Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation

Beginning the Academic Essay

In the article “Do Video Games kill?” Karen Sternheimer, a sociologist at the University of Southern California, argues that people need to look beyond video games when seeking answers for increased violence and homicide among teenagers. According to her many people including the media and politicians perceive video games as the only cause of violent behaviors among teenagers. The same people forget that other factors play a role in influencing criminal behaviors among teenagers and which include environment or neighborhood, poverty, divorce, and exposure to stereotypical media play role. Karen argues that it is sad when people perceive teenagers from “good” neighborhoods as new breeds of teenagers created by video games rather than the social construct. Karen Sternheimer is prompted to write this article by the fact that several people seem to be living a lie when judging and associating a particular event to a particular cause with little emphasizes on factual information. In essence, Karen’s thesis statement suggests that video games should never be blamed for the raising juvenile violence and shootings, but other factors such as poverty, divorce, and environment should be considered.

Analysis and evaluation of argument
The author begins his argument by stating how critics and the media have turned the blame on video games following the increased rate of school shootings. In one end the newspaper headline reads “Bloodlust Video Games Put Kids in the Crosshairs,” and in the other head, politicians are quick to conclude that indeed video games have promoted violence especially in schools (Sternheimer 14). However, Sternheimer feels that the media, politician, and the general public have not given attention to other vital issues that trigger violence individually, within the family, and socially.
Sternheimer is guided by the fact that there is a lot of misinterpretation especially when the media and the white community perceive violent white children and middle-class children as victims of recently launched dangerous video games while African American teenagers continue to be viewed as a perilous representative group. In the article, Sternheimer is defending her claim that video games are not the actual causes of violence among teenagers by showing how several lawsuits against video game producers have failed trial. She further questions people associating video games to rising violence on why there are “young killers” from suburban families considered by many as decent and well-off Americans (Sternheimer 15). In general, Sternheimer’s argument is appealing and justifiable based on what she presented to back her thesis statement.
Sternheimer article is persuasive and mainly suitable for an audience who are well educated, those from suburban families, and many others in the sociological profession. Her choice of language is ideal, straight to the point, and highly appropriate for the intended audience. Professionally, Sternheimer starts by making readers aware that too much blame has been put on video games whereas several other factors contribute to rising rate of teen violence (Sternheimer 15). She goes ahead to give specific examples of how other factors contribute to teen violence by even using statistical research. Entirely, her points regarding the issue are supported by adequate evidence, proof, or even verifiable testimonies. Nonetheless, Sternheimer adds too much subjectivity in his arguments and thus making the whole thing unverifiable. Subjectivity discredits information presented by making it less persuasive among the audience. Sternheimer would have made her argument more persuasive by entirely arguing based on factual grounds.
The article is a bit scattered and disorganized. Sternheimer mentions media, teenage violence, and newspapers between emerging points instead of analyzing one point at a time. I feel that each topic or potential cause of teenage violence should have been examined whether statistically or subjectively in different sub-topics or under new headings to make more sense and clarity. Entirely, Sternheimer jumps from one point to another and later on when the article gains momentum returns to a point earlier stated thus making the reading process less lively (Sternheimer 17). Additionally, Sternheimer does not conclude or even give solutions to the earlier posited thesis statement. The author leaves the reader hanging and only gives recommended reading for the author to find out more, something that should not have happened in the article. Overall, Sternheimer has valid points that argue that teenage violence is attributed to several factors such as social exclusion, divorce in families, among others but fails to acknowledge that video games are also a part of these factors.
Conclusion
In conclusion, I am persuaded that other factors play a role in promoting teenage violence. Equally, I believe that if televisions can influence perceptions, then video games can also affect the way teenagers think and act. Sternheimer seems to contradict her statements by failing to acknowledge that video games play a role in teenage violence and thus making some audience question his piece. Overall, she has come up with some logical claims that have somehow proved that adolescent violence is attributed to different other factors other than just video games. Even though her approach of argument is weak, disorganized, and somehow subjective, she manages to drive her point home though with lack of conclusion that summarizes his piece of work.

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