Stop Blaming Video Games

In today’s society, we are able to find violence and aggression everywhere; in magazines, on the TV, on social media, on video-sharing websites like Youtube as well as in video games. Yet, why are violent video games such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed are assumed to be the largest source responsible for the eruption of violence? The criticism towards violent video games from teachers, parents, and the media are so constant that these games have been blamed for juvenile crimes and even mass shootings over the years. Although the idea of using different media sources as a scapegoat is very frequent, the negative “”connection”” between the video games and violence has been accepted as an absolute reality by lots of people, which should not be the case.

First and foremost, mass shootings. Many people believe that violent video games plays a huge role in encouraging adolescents to participate in or perpetrate mass shootings. An article written by Colin Campbell which analyzes some of the most deadly school shootings which took place in the United States; states, “”In the immediate aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, it was reported that Seung-Hui Cho, the perpetrator who killed 32 people, was an avid fan of multiplayer shooter game Counter-Strike.”” This would have clearly showed that the video game could have encouraged him to do so, only if his roommate did not prove this wrong, by stating that he’d never seen Cho play any video games. As you can see, the news media falsely reported about Cho being a fan of a multiplayer shooter game, which was not true at all.

Secondly, lots of people seems to state that certain “”studies”” prove that there is a negative connection between violent video games and the increase of aggressive behavior. According to the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, “”Well over 1,000 studies point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between violent video games and aggressive behavior in some children.”” Although some adolescents may develop an aggressive behavior from being exposed to virtual violence too often, many studies and experiments have failed to control for factors that contribute to adolescents becoming violent.

Many psychologists have conducted studies, and many parents and teachers have stated that violent video games plays a huge role in causing aggressive behavior and crimes such as mass shootings, but they have failed to support their statement because violent video games were rarely the main reason of those negative outcomes and most of the studies were not conducted correctly or efficiently. Yes, violent video games may seem horrible for it to be played by young adolescents, but it sure does not encourage them to participate in mass shootings. A report made by the United States Secret Service and the United States Department of Education states, “”Out of the 41 attackers, 27% had exhibited an interest in violent movies, 24% in violent books, and 37% in their own writings such as poems and journal entries, while only 12% showed interest in violent video games.”” Not to mention that the analysis made by Colin Campbell states, “”On Dec. 1, 1997, 14-year-old Michael Carneal shot to death three students. He had been a target of bullies and suffered from a variety of diagnosed mental illnesses.”” This shows that in almost all the cases which a young adolescent is the perpetrator, violent video games are rarely the main cause. Most of them are described as someone who has been bullied, going through depression, has a mental illness, or who has been prescribed behavior-modifying medications.

As I mentioned it before, aggressive behavior could be developed from violent video games. However, those “”studies”” that are supposed to support this claim, fail to control for lots of important factors. An article by Villanova University states that most studies do not follow adolescents over long periods of time, and does not take certain factors such as family history and mental health into consideration. Also, a psychology professor at Stetson University, Christopher J. Ferguson, states “”Matching experimental studies with how video games are played in real life makes violent video games’ effects on aggression essentially vanish.”” Consequently, many studies that were conducted in order to show the connection between aggressive behavior and video games have failed to control for all possible factors, thus resulting in inaccurate claims and statements.

To sum up, violent video games are not the reason why youth violence is increasing, resulting in more juvenile crimes and mass shootings. Although the news media states that video games have a negative effect on adolescents, most of the studies have inaccurate results, and almost all of the perpetrators are suffering from problems and issues such as depression, bullying, and mental issues, which proves that video games are rarely the main reason why youth violence is increasing on the daily. To prevent youth violence, instead of blaming a certain media, it is also essential to take account of their background, family, health, etc. By paying more attention of what they are going through, we can decrease youth violence and progress as a society.

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