For the major part of the past three decades, video games have taken the blame for a vast majority of the ill habits that children and teens pick up. Be it anything from antisocial behaviors, aggressiveness, lack of attentiveness, improper sleep schedules – you name it. Parents think that taking out video games from the lives of their children would be the solution to all of these problems, though that is not always the case.
As of lately, the blame game has shifted towards one particular aspect that videogames in general and violent videogames, shooting games, and similar genres in particular, get blamed for. That is excessive aggressive or violent behavior prevalent in teens of today. Parents, teachers, politicians, power figures, and the media alike have blamed video games for the violence growing in teenagers in the US and elsewhere and also stated that these games seed in the violence and destructive mindsets that lead to violent abhorrent crimes such as mass shootings and murder.
But are these blame based on facts or biased? Our topic of discussion will be to bring forward relevant studies to prove or disprove this debate while staying completely neutral on the topic. Have video games become the source of embedding destructive and violent behavior into our minds and engraving it amongst our thoughts or is it all a false blame to rid society of the realization of their incapability to raise and nurture such youth and tackle their destructive thoughts in time?
Let’s take our study’s perspective to the point when video games started to rise to their peak popularity – the 90s. A huge number of popular video game titles were released in the last decade of the 20th century, following a boom in the sales of these games and expectedly making them popular and present in every household. Children were obsessed with gaming and so were teenagers. Even several young adults could not keep themselves away from video games. Popular game titles that had notably violent gameplay such as GTA, Mortal Combat, Street Fighter, Counter-Strike, Half-Life, and several others made their initial releases during this time, only to quickly become fan favorites and staples in the gaming industry, if you’re looking to get your hands on most of these games, the best way to do it is via Gamecamp where you can find the best prices for your wanted games. Several of these titles exist today as well in the form of brand new and updated versions and releases so if you’re looking to get down to play some of these then look no further, you can look into video game currency, ranging from ESO Gold to Albion Online Silver.
While video games got a huge boost in sales, influence, recognition, and popularity, on the other hand, crime rates seem to have been the exact opposite. In one of his papers, Dr. Christopher Ferguson cited that in the United States, crime rates dropped down during the 90s; by 45% in general, while in particular if we were to observe the stats for a particular age group of youthful individuals that actually might get affected due to exposure to video games, the stats remain the same and crime rates amongst teens and young adults have plummeted during and since the 90s.
Now let’s move our study towards individual analysis. Often, people perceive that since the minds of every individual work in a different way, perhaps certain individuals get affected by the violent scenarios in video games and other media that provoke and encourage them to commit violent crimes. However, the statistics state otherwise. In a study released by the US secret services from 2002, it was observed that only 12% of school shooters have been known to express any form of interest or have a history of playing violent video games. This goes to show that video games do not act as a trigger on the cognitive capabilities of human beings that pushes them towards committing violent crimes such as mass murder.
If we consider large-scale analysis, the vast majority of nations that have been the highest consumers of video games, such as Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, have barely any history of homicides or crimes committed involving firearms or gun violence. Some of the most violent games have huge fan bases in several of these nations yet unfortunate incidents of mass shootings are as rare as can be in these regions.
If the studies above seem a bit far off in time then let’s look into one published quite recently – in 2019. The study was made by the Oxford Internet Institute of the University of Oxford under the leadership of Professor Andrew Przybylski, Director of Research at the Oxford Internet Institute. Professor Andrew has worked on this and many similar pieces of research in the past for which he has published papers based on his findings. In this particular study, he and his team of researchers used information provided by parents and caretakers of children regarding their observed levels of aggressiveness, unlike previous studies of the same which utilized data taken from teenagers and children themselves. Quoting Professor Andrew, “The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn’t tested very well over time.” This goes to show that there is no linking evidence present that can prove this accusation of society against video games.
In a mental health letter from October 2010 published by Harvard Health Publishing, it is mentioned in clear terms that while the debate goes on for deciding if videogames do encourage violent behaviors in children or not, it is the responsibility of the parent or caretaker of the child to observe their behavior when being exposed to videogames and limit their access to the games if the child exhibits aggressive, violent behaviors. Parental control and supervision is the key element to prevent the development of any such aggressive behaviors in young children, teens, and even young adults. It is best for the guardian to exemplary in this respect by playing games with kids that they would want their children to play and discuss in-game content with their children.
Coming down to our conclusion for the topic, in light of all these studies, it is safe to state that video games, violent or not, have no considerable effect on the individual’s personality or choices made in life and any violent behavior would be solely attributed to the individuals themselves. So fret not, get back at your game and start killing those zombies; or whatever enemies you prefer taking down. Have a fun time gaming!