The millennials are the generation that has attracted most debates that concern human development today. As such, they have been labeled as extremely aggressive, high maintenance, and very lazy. As it turns, the millennials harbor a range of complexities in their personalities. These complexities are basically anchored around the characteristics that technology has imparted effectively into the psychological setup of this generation. Speaking of technology, college students today are more informed, over attached to internet- connected devices and are very well engaged to the occurrences in the global community. It is basically from these characteristics that people start to develop aggressive behaviors to their personalities. The question however is, what aspect of the interconnectivity, brought about by technology, has instigated aggressions in the millennial generation?
Definitively, aggression is a behavioral show violence or negative attitude by an individual towards another individual or even property. Aggressive people characteristically are prepared to attack or confront whenever they are stimulated to do so. As some kinds of aggression might be reactive, others are affective. Either way, aggression in an individual is broadly attached to the psychological complexity of an individual. It should be noted that the context, the people with whom we interact or that base our interactions, play a central role in the ability of an individual to attract an aggressive behavior or not. Thus, technology, being the most social integrative platform for the millenials today, plays a central role in the manifestation of aggressive behaviors among its users through a range of avenues.
Computer games are a component of the millennial interactive platform that has sparked a lot of arguments; especially the relationship between games and violent behaviors. Usually, not all computer games are violent. However, those games that show massive characteristics of violence have direct psychological impacts on the players. Based on the difficulty in linking violent behaviors with violence, a lot of studies have linked their findings to theories of aggression and behavioral control. One of the most referred to theory is the General Aggression Model (GAM) (You & Bellmore, 2014).
GAM is a mixture of several social- cognitive theories. The correspondents of GAM basically outlines the how what people interact with often eventually constitutes a component of their behaviors. According to GAM, aggressive behaviors are critically acquired through reinforcement and learning of those structures of knowledge, which influence the interpretation and perception of the simple cues into complex behavioral sequences. If an individual gets exposed to these behavioral sequences over long periods of time and repetitively, they can gradually start developing relative behaviors. GAM asserts that exposure to violent media facilitates the manifestation of hostile behaviors on how such people perceive the behaviors of those people around them or the broad situational variables that they are exposed to.
Based on the assertions of GAM, fundamental behavioral changes are eminent in cases where people are repeatedly exposed to some kind of media. Simply, what people love effectively comes to define their personalities in the long run. From this description, it is obvious that exposure to violent games and in a long period of time, repetitively, might alter how an individual perceive their contexts. Characteristically, video games are very addictive. Thus, people would easily get glued to these games uncontrollably. If the game in question is violent, then the player eminently will develop violent characteristics.
APA gives a different understanding on the role that playing video games may play in instigating violent behaviors as opposed to GAM. The study by APA reveals a direct connection between aggressive behaviors and playing video games. However, they (APA) argue that there is no indication of the learned behaviors escalating into crime among the players (American Psychological Association 2015). In the research, APA quotes that consistent relation between violent video game uses effectively leads to an escalation in aggressive cognitions, aggressive behavior, aggressive affect and decrease in pro- social empathy, behavior and sensitivity to aggression. Moreover, APA asserts that no single influence could lead a person into violence or even aggression.
On their study therefore, APA put emphasis on the risk factors of playing games and manifesting aggressive behaviors. Through their definitions, the risk factors are the anchors of violence that, if combined, may lead an individual into violence effectively and unknowingly. APA categorizes video games as the leading risk factor that if combined with other factors such as autonomy can lead to aggression and violence. An understanding of the study by APA and GAM leads one into a belief that the millenials could be at a risk of manifesting aggressive behaviors than the previous generations (American Psychological Association 2015). Statistically, people between the ages of 18- 30 years spend quite a lot of time on their internet connected devices. Of the time spent online, a massive amount is dedicated to search for information. A huge portion of this time as well is dedicated to playing video games; which are the biggest risk factors in as far as manifesting violent behaviors is concerned.
Apart from video games, there are manifestation of sexual aggression among college students. Drug abuse and sexual aggression are common characteristics of college students today. Most studies indicate that today, the rates of sexual aggression or drug abuse in colleges have increased tremendously. A lot of these statistics are attributed to the fact that the world today is more interconnected. People not only learn of new cultures, they as well put such cultures into practice. Normally, access to massive pieces of critical information lead people into activities that, at one point, they might not have control over. Exposure to pieces of information about sex and drug abuse, at some stage in life, may lure people into getting indulged in such aggressive behaviors. Alcohol consumptions, for instance, may alter the perception of an individual into an unwarranted violence.
Aggression is a group activity. There are a lot of people that have to be involved so as to effect an aggressive behavior in one individual. As much as the millenials are said to rely so much into their personalities, the new platforms of communication and interaction give them a lot of avenues through which to exploit a range of issues (Knee et al, 2015). This generation is connected to a lot of other people from a range of cultures. As such, they stand a better chance of forming niches that easily can instigate aggressive behaviors to their personalities. Issues such as rampant drug abuse and addiction to video games are rampant, interconnected and are capable of indulging individuals or groups into unprecedented aggression after a period of time.
American Psychological Association (2015). APA Review Confirms Link Between Playing Violent Games and Aggression.
Knee, J. et al. (2015). Fight fire with rainbows: The effects of displayed violence, difficulty and performance in digital games on affect, aggression, and physiological arousal. CrossMark
Testa, M. et al. (2015). Do Drinking Episodes Contribute to Sexual Aggression Perpetration in College Men? New York: University of Buffalo
You, J., & Bellmore, A. (2014). College Students Behavioral Reactions upon Witnessing Relational Peer Aggression. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin- Madison & Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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