The current occurrence of violence in many western countries especially the US have been blamed on the media and particularly video games. Video games have become so common among all ages although the youngsters are more involved in it than the older generations. This has become possible because of advancement in technology in that these games can not only be played on a desktop computer but also on mobile devices that have become incredibly powerful. Following any mass shooting incident in the US, various groups are ready to publish information concerning the role played by video games in the subject incident (Robbins 1). Besides costing the US taxpayers approximately $100 billion both directly and indirectly, gun violence is also responsible for many deaths, a case example being 2015 when it led to 475 deaths and injuring close to 2,000 others (Guns in the US: The statistics behind the violence). There have been various attempts to alleviate the situation such as former President Barrack Obama’s executive directive of 2016 seeking to impose more regulation on guns, but none has been effective. Consequently, people have resorted to blaming violent video games for such occurrences. However, as recent research outcomes have found, violent video games do not cause aggression in real life and resources should be directed to the real cause of violence especially with attention to parenting and drug abuse.
For many years, violence in video games has been blamed for actual occurrences, and researchers have not been able to prove otherwise because of the lack of a quantifiable way of determining the same. Without any clear and quantifiable data, many researchers have concluded that violence in video games can indeed be transferred to real life. In spite of these allegations, major titles like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, that are mostly cited for being increasingly violent, have continued to do well in the growing video game market. In fact, almost all video games include some aspect of violence including the recently released Pokemon Go. Moreover, the number of people playing them has continued to increase as a 2008 research study found that 97% of youths between the ages of 12 and 17 played video games with 75% of them playing action and adventure games that incorporate a lot of violence (Scutti).
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It should be noted that there are reasons that the opponents of video games use, most of which are valid although do not lead to the effect that they claim. One of these is the fact that these video games encourage one to become as violent as possible in order to unlock more challenging levels that in turn require portrayal of more violence. Moreover, since the start of this decade, video games have become more sophisticated as well as realistic, which further fuels the fire against the gaming industry as people argue that this realistic nature makes it easier to be aggressive in real life. The opponents also argue that these games encourage the usage of drugs, stereotyping, foul language, and sexual violence towards women (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). Substantial studies have claimed that the exposure to such kind of violence ‘rewires’ the minds of teens making them numb to violence thus making them violent. In addition, the length of time that the gamers spent playing these games is also taken as a point of concern. Specifically, it is argued that the youngsters spend lengthy periods of time playing the games which increases their chances of becoming numb to violence (Lemmens 39-41). Research has supported this point by stating that the average gamer spent around 4 hours, which besides affecting their level of empathy can also affect their academic performance as most of the time is spent playing a game on a computer or a smartphone (Pettit). Furthermore, the available methods of determining the level of violence incorporated questionnaires that the gamers would be asked to respond to after playing these games for a specified amount of time. On this, the opponents argue that the participants responded in a way that suggested that they would be violent to others.
However, a recent study has been conducted on a deeper perspective in that it does not only involve questionnaires and incorporates results of testing gamers for lengthy periods. The supporters of the violence in games causing violent theory understand that their research would not receive a lot of relevance if they stated that video games do not cause violence. As such, they skewed the results of their own studies which yielded the perfect manipulated results that seem to confirm the violence theory. One of the shortcomings of the research is that it evaluated the gamers immediately after playing the games (Bodkin). As a normal response or impulse, when faced with a challenge, the recent activity tends to affect judgment which led to their responses that seemed to indicate they would behave violently. However, this wears off after some time. A study indicated that there might be an inclination towards aggression but it is not long term (Ferguson 379-380). This implies that its effects cannot be strong enough to prompt an individual to shoot people indiscriminately or engage in any other form of violence. The Hannover Medical School undertook a research that did not question the gamers immediately but waited for three hours before questioning them (Bodkin). The wait ensured that the study would yield results that are long term and eliminated bias. In addition, the participants were asked to describe how they would feel if they were involved in a violent situation depicted in pictures shown to them. The responses were then compared to those of individuals that rarely played video games and, surprisingly, they were similar. This is a clear indication that the impulse to act aggressively is only short term and does not go beyond several hours (Pettit). This discounts the theory as well as research results claiming that violent video games lead to aggressive behavior. To back up the results, the researchers also used MRI Machines to scan the response in the brains of the gamers and comparing the same to non-gamers. The MRI scans revealed identical neural responses between the two groups (Bodkin). At current, there are no arguments against these results.
