In the 21st century, the rapid advancement of technology has led to robust expansion of the applications and software development used in virtual reality connectivity. Video games are a common practice among millions of people globally, most especially children. The playing of video games affects the children’s developmental stages as they are exposed to various issues prompting the development of ethical dilemmas. The ethical dilemmas arise in allowing children to play video games while at one point enhances a child’s cognitive development has profound adverse effects. For instance, due to the vast amount of time spent on the screen playing video games, children engage in minimal or no physical activities. This sets a precedent for developing health complications such as diabetes, asthma, obesity, high blood pressure, heart problems, among others.
As well, spending too much time on the screens playing video games denies the child the opportunity to interact in the real-world with real-people. That in itself manifests in the development of psychological and psychosocial defects that undermines the child’s social behavior and capacity. In its manifestation, children are at the risk of becoming introverts and socially disabled as they cannot connect with others. In the family, the bonds bring all siblings and parents together to fail to develop, culminating in an unhealthy relationship. These aspects present extensive ethical issues resulting from playing video games by children, teenagers, and adults.
Playing violent video games raises the concern of promoting aggression, as well as increase impulsivity and moods causing tempers. Kühn et al. (2019) note that studies show that playing violent video games reduces pro-social behavior and interferes with cognitive abilities as children developed mood swings based on the level of aggression in them. According to Shao and Wang (2019), violent video games alters the family environment and normative beliefs as a result of exposure to aggression. This is a major ethical problem that culminates in the erosion of morals in society, destroying the social fabric. “With more than 90 percent of the United States children playing some sort of video games, and a considerable number of adolescents between ages 12 to 17 increasing the figure to 97 percent – there is an enormous problem in the society” (APA, 2015). Therefore, the capacity to resolve the ethical issue(s) associated with playing video games is fundamental to set a better society.
Application of Reynold’s 7-Step Approach in Ethical Decision-Making
The application of Reynold’s 7-step approach in ethical decision-making surrounding video games is critical to rebuilding a society based on morals. Playing video games adversely affects individuals engaged in most, especially when they turn video games addicts. This results in the consumption of too much time and always on the screens playing video games. The increased level of violence used by developers culminates in attracting gamers and creating a conception and need to always be active on video games. Beyond health complications, this leads to an ineffective way of leaving and relating with other peoples.
The ethical decision-making to playing video games can be assessed and informed using Reynold’s seven-step approach, as discussed below.
First, the step requires getting the facts relating to playing video games and the effects they have on games, most, especially children. The ethical issue of consideration relates to the associated implications that result from playing video games (violent, among others). Children and teenagers being the most affected and with long-term effects risk developing major complications with potential ripple effects on the society (Shahsavarani & Azad Marz Abadi, 2015). This calls for profound change, diversification, and control of how video games are played. The consideration of the number of hours spend on the screen is essential to inform the ethical decision making based on facts and possible results.
Second, the step revolves around the identification of the stakeholders impacted by the ethical issue(s) presented. In the playing of video games, the most affected stakeholders comprise of the live gamers (children and teenagers). Also, the family is affected as the time that would be spent together bonding a living quality is substituted with on-screen time. Hence, it undermines the social behavior of people and the future of society.
Third, the consideration of consequences is paramount to making wise ethical decisions regarding playing video games. Video games pose profound health risks as significant consequences calling for an extensive review of the ethical decisions and implications. Also, pro-social behavior and how people live is at risk. As well, the moral fabric of the society is at risk due to the increase in the levels of aggression and anti-social ques.
The fourth step calls for the evaluation of the various guidelines, principles, and policies surrounding playing video games. In the United States, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) provides the guidelines, enforce ratings, and promoting online privacy principles in the video game industry (Lastowka, 2013). This is critical to stipulate the compliance requirements to which video games should follow and the extent of implications they should induce on the users. Policies revolve on the protection of personal privacy while online and protection of minors. The principles are based on individual responsibility and considerations when playing video games.
The fifth step stipulates the need to develop and evaluate options. That is, the consideration of where playing video games is good, the benefits created, and the evaluation of positives and negative implications. This is fundamental to weigh and create a balance between the pros and cons of playing video games.
The sixth step asserts the value of reviewing your decisions. The decision is informed by the more benefits outweighing the negative. In playing video games, creating control measures to minimize the adverse effects is critical to limit the negative implications. As a result, the decision ought to create enhanced benefits as a result of the control measures employed in the process (Sanctuary, Meir & Sadler, 2012). Therefore, set a precedent in which video games are not all bad and pose a threat to children and teenagers instead serve as a learning and cognitive development opportunity.
Finally, the evaluation of the results is critical to determine the value addition of ethical decision making. The solution provided in the evaluation of playing video games, including the violent ones, is based on the capacity to limit the number of hours spent on the computer and television screens. The capacity to attain better results is enhanced by minimizing the number of hours spent on the screen. Also, social, physical, and family activities should never be substituted for gaming time. Hence, playing video games should only remain as a complement rather than a negative component.