For his 10th birthday, Greg was given a handheld videogame system. His parents allowed him to pick any two games. They knew the games might contain violence, because there was a violence rating sign posted on the games, but rationalized that they were only games and other kids play them. Greg would quickly finish dinner and run up to his room to play his games.
His parents were pleased to observe that Greg enjoyed their present so much. After a week, his parents noticed that he wasn’t turning off the videogames at bedtime, and had begun turning homework in late. He was up so late playing that he would not get up for school without argument. His parents decided that enough was enough and took the video games away. Greg threw temper tantrums and persuaded his parents to buy him a computer after convincing them that it was necessary to keep up at school. Greg soon returned to the same pattern of behavior where he spent long hours and late nights at the computer. This time, his parents felt a false sense of security that he was doing his homework. One day, his curious parents decided to scan the computer history to see what Web sites Greg was browsing. To their horror, they discovered that Greg was spending many hours online playing interactive, sometimes violently graphic, games on the Internet. He was also chatting with other “gamers”. Before confronting Greg about his behavior, his mother and father agreed to investigate what types of intervention strategies might be available within their community. They have come to you, a behavioral consultant, for advice.
Describe the issue of exposure to videogame violence in today’s society as related to Greg’s situation. Explore issues such as:
- Prevalence (e.g., age, gender, racial diversity, etc.)
- Given Greg’s developmental level, what are possible dangers of exposure to media violence? Be sure to address this in the context of his cognitive and socioemotional development.
- Risk and protective factors, including predisposition to violence (e.g., are all children who play violent videogames likely to become more aggressive? What protective factors might mitigate the possible outcomes for Greg?
- Discuss the possible outcomes if Greg’s behavior continues unchecked.
- Discuss types of intervention strategies you would expect his parents to find at a community level, such as in community centers, schools, and social service agencies, to assist children like Greg who are at risk due to ongoing exposure to media violence.
- What would be a good plan to recommend to Greg’s parents?
- Compare the dangers of exposure to videogame violence with other forms of violence. What are similarities and differences between videogame violence exposure and the other type of violence you chose to compare?
- What are the costs of videogame violence to the family and the community and society at large and the other form of violence you chose for comparison?
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