Video Game Violence and Gaming Addiction


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This WebQuest is intended to help students explore the topic of Video Game Violence



You will discover the topic of Video Game Violence by completing different tasks. After getting familiar with the topic, you will conduct research and find a video to share with the class.

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Follow the steps in the following page to get started!


STEP 1: Watch this video and discuss the questions that follow:

Discuss in your group: 

  • What emotions did you feel after watching the video?
  • How did the video make you feel physically — relaxed? Tense?
  • Did watching the video make you feel any differently than you did upon coming to class?

STEP 2: Watch this video:

Discuss in your group: 

  • What emotions did you feel after watching the video?
  • How did the video make you feel physically — relaxed? Tense?
  • Based on this experience, can you make any generalizations about how observing different types of media can affect your mood? Why or why not?

STEP 3: Read excerpts from an article from The New York Times called "Shooting in the Dark" about video game violence:

1. "Social scientists have been studying and debating the effects of media violence on behavior since the 1950s, and video games in particular since the 1980s. The issue is especially relevant today, because the games are more realistic and bloodier than ever, and because most American boys play them at some point. Girls play at lower rates and are significantly less likely to play violent games."

2. A burst of new research has begun to clarify what can and cannot be said about the effects of violent gaming. Playing the games can and does stir hostile urges and mildly aggressive behavior in the short term. Moreover, youngsters who develop a gaming habit can become slightly more aggressive — as measured by clashes with peers, for instance — at least over a period of a year or two.

3. Lab experiments confirm what any gamer knows in his gut: playing games like “Call of Duty,” “Killzone 3” or “Battlefield 3” stirs the blood. In one recent study, Christopher Barlett, a psychologist at Iowa State University, led a research team that had 47 undergraduates play “Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance” for 15 minutes. Afterward, the team took various measures of arousal, both physical and psychological. It also tested whether the students would behave more aggressively, by having them dole out hot sauce to a fellow student who, they were told, did not like spicy food but had to swallow the sauce. Sure enough, compared with a group who had played a nonviolent video game, those who had been engaged in “Mortal Kombat” were more aggressive across the board.

4. “Some studies done in schools or elsewhere have found that it is aggressive children who are the most likely to be drawn to violent video games in the first place; they are self-selected to be in more schoolyard conflicts.”

5. “None of these extreme acts, like a school shooting, occurs because of only one risk factor; there are many factors, including feeling socially isolated, being bullied, and so on,” said Craig A. Anderson, a psychologist at Iowa State University. “But if you look at the literature, I think it’s clear that violent media is one factor; it’s not the largest factor, but it’s also not the smallest.”

6. “At the very least, parents should be aware of what’s in the games their kids are playing,” Dr. Anderson said, “and think of it from a socialization point of view: what kind of values, behavioral skills, and social scripts is the child learning?”

Discuss these questions after reading:

1. Do you think that violence in video games is excessive? Do you think it teaches the players, especially the young players, to be more aggressive and that aggression is ok? Would you want your younger brother or sister to play these games? Why or why not?

2. Do you think video games teach kids to kill? Why or why not? What other factors might be important to examine?

3. Do you feel that increased realism and virtual reality in video games is a more positive or negative advancement? For what reasons? How important is an intensified and more realistic experience?

4. Do you feel that players are able to keep absolutely clear the line between game play and reality? Do you feel that virtually flying a plane is less problematic than virtually shooting a gun?

5. Should the government intervene to control kids' access to video games?


STEP 4: Do research and find this information:

1. What are the "most violent" video games in the market?

2. How much money do these games make?


STEP 5: Listen to this podcast about Game Violence

Answer these questions: 

  • What does the psychologist interviewed say is the wrong question to ask about violent behavior such as mass shootings? Why?
  • How does the psychologist explain the difference between aggression and violence?
  • According to the psychologist, what is the relationship between consuming media violence and aggressive behavior?
  • According to the story, what does the research indicate regarding the idea that video games can offer catharsis?
  • What factors do you think might increase aggression? What factors might decrease it? Support your claims with evidence.

Once you complete Steps 1 to 5, go to the next page!


To expand on the topic of Video Game Violence and Gaming Addiction, please complete this final task:

1. Go on YouTube

2. Find a 3-6 minute video that discusses either Video Game Violence. Make sure the video is reliable (it comes from a trusted source).

3. Watch the video to get a good idea of what it is about.

4. Present the video to the class. What was something interesting your learned from this video?

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