Violent Games Don't Make People More Violent
Do you know that sales of videogames have more than quadrupled from 1995-2008, while the arrest rate for juvenile murders fell 71.9% violent crimes committed by juveniles saw a decreases of 49.
3% in the same period of time. Even though according to these stats video games don’t show much of a threat, many people in media and politics still blame violent video games for any violent problems that derive from our society (Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence?, 2014).Therefore, violent video games don’t make people act or be violent. In the year of 1993, a videogame was released called Doom. Following its release, Doom sparked a lot of controversy because of how popular it got and how violent the game was in general. One of the first things it did was establish fears that games like this now and in the future would teach kids to kill and be violent.
Doom also became extremely popular making gaming grow into a multibillion dollar industry. Then, school shootings started happening throughout the United States. In all cases, the press providing information of these school shootings emphasized that the shooters loved Doom, but in ten years following the release of Doom, homicide arrest rates fell 77% among juveniles. School shootings were extremely rare, when fears of school violence were high, students had less than a 7 in 10 million chance of actually being harmed or killed at school (Sternheimer, 2007). In society today many violent acts occur but people don’t always understand the reasons behind why someone did something bad.
The media says it’s video games but in reality they’remany other separate factors in a person’s life that cause them to commit these violent acts,such as someone who is socially rejected, feelings of alienation, and being depressed (Sternheimer, 2007). Mainly in youth, violent video games do not actually cause youth to be violent. Instead, its violent youth and kids who seek out violent entertainment themselves. Youth might model these violent acts on what they have seen in these video games but the actual violence itself would occur in the absence of these video games, showing how video games aren’t really the number one cause of violent acts being committed (Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence?, 2014). Seth Killian a former national champion at the video game Street Fighter says that “Studies showing a link between violent games and violent behavior often use samples that are too small and make comparisons between very different games” (Nakaya, 2008).
Exposure to violent games has not really been shown to cause violent behavior. Other variables like family violence and an aggressive type personality play a much larger role in the lives of people who commit these violent acts (Sternheimer, 2007). Another way violent games were being blamed largely is from the media. Are media abuses the reason of how video games make all these people violent and that video games are the biggest factor but that is not true. Since 1997, 199 newspaper articles have been using video games as their central focus and explanation for school shootings.
Some stories even mentioned other explanations and things that were affecting violent acts, but in all cases, these factors were treated minorly compared to video games and they were always discussed at the end of the articles. One reason why it can be hard to explain other things and research is simply because it’s hard for writers to turn extensive research into simple terms or quotes for an average person that reads or watches the news. According to psychologist Jonathan Freedman “The majority of studies produced evidence that is inconsistent or even contradicts the claim that exposure to media violence causes real violence” showing how the media exposing violence to people can actually cause them to act violent themselves (Sternheimer, 2007). In some cases video games as a whole can actually decrease crime rates. The role in which video games play in this is for being the substitute for the actual violence itself.
Many experts researched whether this was actually true and their results showed that it was. Researchers from Villanova and Rutiger’s University have found that when shooting game sales are highest, crime numbers drop (Sternheimer, 2007). Also, a study conducted by the University of Texas shows that for every 10% increase in the number of violent games there were, overall crime rate dropped 1% (DuBois, 20111). One of the main reasons for video games preventing this violence is because of these people taking time to play the game itself. Dr.
Patrick Markey co author of the study Violent Video Games and Real World Violence: Rhetoric Versus Data says ” When a big game comes out, people are more likely to be in front of a screen not committing violent acts, where real world violence potential would decrease” (Campbell, 2014). Violent games can also be a positive aspect in society. Playing violent games can actually reduce violence in adolescent boys by serving as a substitute for rough and tumble play. Playing violent games can provide a safe outlet for aggressive feelings. 45% of boys play because “It helps me get my anger out” and 62% said “It helps me relax”.
In some ways violent games can provide healthy and safe opportunities for children to virtually explore and understand rules and consequences like war, violence, and death without the real world consequences themselves (Sternheimer, 2007). According to Daphne Bavelier, a research professor at the University of Rochester understands that “Our brains constantly are building templates to perform better at many things. We now know playing action video games actually fosters better templates” (Patenaude, 2014). The main reason video games are being blamed is because of how many school shootings have occurred that the start result of it happening was from video games but that is not true. No study one has ever examined video games actually cause real world violence.
Another huge reason why it isn’t true is because in every case on the news for a school shooting, the media always exposes video games as the biggest factor compared to many other things such as different emotional and psychological problems. Also, the only reason why this is still being researched to this day is because of how a person actually played a violent game once and then committed a violent act which caused lots of problems with video games in society (Markey, 2013). Those are the reasons why video games are still being brought up in topics of violent acts in society. The media says if more violent games are sold nationwide then more violent problems will occur. They do not understand how usually if something violent happens and a person was violent and played a game, that the game itself didn’t cause it.
The media needs to stop falsely portraying video games as the number one cause and understand and go through more research to understand how it lead up to this violent act and what was really going through that persons head at the time. References Campbell, C. (2014, May 28). Do violent video games actually reduce real world crime? Retrieved from http://www.polygon.com DuBois, M. (2011, May 24). New study suggests the more young people play video games the less likely they are to commit crimes. Retrieved from http://newyork.cbslocal.com ProCon.org. (2014, October 6). Do violent video games contribute to youth violence? Retrieved from http://videogames.procon.org Sternheimer, K.
(2007). Do video games kill?. Retrieved from http://sks.sirs.com Markey, P.
(2013, April 29). In defense of violent video games. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com Nakaya, A.
C. (2008). Current issues: media violence. Retrieved from http://sks.sirs.com Patenaude, M. (2014, November 10). Playing action games an boost learning. Retrieved from http://www.rochester.edu