Ethics in the Gaming Industry

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Introduction

Over the years, gaming industry has grown in popularity among the youth across the world. However, the new trend is emerging when the level of individualism in the society is affecting social structures in the society. With individualism each person is focused on improving personal welfare. The family bond has been broken. Furthermore, children no longer play with their peers during their free time. Instead, they spend much of their time playing video games and watching violent videos. This has had a major impact on their growth and development. This paper will therefore, discuss the effect of violence and sex in the video games has affected the youth.

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According to the utilitarianism theory, actions can be considered right if they are beneficial to the majority of the people in the society. In this case, video games have contributed significantly in bringing in immoral behaviours among the young generation. Businesses have a fiduciary duty of taking care of the society (Hamelink, 2000). Therefore, although video games have turned out into a profitable venture, the morality of the society cannot be exchanged with profits. It is unethical for businesses to continue producing violent games for the sake of expanding their revenue base without taking into consideration their impact on the current and future generations.

According to Aristotelian code of ethics, the virtues dictate the behaviours of the society. The important virtual such as generosity, courage, friendliness, and temperance defined a morally right individual. However, with the entry of violence and sex-based video games, young people are unable to observe these virtues (Einar, 2007). For instance, enmity has become a common aspect in the society. In many cases, the young people are out of touch with their family members. Instead, they have joined peer groups where they engage in group sex and drug abuse. Furthermore, they rarely engage in social activities. Initially, young people would join groups to help the elderly and other vulnerable people in the society. However, these video games have watered down these virtues. The current problem cannot be associated with parents only. Each member of the society has a role to play in bringing up the young generation and ensuring that they abide to the ethical guidelines that shape the society. Having a general code of ethics that guides the content that is being delivered to young children is therefore, significant in addressing some of the social ills that are affecting the society (Sicart, 2011). Furthermore, the code of ethics has been significant in acting as parameters of measuring ethical standards in the gaming industry.

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Violent video games are associated with aggressive and hostile behaviours among the children. Many young people absorb the information from the video games as gospel truth. Many of the video games use celebrities as the main characters. These are people that young people look up to as their role model. As a result, they are directly influenced by their actions while playing the games. Research indicates that constant exposure on the video games changes the mind-set of the children. They start taking violence as a norm. Therefore, even when negotiation and peaceful discussion are the best alternatives of resolving a disagreement, these children opt to use violence to solve any issue (McWhorter, Anderson, Buckley, & Gentile, 2007). This explains the reason why the number of violent confrontations in schools has increased tremendously. This is because children have grown up watching videos where characters use violence to get something done. In the society, video games have influenced the way people resolve conflicts. For instance, the youth opt to show their anger by destroying private and public property during demonstration. This is despite the existence of peaceful means of airing their grievance. The reason is that video games have influenced their thinking making them less resilience and patient in the peaceful process which might take a longer period of time before finding an amicable solution (Sicart, 2011). Therefore, video games have contributed significantly to an increase in violence in the society. The reason is that once the children grow up playing the video games, it becomes very hard for them to change their mind-set. The violence from video games has also found its way in the workplace. Many of the subordinates are ending up in violent confrontation especially at this time when teamwork has become a common aspect as organizations try to deal with different challenges that are facing businesses across the world.

Watching violent video games by children has a direct impact on the performance of the children in school. Children are spending a lot of their free time watching video games. Besides the time wasted, they develop a hostile character. As a result, they are unable to make friends or become a dedicated team member. The reason is that their peers fear them because of being bullied. Using force to get something is a common aspect in the Grand Theft Auto Games. Children believe in molesting their peers to get whatever they want. Therefore, it becomes hard for such children to have a normal social life. In many cases, they end up becoming lonely. Some of them end up suffering from stress and stress-related diseases. In extreme cases, they even commit suicide. This explains the reason why the number of children suffering from depression and other related ailment has increased significantly. However, the society is yet to embrace the problem. Many parents are yet to accept that they have contributed significantly to the change in behaviour that is depicted by their children. This is making it hard for the society to find long-term solutions because many parents opt to allow their children to play violent video games rather than allowing them to play with their peers in an outside environment.

Video games reduce young people’s self-control. This is an important virtual that dictate personal behaviour of individuals. According to a study by Psychology Today (2014) children that play violent video games are unable to hold high moral standards. For instance, in the Doom video games, stealing without having to pay is a common aspect. The games teach children to use illegal means or force to steal from stores. Therefore, violent games enthusiasts are likely to cheat or steal something when denied or if they lack money to purchase it. This explains the reason why many children are ending up engaging in drug abuse and criminal activities. The reason is that they try to emulate the characters who engage in smoking and injecting themselves with drugs in order to get more power. Once these children get addicted, they end up committing criminal activities with the aim of maintaining their expensive behaviours. Others are joining criminal groups in search for acceptance. This is because parents are advising their children to stay away from such friends. As a result, they seek solace from the criminal gangs. Lack of self-control has also resulted to obesity among some of the children. Besides encouraging violence, video games force many children to spend much of their time behind the doors. Therefore, when they lack self-control, they are likely to consume fast foods and other sugary products, an aspect that makes them add weight. Excess weight makes them to lose self-esteem. Many of them prefer not to engage their friends for fear of being jeered at during physical activities. Therefore, when they need help, they are likely to look for it from friends with similar behaviours. Majority of them end up being misled, thereby, indulging in drug abuse and other related vices.

