videogames can’t be blamed

Currently, youth violence is at an all time low. I think this is because kids today have a lot more options for what they spend their time on; one activity being videogames. 90% of boys and 40% of girls in the US play videogames. A very large majority of those individuals do not kill others. Yet when some psycho teen decides to kill his or her peers, one thing that is always emphasized in the media is that he or she played videogames. And these videogames are blamed for being ‘killing simulators.’

I think that videogames can certainly have an influence on an individual, but they definitely cannot be the core cause of teenage angst fuelled murders. Things like that happen because of problems with mental stability, not media exposure.

If videogames are responsible for making these particular kids become murderers, then all mediums are just as responsible. The news is probably the most violent show ever and it’s considered very important to watch/read about and to keep up-to-date with. Children are pumped full of images of violence from all mediums –news on television and newspapers, films like the Saw series, music like Wu Tang etc etc. All these mediums glorify violence and yet they are never considered as responsible as games are (maybe rap music though). This however could be argued, because games are the only medium in which individuals have agency, but kids should be given more credit –they can make the distinction between the real world and a simulated world.

The ‘scientific proof’ that videogames cause children to behave more violently is usually heavily biased, due to the fact that the people funding the research often have the specific agenda to make videogames look bad. Also, they can never be very accurate, because the environments in which these tests take place are completely different to actual settings. These tests usually conclude with a vague correlation between gaming and violence, not an actual causal relationship between the two, so cannot really be taken seriously.

I think that the problem with mainstream video games rather than violence are the things that people don’t put enough emphasis on, like gender and race issues.


3 thoughts on “videogames can’t be blamed

  1. Hey, cool blog!
    Just wanted to ask: when you say “If videogames are responsible for making these particular kids become murderers, then all mediums are just as responsible” do you think maybe it isn’t the mediums which are responsible, but that people with violent inclinations seek mediums with antagonistic themes to reaffirm their predispositions towards violence? I suppose it’s a kind of confusing situation, like trying to figure out whether the chicken comes before the egg sort of thing. But I totally get what you’re saying here, it makes total sense that kids can tell the difference between fact and fiction, and a lot of research forgets to point that out.

    • Hey, yeah I totally agree with you that people with violent inclinations probably seek out mediums with violent themes. But I think for majority of those people, playing videogames allows them to release their anger and frustrations that they can’t in the real world. So it’s a positive thing for them.
      Maybe for a few of those people, videogames could potentially have a bad influence on them, but personally, I think if someone’s able to kill another human being, then it’s something predisposed in that person, because essentially it’s up to them whether to kill or not, you know?
      I’m just saying that videogames alone can’t be blamed. If a ‘normal’ person without any violent history decides one day to start killing others, all mediums that they have been exposed to should be blamed. But to be honest, I don’t think that the first thing to point the finger at in those situations should even be anything related to media. People kill because of feelings, not because of moving images on a screen.
      Hope that helped and I didn’t just repeat myself!

  2. I agree that mental stability tends to be a problem overlooked to some extent with youth violence. It seems like a lot of the perpetrators of some of the recent shootings in the US tend to be unstable in some way, the Sandy Hook perp is thought to have had social anxiety and a personality disorder and the perp from the Virginia Tech massacre was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder.

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