Are Video Games Encouraging Violence?

by: David Monat
When you play your favorite video game, are you picking up a controller or are you picking up a gun?
Parents beware! Violent video games may be destroying your kids.
Call of Duty Black Ops LogoA few years ago, our country suffered a tragic event that none of us will forget any time soon. The shooting in Newtown Connecticut was carried out by lone gunman Adam Lanza who was known to be a prone gamer. But we ask ourselves: Where does blame truly lie? Some have said, the violent media and video games that Lanza played quite frequently. So after this horrible event we come to the question: Are the violent video games that our youth are so prone to playing such as “Halo,” “Call of Duty,” or “Grand Theft Auto” encouraging or making young people more prone to violent behavior? Theories and questions have been boiling all over, but the truth is: The answer is not so simple.
Video games have existed for a long time, and as the years have gone by they have become progressively more realistic and interesting, however, they have also become more violent and disturbing to many people. Games like “Pong” and “Pac Man” are no longer the main attraction of video games, but rather titles such as “Call of Duty,” “Halo,” and “Battlefield.” These games are far more bloody and brutal than past titles from several decades ago and people everywhere feel that allowing these games to exist is quite harmful and dangerous to our society.
Our society has also been concerned with the school shootings that have been prominent in the media in recent years. One of the most prominent is the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. in 2012; and there have been more than 50 school shootings so far this year, according to RT News Network. Is there a connection between violent video games and these tragedies?
“In my opinion, kids being exposed to any form of make-believe violence doesn’t help,” said Robert Hynes, Director of Counselling Services at FSU. “I’d be concerned that basically any rehearsal of violent behavior increases the potential of future violent behavior. But that’s an opinion; it is all based on the individual who plays these games. In fact, I remember at the GameCon event that we had at the school last year where a young man stated, ‘Video games don’t make me want to kill people, real life makes me want to kill people in video games.’”
Throughout recent years, studies have failed to show a connection to violent media and violent behavior in the real world. When trying put to the blame on violent video games or violent media for behavior that is not accepted in the real world, the responsibility does not usually fall where one would expect it to fall. Several people have stated in interviews that violent video games are not to blame for behavior such as this.
“I think that the problem isn’t with these video games, it’s with the people who play them,” said Kevin Dagget, a student at FSU who is a frequent gamer. “I mean, there are plenty of people who play violent video games and you don’t see them picking up a gun and walking into a school and killing people.” Several hardcore gamers who I interviewed stated that not only are violent video games not the problem, but they can offer people a “release” from the real world when experiencing feelings of anger, depression, stress, or other negative emotions.