The solution to the constant violent issue in the US and other western countries lies in the parenting state of the modern world. Currently, drug abuse in the constant parties that take place in these countries especially involving teens is a major concern and a key aspect in the violence issue. Emancipation is not being taken seriously, and parents are not concerned or not available to ensure their children grow up with good morals. When the teens become intoxicated with these drugs including meth, their judgment is affected seriously and in a way that is improbable when playing video games. Under this influence, these individuals are more inclined to get involved in violent behavior than it is with video games regardless of how violent they may be. Modern life is very demanding, and parents have failed to play their parenting roles leaving the world to do that for them as they are too busy looking for money. Parenting also comes in scrutiny when considering the fact that these video games are controlled. Different video games are stipulated for specific age groups, and these controls are safeguards against exposing very young minds to violence (Rife). However, the parents buy these games for their children without checking these requirements. Others do not monitor the type of content that their kids download from the Internet leaving them at the mercy of their friends and the Internet, which is largely uncontrolled. It is accurate that these games can affect those with underlying mental problems and in such cases, the guardians ought to be cautious. If parenting were to improve, these issues would be eliminated because a sense of control would prevent drug abuse and other forms of immorality. To implement this, the available resources should be rerouted to raising awareness concerning the deteriorating morals in the society. This can be conducted with the collaboration of media houses warranting the parents to take parenting seriously to ease on current killings and spending by the government on health and security that continues to erode. Heavy advertisement would be in line, and it would reach many people including the youths especially because they spend most their time using technological devices. With the right parenting, guns would not be a necessity as is the current case.
In conclusion, the issue of violence in modern society ought to be approached from a different viewpoint as the current measures are ineffective. People have been wrongly blaming violent video games for the increasing violence, but nothing can be farther from the truth, as recent research finds. To address the violence problem, every person has to play their own role especially when it comes to the parents. Responsible parenting is the answer, and the current advancement in weaponry cannot help as it has been ineffective thus far. If the parents take control of their children drug abuse would reduce, which would benefit all people in general as the citizens will not have to pay heavy taxes for use in healthcare to treat diseases related to drugs and the streets would become safer.
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. “Video Games and Children: Playing with Violence” aacap.org Jun. 2015. Web. 17 May 2017. https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-and-Video-Games-Playing-with-Violence-091.aspx
- Bodkin, Henry. “Violent video games like Grand Theft Auto do not make players more aggressive, major new study finds” telegraph.co.uk 8 Mar. 2017. Web. 17 May 2017. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/03/08/violent-video-games-like-grand-theft-auto-do-not-make-players/
- Ferguson, Christopher J. “Video Games and Youth Violence: A Prospective Analysis in Adolescents.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 40.4 (2011): 377-91. ProQuest. Web. 17 May 2017.
- “Guns in the US: The statistics behind the violence” bbc.com 5 Jan. 2016. Web. 17 May 2017. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34996604
- Lemmens, Jeroen S., Patti M. Valkenburg, and Jochen Peter. “The Effects of Pathological Gaming on Aggressive Behavior.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 40.1 (2011): 38-47. ProQuest. Web. 17 May 2017.
- Pettit, Harry. “Violent video games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto do NOT make players aggressive in real-life” dailymail.co.uk 8 Mar. 2017. Web. 17 May 2017. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4293490/Violent-video-games-not-affect-empathy.html
- Rife, Sean. “Violent video games do not cause real-world aggression” learnliberty.org 22 Mar. 2017. Web. 17 May 2017. http://www.learnliberty.org/blog/violent-video-games-do-not-cause-real-world-aggression/
- Robbins, M. Brandon. “Games and Violence.” Library Journal 138.5 (2013): ProQuest. Web. 17 May 2017.
- Scutti, Susan. “Do video games lead to violence” cnn.com 26 Jul. 2016. Web. 17 May 2017. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/25/health/video-games-and-violence/