Discussion Of Whether Video Games Cause Violence

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Introduction

This report is written in the hopes to challenge the reader’s idea of video games and how they affect us as a society and mentally. Video games have exploded in popularity over the years and are only becoming a more common hobby. They are truly everywhere from mobile games people play on the bus to work, learning assisting games to give children a more interactive and fun way to learn all the way up to Esports were people compete in their chosen game in front of hundreds of thousands of people cheering on their favorite player and or team. They have truly become a massive deal in such a short space of time. Naturally, some people will not even have any idea of what video games really are and that a complete lack of knowledge allows for worries, fear, and misinformation to spread. Hopefully by reading this paper people who know nothing will learn and can understand better what video games offer the world and for people already familiar give them an outlook on why people can find them scary and just how the idea of them causing violence could grow.

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The Research

By using the study on The Royal Society, published on February 13th, 2019 I will be giving research statistics as it spans across not only teenagers who play and don’t play but also their parents. This gives the input of the parents seeing changes in their child and the wide number of participants of 1000 teenagers had a mix of girls and boys who both did and didn’t play games. It seemed to conclude that video games didn’t actually cause violence and any sort of angry outbursts was more linked to competitiveness and or frustration with the game itself. This sort of behavior is seen in a lot of things a good example is people watching football, fans can get so invested they get overwhelmed and can shout in anger or celebration. The actual science around video games causing violence is very split and seems like people take what they want out of results. Yes to some people getting angry at a game because you lose or someone online is beating you seems weird and scary but to others, it is natural people get competitive naturally and being competitive over digital media isn’t all that different from an actual sport or activity. It seems almost impossible to find a definitive answer after researching it but there are still new ways to study it coming out, the best thing to do is to look for yourself and make an informed decision on if they’re dangerous.

Games and Ratings

Games are already restricted to a degree. The ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) which started rating video games in around 1994 due to the release of Mortal Kombat 2 as it was added to a list of media content potentially harmful to young children due to its graphic violence. A detailed and well thought out system was put in place where games would be reviewed by a board and they would categories the content. They even differentiated types of violence so cartoon violence and fantasy violence are categorized differently from realistic or gory violence. This creates a meticulous system that doesn’t have a theme that’s too mature slip into a younger age group. A parent might be okay with their child playing a game with fantasy violence like magical beings fighting with magic but not realistic military violence. The ESRB categorizes this in a way so someone wanting to know what kind of mature like content is in the game allowing for a more informed purchase from just reading the back.

Video Games as Art and Expression

At the end of the day, video games are a form of art and media. They’re grand projects constructed by teams of artists, musicians, actors, and writers. Although a common view of games is there’s no reason behind them a lot of games have messages and themes behind them and have artistic expression woven into them.

Saving Private Ryan shows the horror of war and has disturbing scenes but its art that showed the horrors of war and how it tried to show just how horrible World War 2 was.

A game known as Spec Ops The Line does something very similar and has a horrifying scene in it were you and your 2 squad mates are trying to reach a gate to escape but there’s a small army in the way and one of your squad mates notices a mortar with white phosphorus rounds (A napalm-like weapon that melts skin) you wipe out the army. You then walk through the carnage with soldiers crawling around burning alive and screaming. A soldier then informs you they were actually helping civilians and you then walk through a trench filled with dead civilians to reach a scene of a mother holding her child shielding her child’s eyes and they were still burning. It shows the horror of war and also shows how it affects the soldiers who have to fight. 

Gambling

In recent years the use of microtransactions and premium currencies has become popular in the mainstream game market. Heavily influenced by the booming mobile game market they are predatory in nature and prey on people psychologically enticing them to spend more and more. Most prevalent is the use of ‘Loot Boxes’ which are essentially slot machines were you get random items in the hope you get the items you want creating a situation where people spend more and more to get everything they want. Gambling is a well-known social issue known to affect people mentally. As this is in video games this could be a side argument to the dangers of video games and should be a bigger focus as there is hard evidence on the dangers of gambling.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the debate on ‘Do video games cause violence’ is a much more complex issue than it seems. Through writing this one can come to new realizations. As far as evidence of a direct link between games and violence goes it’s really not there and most ‘Violence’ is more competitive aggression which is seen everywhere in society as we are competitive by nature. This doesn’t correlate actual violence or violent acts to the playing of computer games. No changes need to be made as there are systems in place to keep inappropriate content out of children and vulnerable people’s hands.

16 August 2021

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