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Videogame Violence

Video games will turn 30 years old in 2002. The industry that started with Pong has become a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry. The growth of the industry is both matched and driven by the technological advances. In a little more than two years, video game consoles have gone from processing 350,000 polygons per second (pg/s) a measure of graphic and action quality-- to processing 125 million pg/s. The increasingly realistic and exciting nature of electronic games has helped to make them enormously popular with children and youth. 79% of American children now play computer or video games on a regular basis. Children between the ages of seven and 17 play for an average of eight hours a week. Most of the games on the market are appropriate for these young players, and the best of them can bring a lot of benefits. Besides being fun, some of the games provide practice in problem solving and logic as well as strategizing. The growth of electronic games has not been without controversy, however. The subset of games that feature violence, gore, and antisocial behavior has raised concern among parents, educators, child advocates, medical professionals, and policy makers. The implication of games in high profile school shootings has led to congressional hearings, government investigations, and legislative proposals. The intense concern about video and computer games is based on the belief that the ultra violent games are inappropriate for all children and harmful to some.