Violent and sexual video games have resulted to an increase in sexual immorality among young people. Statistics indicate that the number of rape cases involving young people in the society has increased immensely. Initially, young people would receive advice on sex-related matters during adolescent age. However, the entry of video games in the market has watered down the moral values that were held by the society (Lin, Thornburgh, 2002). Sex-related video games have increased the urge by the young to engage in unprotected sex. As a result, the number of early pregnancies that are reported has increased tremendously. Furthermore, sex-related diseases such as HIV/Aids are spreading very fast among this generation (Hamelink, 2000). The issue of stereotyping has also been increased as a result of video games. For instance, the video games have been designed using women characters that have bodies that are perceived to be ‘ideal’. This has piled pressure on young girls to work extra harder in trying to achieve this body side. As a result, a number of them are even going without food while others are using drugs to shed some weight. A different group of ladies are opting to seek surgical procedure to achieve the ideal look (Ahmed & Imran, 2006). However, some have ended up dying while others have fallen ill because some of the practices affect body functions. The same case has applied for boys. The use of steroids and other related drugs that enhance their body outlook has been on a rise. However, these drugs are associated with high blood sugar, heart diseases, and other chronic diseases. Prostitution is also in an increase. The pressures from sexual video games have seen some young people engage in sexual activities over the social platform (Phillips, 1997). Some are trading their nude pictures with virtual buyers. Others have been lured to indulge in prostitution as a result of peer pressure and the increased urge as a result of watching and playing video games (Reichert & Lambiase, 2005). My personal observation based on the ethical code is that companies that produce the video games have failed to observe the ethical guidelines. Instead, they have been driven by the increasing demand, thereby, failing to take into consideration the end consumers and the impact of the video games on their behaviours.

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Summary

In the global market, the level of competition has increased tremendously. Companies are willing to use all means possible to boost their profits. Some are willing to use unethical means to gain competitive advantage in the market. Video games companies have been in the forefront in ignoring the fiduciary duty of protecting the young people in the society. This is through producing violent and sexual content that is affecting the lives of millions of children across the world. Violent video games have instilled aggressive behaviours in young people. Therefore, violent conflicts have become common in the society at the expense of peace initiatives. In addition, they have affected the social lives of the children, thereby, bringing social problems such as drug abuse, crime, and theft. The reason is that children have been made to believe that these are the only effective means of achieving their objectives. On the other hand, sex-related video games have resulted to the spread of sexual immorality in the society. For instance, the number of early pregnancies in the society has increased tremulously. Moreover, the number of young people suffering from sexual-related diseases has increased over the years. Therefore, there is need for the government and non-governmental bodies to work together in protecting the young generation from negative influence.

Conclusion

The government as well as non-governmental organizations should form a body that is mandated with regulating the content in the video games. Over the years, there has been frequent changed in the technological sector, an aspect that has made it hard for the government to keep up through enacting laws. These gaps are being exploited by multinational organizations that are profit oriented at the expense of the young people. Developing laws and regulations that will see companies that are producing video games held responsible for the content they release in the market will go a long way in protecting the youth. Furthermore, parents should purpose to spend more time with their children. This is important in offering them guidance and support. Some of them end up engaging in some of the vices because there is no one to listen to them. Therefore, creating time is significant in understanding their predicaments and offering them with the necessary advice to enable them avoid temptations from their peers. Lastly, teachers should be enlightened on how to identify and offer support to students who have been affected by violent and sexual-related video games. They should also work closely with the parents to support the child. Many of the children end up being attracted by the actions of their peers because they feel unwanted by their close family members. Therefore, developing a strong family bond is significant in protecting young people from external content.

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  1. Ahmed, A. & Imran, M. (2006) Sexual Violence depicted against Women in Video Games:. The Effect of Virtual World on the Real World.
  2. Einar, H. K. (2007). Library Hi Tech : Information ethics. Bradford, GB: Emerald Group  environment?. (2002).
  3. Hamelink, C. (2000).  London, GB: SAGE Publications Ltd.
  4. Lin, H. S., Thornburgh, L. D. (2002)Youth, pornography and the internet : can we provide sound choices in a safe
  5. McWhorter, J., Anderson, C. A., Buckley, K. E., & Gentile, D. A. (2007). Violent video media and marketing.
  6. Phillips, M. J. (1997). Ethics and Manipulation in Advertising. Westport, US: Greenwood Press.
  7. Psychology Today. Jan 16, 2014. Violent video games decrease self-control., Retrieved Publishing Limited
  8. Reichert, T., & Lambiase, J. (Eds.). (2005). Sex in consumer culture : the erotic content of
  9. Sicart, M. (2011). Cambridge, US: The MIT Press.
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