Video Game Violence and Real-World Violence

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Multiple people accuse that playing violent video games is one of the main causes of the violence we see in American youth today. I, however, disagree with this statement. There have been hundreds of studies that show that there is no link between video game violence and real-world violence. Some studies also show how video games can be academically beneficial to students. In this essay, I will present my reasons why video games should not be the culprit of why so many young children and teens develop violent behaviors.
Many studies provide information on how video games are not related to violent behavior in the real world. In the article Analysis: Why it’s time to stop blaming video games for real-world violence, Christopher J. Ferguson expresses the issue of the consistent release of misinformation about how video games cause violence. Ferguson talks about how politicians will consistently blame video games for school shootings or encouraging students to harm others. Some politicians will say that games teach students to kill, or they will accuse them of hurting others “as if they were in a video game” (Ferguson, par, 2) Ferguson states, “speaking as a researcher who has studied violent video games for almost 15 years, I can state that there is no evidence to support these claims that violent media and real-world violence are connected.” (Ferguson, par. 4). There is so much research out for the public to see that suggests that video games are the reason for violence in schools and our youth. However, none of them have clear evidence of how these games cause violent behavior (Ferguson, par. 4)
Another article on the Los Angelas Times adds to the fact that there is no link between video games and aggressive behavior. The author includes research conducted by Patrick Markey, who discovered that men who more violent tendencies do play as much video games as standard men (Los Angeles Times, par. 11). People who play video games will get frustrated while playing from time to time, but that does not mean that it leads to severe acts of violence. In the article, Merkey states, “it is like going to see a sad movie. It might make you cry but it doesn’t make you clinically depressed” (Merkey, par. 13).
Many parents would like to disagree, but studies have shown how video games can be very beneficial to young children. Video games have had a well-known reputation for making people believe that they make children lazy and rebellious, but it is quite the opposite. An article by the American Psychological Association displayed a study on how first-person shooter video games improved students academically. The author of this article, Lisa Bowen, talks about research made by Isabela Granic. Bowen states, “such play actually may strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory, and perception,” (Bowen, par. 4).
Playing video games can improve hand-eye coordination and even help children develop problem-solving abilities. Bowen also states, “A 2013 meta-analysis found that playing shooter video games improved a player’s capacity to think about objects in three dimensions just as well as academic courses designed to enhance these same skills” (Bowen, par. 4). Many other studies suggest that video games can improve long-term focus, better our eyesight, and help with depression. Video games can also encourage children to be more social by playing with others online and becoming close friends. This will also help with communication and social interaction in the future.
In contrast, many studies show students or children who tend to enact violent behavior also correlate with having a history of playing video games. However, does this relation display video games to be the main source of aggression? Many people, or even political experts, will not take into consideration the home life or mental state that this student or child may have. While I can agree that violent video games can be a trigger or an inspiration for violent behavior, that does not deem them to be the reason behind their actions.
The main cause of many violent behaviors is due to lack of parenting, their mental health, and how they are treated by others. Just like everything else, videogames should be played with moderation. Parents who provide videogames at the recommended age and teach children what is moral and immoral in these games, then a child will begin to separate what is real and not real. For example, I started playing video games at a young age. My parents made sure that I was not spending too much of my time on my electronics and taught me that some of these actions were not appropriate if I began to mimic any of the actions presented in the game. I still play video games today, but I only play in my leisure time and I have not displayed any violent behavior mimicking the games since then.
Mental health plays a significant role in aggressive behavior. Depending on how healthy the state of one’s mind may be, it can greatly impact physical behavior. Those who struggle with depression, anxiety, or other similar mental disorders are known to lash out towards others around them. Relating to the positive effects that video games can have on someone, research shows that there are more positive effects than negative.
In the article The Psychological Benefits of Video Games by Abby Daugette, the author explains how video games are very stimulating to the mind and can be therapeutic in some situations (Daugette, par. 6). She claims “playing video games forces the gamer to deeply stimulate multiple different areas of his or her brain which leads to the development of a large handful of various beneficial tasks and dimensions of thinking” (Daugette, par. 5). So, since video games are capable of helping mental disorders, then it is less likely for a student who plays video games to become aggressive towards someone when they have a healthy mental state.
In conclusion, the violent behavior that we see in young people today is not caused by violent video games. Misleading information is leaked out into the internet that is causing people to stand with the idea that video games are the reason behind aggression in children and teens. Video games can be very beneficial to young people if presented at the right age, given in moderation, and taught what is right and wrong. The quote “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple” by Dr. Suess is a quote that I disagree with. Every question that is presented to us in life has a complicated answer, but instead, we as people like to give a simple answer to avoid confusion and conflict.
There are so many people in society who refuse to look at the bigger picture and try to use a simple, short-term answer. Politicians are forcing the simple idea that video games are violent, so, therefore, the children will be too. When in reality, we need to see the bigger picture. To fix the violence in our youth, we must start at the seed. We need to implicate keeping a healthy mind in our schools and society and take into consideration that many children are not being taught morals or the difference between the real world and reality. Overall, video games have always had an undeserved bad reputation, and should be seen as a positive and beneficial source of entertainment, rather than a source of blame.

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