I wouldn’t describe myself as an avid gamer, but video games have been a source of entertainment for my brother and me from time to time. My parents maintained control over which games we played until we were about 14. At that point, they let us play whichever game we wanted, including the more violent ones. I remember my mom cringing when she would dare to glance at us finding excitement with the killing action in Call of Duty. She would often say with a mix of both humor and parental guidance that we should remember it’s not okay to kill people. I think she felt she was raising good kids who would make good choices and couldn’t fathom us doing horrific acts in real life but at the same time felt obliged to denounce the violence she saw as we sat in front of the TV in the playroom.
Just as my mom had that obligatory need to address the violence her kids were engaging in, it is easy to understand why there is so much interest in understanding whether video games actually cause violent behavior. After all, the violent acts in Columbine, and Sandy Hook were done by young adults who were exposed to and played these video games often.
Video Game Growing Popularity:
Video games are a huge category for the software development industry. According to Fortune Magazine, $23.5 billion were spent on video games in 2015.(Fortune Magazine) The computer simulation to make these games has become increasingly realistic year after year. Today’s games put the player in the game much like surround sound does for movies. As the games have become more realistic and more violent, the debate over whether they are harmful has dominated behavioral research.
After reviewing and doing a comprehensive review of many studies in this field, psychologist Brad Bushman at Ohio State University, concluded that many of the studies support the notion that these games are linked to aggressive behavior but cautions that there is no scientific evidence showing a causal relationship. Bushman suggests that violent games could act as a trigger in some way. One question that the studies have not examined is how long does the aggressive feeling last? Are they gone when the controller is put down or do they linger. The studies also do not take into account the types of people playing the games. They group together all kids between certain ages. It is very generalized.
Reputable Associations, including the American Medical Association and the National Institute of Health announced they believe there is a connection between violent games and aggressive actions. In my opinion the games de-sensitive kids and make them think that the video games are realistic and acceptable.
Here is a link to a video discussing the relationship between video games and violence. Click here to watch the video.
There are many questions and many theories about the effects of these games. Through Bushman’s research and many news stories, the frequency that this topic is discussed may suggest that video games weaken a person’s defense to do the right thing. I don’t know if violent games can increase the odds for violent behavior. Others believe that the games make violence look more acceptable. Remember my mothers need to comment while we played?
I think the challenge with many of the studies attempting to answer this question is the difficulty controlling for the human factor. We are all different and make decisions for a variety of reasons. We often look to science to give us the answers, but in this case it seems the science has, at least for now, fallen short and unable to give us a definitive answer. What we have learned is the question is complex and worthy of continued study. In my opinion, I do not see a need to stop playing these games. However, I would be conscious of the age that people start these games at. I feel older kids may have a better response than if young kids play these games.