The debate that video games are directly linked to increased aggression and a rise in violence has been getting a lot of attention recently due to the Sandy Hook Shooting, as well as the increase in shootings over the past year. The public, and even news organizations, have accused video games of being the cause of the increase in violence. This is not true, at all.
Last month, President Obama submitted a $10 million plan for the Centers for Disease Control to focus research on the relationship between video games and violence. Up until recently, there hasn’t been a study that confirms that they have a cause/effect relationship with each other. There have been studies that say that people who played video games consistently were more aggressive, but they haven’t offered solid enough evidence because each individual is affected differently.
Video games have always been accused of desensitizing children to violence. While they have realistic violence in them, there are aspects of said violence that makes the experience different for a person killing in a video game rather than in real life. There are silly sound effects, ridiculous amounts of blood, sometimes even glitter, and endless amounts of ammo in the guns. All of these aspects are unrealistic and take away from the severity of killing an human.
These effects, however, don’t occur in real-life. Glitter doesn’t explode all over you and triumphant music doesn’t play if you beat your sparring buddy in your kickboxing class. There is more of a “this is real” feeling that you get. You can get hit and, yes, it will hurt; something that doesn’t occur when you go and play Battlefield 3 or Call of Duty. There is a detachment that occurs while playing violent, realistic games like these. Why? Because you can’t get hurt and because you don’t really know how to use that AK-47 you always equip in Battlefield 3.
Playing video games like these grant one the ability to feel as if they are invincible, that they can take their frustrations out on that one player who is trolling you every time you re-spawn. These games give you the chance to take out your aggravation in ways you can’t really do in real-life. When video games became popular, youth violence decreased by 40 percent, according to Time Magazine.
The only reason that video games are being targeted is because it’s an easy solution to a complicated problem. By banning or heavily monitoring video games there is the hope that violence in the U.S. will decrease or, at least, that it should decrease. The instances of violence in the U.S., specifically shootings, can be because of a plethora of reasons. Video games could be one of those reasons once and a while, but not every single time. The debate over video games causing increasing violence won’t settle down just yet. Every time someone commits a mass shooting there will always be that one person who cries, “video games did it!”
At some point, hopefully, every one will realize that there isn’t a reason to believe the boy who cries wolf.