness Network. MNet, N.d. Web. 4 Nov 2010 Remley, Matt. "Does Violence in Video Games Contribute to Real Life Violence?." Helium. Helium.com, N.d. Web. 2 Dec 2010. "Teen Violence and Video Games." Teenhelp.com N.p Web. 4 Nov 2010. Tompkins, Aimee. "The Psychological Effects of Violent Media on Children." AllPsych Journal (2003): n. pag. Web. 4 Nov 2010. "Universal Rating System Debated." Issues & Controversies On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 9 June 2006. Web. 4 Nov. 2010. "Video Game Ratings." Issues & Controversies On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 13 Feb. 2004. Web. 4 Nov. 2010. Video Games and Violence." Issues & Controversies On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 13 Feb. 2004. Web. 4 Nov. 2010.

DiCarlo 15 Video-Game Studies Reach Contradictory Conclusions." Issues & Controversies On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Web. 4 Nov. 2010. "Youth-Oriented Advertising." Issues & Controversies On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 23 Aug. 2004. Web. 4 Nov. 2010. Services, 6 July 2007.

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