Do Video Games Lead To Violence?
Since the 1980s, video games have been a very popular form of entertainment for people of all age groups. Video games have evolved with time and become more realistic. On July 29th of 1994, ESRB was founded by the Interactive Digital Software Association after the fighting video game, Mortal Kombat, became popular. Mortal Kombat contained blood and fatal moves which ultimately led to the creation of the ESRB rating system(Kohler). There were five ratings created including E, E10+, T, M, AO. Games rated E were available to everyone, E10+ were available to age 10 and above, T for age 13 and above, M for age 17 and above, and AO for age 18 and up. If an underage kid wanted to get a game then their parent must buy it for them. In addition to rating systems, violent video games also made many people think that they could have an effect on the player’s mind and cause them to become violent in real life. However, most people play video games to get their minds off of the stress they have to deal with in real life, if violent video games caused people to violent then so would all the movies and tv shows. In fact, movies and tv shows should cause more violence because they have real people on screen. Seeing that the world is not in chaos and there is no solid research against video games, I believe that video games cannot cause anyone to become violent. By this, I mean that if people are playing the video games that are rated for their age group.
Video games do not cause people to be violent because if it did then the world would be in chaos. Around 1.2 billion people were playing video games in 2013(Soper). Many violent crimes by kids such as school shooting, have been blamed on kids playing video games. Some researchers have claimed to have found a connection between violence and video games, but the real reason behind this is that most of the kids play video games. According to the study, 91% of the kids between age 2 and 17 play video games(Camp). If someone looks into the lives of 1% of the kids that have committed a violent crime, then they would find that 1% of the kids play violent video games. But they would find the same result if they looked into the other 90% of the kids that have no history of violent crime but played violent video games. It’s not hard to “link” violent kids with video games when all kids are playing video games.
If the kids play video games that are rated for their age group then it should not cause them to become violent. Of course, if a child starts playing violent video games from an early age it can have an effect on the kid’s mind(Windsor). By the time a kid is mature enough to differentiate gaming from real life, it wouldn’t cause them to become violent. There is a reason that the rating system was created. If everyone plays video games that are created for them then no one would be affected. If a parent buys their 5 years old an M rated game and their child end up becoming a psychopath because they saw violence at such an early age then it is the parent’s fault for buying them that game without teaching them the difference between real life and video games.
Another reason why video games don’t cause violence is that there is no proven research for it. If some event takes place that cannot be explained, then people make things up to try to explain it even if they are completely wrong. When a kid commits a violent crime, video games are usually the scapegoat(Ferguson). This became a popular idea after Columbine shooting in 1999. Video games causing violence is not supported by the research. There is research that provide proof against it. In 2016, 60% of the people in Japan played video games but no one was killed with a gun in the country(Salam). The crimes have dropped since 1994 when video games have become more and more popular(Statista). The same type of thing happens when a group of around 10 terrorists bombs a populated area but it is blamed on their religion when there are billions of other people following the same religion that are living peacefully in the world. The idea of video games causing violence has also been rejected by the Supreme Court. “Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively,” said Justice Scalia, an associate justice of the Supreme Court(Salam). The violent crime by youth has been steadily dropping since 1993. More and more kids are playing video games since 1993.
The first person I interviewed to learn more about this is my cousin, Sufiyan. He has been playing video games since he was 6 years old. He is 19 years old. Sufiyan also played violent games from an early age because his parents didn’t pay much attention to the video games he was playing. I have known him all my life and I can say, he is not a violent person. He has always been like a big brother and was there when I needed him. I asked him, “What kind of person should not play video games with mature content?,” he replied, “Parents should only buy their children video games that are intended for their age group, parents cannot buy video games that are rated M for their 8 year old and then blame the game developers.” He included, “a person that has shown violent behavior in the past should also not be allowed to play video games with mature content.”
I also interviewed my 22 years old brother, Awais. He has also been playing video games from an early age. When I asked him if video games made him violent, he replied, “Only when I’m in a intense match and someone passes from the front of the tv.” As a gamer, I can say this is true. When someone gets in front of the tv during a match, I feel like punching them. However, this does not mean video games cause you to become violent, you get angry at the person passing through because they are interrupting you, not because you have seen or played violent video games. He also added, “you always people who don’t play video games saying video games cause violence but you never hear a gamer say this.”
Although some people believe video games cause people to be violent, this is not true. If video games did cause violence then so would the movies and tv shows. Around 180 million people watch movies and tv shows per month in the US(Camp). Another 211 million people play video games(Crecente). If watching violence caused people to be violent then the entire country would be violent. A study shows that kids who play half an hour of video games show less aggression than those who don’t play any video games(Villines). Many people have made up their mind that violent video games are bad but they can be good to relieve stress. Most people play video games to blow off steam. It is a different story when a video game affects a person that has a mental condition. In this case, anything could cause them to become violent because of their condition. The video games have become more complicated with time, the increase in complexity help increase intelligence in everyone, especially the youth. According to the people who play video games, video games don’t make them violent. Usually, the people that say video games cause violence have never in their lives have played them.
Video games do not cause anyone to be violent if people play the games that are rated for their age groups. Only reason researchers find a “link” between video games and violence is because nearly all kids play video games. If video games caused violence then nearly one-fifth of people would be violent because 1.2 billion people play video games. The research does not prove that video games cause violence instead it shows that they can lower the aggression and increase intelligence. If violent video games caused violence then violent movies would cause even more people to be violent because they are more life-like and have real people on screen. People are making video games the scapegoat instead of holding people responsible for their actions.
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