Video Games and Violence

Lauren Alsina

Jessica Parenti, Staff Writer

Society will always try and point fingers at anything in order to place blame on things that they do not understand. Since the 1980’s, scientists have been studying whether or not video games are the culprits behind adolescent violence and crime. Contrary to many beliefs supporting the idea that aggression stems from video gaming, there is information dismissing the negative portrayal of video games and their affects on young adults.

Many people believe that violence and video games are connected when, there has yet to be proof of a direct link between violence and video games. Furthermore, it has been confirmed that playing video games is an excellent way to release tension. In many instances, individuals have endured traumatic and stressful events through video games as a channel to their negative emotions.

Video games themselves are shown to be very beneficial outlets of aggression and anxiety relief as they can deliver an “escape” from the pessimism of the real world. A 2007 study showed that 45 percent of gamers played to get the anger out and 62 percent played to relax.

The media regularly accuses video games for a hostile outburst, or bullying incident among adolescences, but the relationship between gaming and violence is practically nonexistent. Psychologists have found that vicious behaviors from youths are actually linked with real-life aggressiveness and stress rather than fictional video game violence.

Although a violent individual may seek out violent video games, the violent video games themselves do not make individuals violent. Video game players understand the difference between fantasy and reality which is why they would not act out the violence they see in a game in real life. Whether a youth were to imitate the violence shown in a video game does not change the fact that even with the absence of that game, that violence would still be present.

Contradictory to the typical stereotype, children and teens are not the only ones playing video games. For instance, Dr. James Rosser Jr., a laparoscopic surgeon, claims that there is a significant association joining the video gaming skill and the surgical skill.

Rosser noticed that medical students that did not have much involvement with video games had trouble with their surgical skills as compared to those that were avid gamers like himself. It was verified by testing, that students who had played video games more that week made considerably less errors during practice surgeries than those who played for a lesser amount of time or did not play at all.

Video games do not only offer safety from harsh times or teach people how to become better surgeons, they provide healthy and safe opportunities to individuals to virtually discover the rules and penalties of aggressive actions. In shooting games, the player is not desensitized, but taught to show remorse and become aware of the consequences. Video games let individuals experiment with matters such as war and violence without real, physical consequences.

Video games can teach positive principles, ethics and provide respectable, solid role models to individuals that do not have them in real-life, such as Commander Shepard from the “Mass Effect” series. Many video gamers look up to her as a hero because of her genuine, positive motives throughout the game series.

The media will probably always try and condemn the gaming industry for violent outbursts in society, regardless of the evidence proving that video games are not the real issue at hand.