Imagine this, you enter a room, the sound of gunshots ring In your ears, you yell “flash out”, and you storm the room, guns a blazing. You get shot, you’re down, now you re-spawn, to do it all again. Video games have been the blame of a lot of youth violence, yet there was violence before videogames. Video games do cause an effect on youth but not violent effects. The topic, video games are the leading cause of youth violence, is very important; many people believe and many people oppose this topic.
Violence is a strong topic by its self, the definition of Violence is: the use of force in a way that harms a person or property (dictionary.com). Studies show that violent video games teach kids that they will get rewarded for their violence. Take into consideration that parents do not monitor their child’s games like they should. According to the Psychological Science Journal, “Another problem involves the lack of parental oversight.
Teens in grades 8 through 12 report that 90% of their parents never check the ratings of video games before allowing their purchase, and only 1% of the teens’ parents had ever prevented a purchase based on its rating (Walsh, 2000).” The gaming companies put large warnings on the cases and in the game itself, to worn the player of what they were playing. Parents should be monitoring their children; as stated in The South End Weekly; “It should be up to the parents to keep track of the kinds of video games their children are playing.
That is why there is a rating system in place, to prevent kids under the age of said rating from being exposed to inappropriate material. Parents can decide based on the rating of a game if it is appropriate for their child.” People still blame the game for the violence, but what about the violence before the games? The first public arcade game was released around 1971 and since then videogames have taken off. People tend to blame the role play games (RPG), the first person shooter games (FPS), and the fighting games for the cause of violence.
The first “violent” video games were “Wolfenstein 3d”, a FPS game, “Mortal Kombat”, a brutal fighting game, and “doom” also a FPS game, all released in 1992. As stated in a PBS study;
“According to federal crime statistics, the rate of juvenile violent crime in the United States is at a 30-year low.” This shows that since 1983 juvenile violent crime has continued to go down, but the first “violent” games were created in 1992. So some may believe that violent games do not cause youth violence. PBS also stated, “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.”
Many people try to say school shootings are related to video games, but as stated by Christopher J. Ferguson; “a 1996 study found that 98.7 percent of children of either gender played some video games, with violent games, like Streetfighter II, particularly popular among young men (93 percent of whom had played that one game alone). Since most young men today play violent video games, it is usually not hard to “link” a violent crime with video-game playing if you are so inclined.”
This is the classic excuse of using a common behavior (playing video games) to explain an uncommon behavior (like violence). Using video-game-playing to help stop school shootings is not very affective they are not related. If you try to base school shooting on video game use you would be saying, that if the shooter is wearing sneakers at the shooting then the sneakers must be responsible for such violence (Ferguson). Video games are not the only thing in the world with violence, what about Media.
Take into consideration violent media such as TV, movies, and news; these things are full of violence. According to The International Society for Research on Aggression (IRSA), “…. evidence shows that media violence consumption can act as a trigger for aggressive thoughts or feelings already stored.”
The cartoons and TV shows now a days are full of violent fighting and shooting, every form of violence. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology; “Today 99% of homes have televisions. In fact, more families have televisions than telephones.” Over half of American children have a television in their room allowing them to watch what ever they want. This gives a greater opportunity for children to view programs without parents even knowing what they are watching. Studies reveal that children watch approximately 28 hours of television a week, more time than they spend in school.
“The typical American child will view more than 200,000 acts of violence, including more than 16,000 murders before age 18. Television
programs display 812 violent acts per hour; children’s programming, particularly cartoons, displays up to 20 violent acts hourly”( The Impact of Media Violence on Children and Adolescents: Opportunities for Clinical Interventions). TV has its good moments, but a majority of television and movies are mainly violence which can’t help with the youth these days. According to all the evidence that has been reviewed and stated there is still no conclusion on whether violent video games do or do not cause youth violence.
One thing to take into consideration is that bad people may seek bad media, according to ProCon.org “The small correlations that have been found between video games and violence may be explained by violent youth being drawn to violent video games. Violent games do not cause youth to be violent. Instead, youth that are predisposed to be violent seek out violent entertainment such as video games.”
When parents help out by keeping track of what their children play and when game creators help by labeling games better, they may lower the recorded violence even more. It is easy to blame this issue on something as ordinary as video games, but it should not become a “go to” excuse for the real issues.
J., CHRISTOPHER. “Video Games: The Latest Scapegoat for Violence.” Texas A&M International University. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2013.