By Christian Sosa ’20
Violent video games are blamed for making children or people, in general, more violent. The media might be so quick to pin the blame on video games as the cause for some kid shooting a place up. However, scientific research fails to corroborate with the common scapegoat that the media falls back on whenever some kid decides that they’re John Wick, a fictional american action hero.
Research Done On This Topic
As studied by Henry Jenkins, a professor at the University of South Carolina, on an essay in 2005 on PBS, Jenkins found that “According to a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General’s report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure.” meaning that there is little correlation between shooting other pixels in first-person-shooters and actually committing a crime.
While one may come to an understandable conclusion that violent games may make a person more aggressive it’s not reasonable to pin the blame on video games due to the lack of evidence to support that statement. As stated by the Center4Research, “It makes sense that since playing violent video games tends to increase the level of aggressive behavior it would also result in more lethal violence or other criminal behaviors, but there is no clear evidence to support that assumption”.
Overall, the media rambles that violent video games are to blame for violent events (I.E. school shootings, etc) yet little evidence is provided, and it’d be pretty difficult to compile that information due to the U.S. having a population of 328,339,012 million with 13 percent(42 million) being 10-19.
The Opposite Effect
Video games are blamed for violence, yet the statistics say different. “Total US sales of video game hardware and software increased 204% from 1994 to 2014, reaching $13.1 billion in 2014, while violent crimes decreased 37% and murders by juveniles acting alone fell 76% in that same period.” while violent video games can cause aggression based on certain moments, catharsis can be derived from either overcoming a challenge or defeating a foe, which helps relieve repressed emotions: “A peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that children, especially boys, play video games as a means of managing their emotions: “61.9% of boys played to ‘help me relax,’ 47.8% because ‘it helps me forget my problems,’ and 45.4% because ‘it helps me get my anger out.” Despite some of the players being younger, it’s pretty certain that teens won’t act out what they see occur in a game.
Wrapping It Up
While it’s pretty certain that some teens won’t shoot up their school just because they played a game of Fortnite, Apex, etc., it’s for the best to limit how much one plays due to the health effects that it can have(i.e. eye strain, poor posture, little exercise, etc). Also, it’d be best to limit how much pre-teens and teens in general play M-rated games because of the obvious fact that M-rated games are meant for mature people/adults, not 10-year-old Timmy who thinks he’s old enough to play Call Of Duty.