COLUMN: Violent Video Games a Continued Concern


For many years, the argument of whether violence in video games creates violent tendencies in those who play them has been an ever-rising concern amongst the population.

Parents especially have this fear endowed upon them due to the fact that several shootings have occurred in which the assailants claimed that they used video games to prepare themselves for their attacks.

Children have a tendency to make a connection with what they become involved with at a young age, like their television shows, movies, and games, but could these everyday media outlets actually be bestowing violent tendencies into the minds of children?

This is a topic that I have addressed several times in my life; as someone who has grown up with video games, I’ll admit that I can be a little defensive when hearing people blame games for this aggression. However, I am not biased.

If there is a problem within our society, it doesn’t matter how much I love a certain activity/item – I want to fix the source of the problem.

If my research discovered that video games really do cause violence, then I wouldn’t want to suppress that information. I don’t know what would be the point of doing the research if you just hid the facts.

With that out of the way, I’ll just quickly start off by saying I do not believe (and have never witnessed) any correlation between violent people being born from violent games.

First off, I want to take a look at the past.

Looking at a quick Google search in crime rates, you can notice how before 1992 crime was at an all-time high average.

Be it in petty and grand scenarios, crime waves were rampant throughout major cities and such.

However, the reason why we look at 1992 of all years is for two major reasons: crime rates began to heavily decrease from this point on and 1992 was when the first Mortal Kombat game was released.

The game responsible for creating a rating system, and thus spawning a plethora of gruesome games afterwards, was released when violent crimes began plummeting.

This isn’t me trying to make a point that the release of Mortal Kombat had an impact on lowering crime (although there is more evidence to support this), but considering that crime rates really never soared back up to those levels, it would be a weak case to claim that the game created violence.

This is the past. However, school shootings have unfortunately become more common than ever before and when you hear that some shooters are making reference to video games with their crimes, it becomes very worrisome, especially for parents.

I’m making reference to tragedies like Columbine and El Paso, where the shooters were discovered to have large collections of video games, particularly graphic FPSs (first-person shooters).

Many studies have gone to say how this is a direct correlation with violence in children.However, there is an issue that arises from these sources.

All of the shootings in question may have had a similar link with video games. However, this claim can be reversed as you could look at another group of people committing the same type of crime who do not have any connection with games.

This is probably the biggest issue with the “video games cause violence” statement, there is barely any solid information for that side.

So many of the sources provided do in fact have research towards the subject, but there is either too little to make a supported statement or the research is not conducted properly.

Alternatively, Youtuber Matthew Patrick “The Game Theorist” (most of the information I’m using is from his video on video game violence, check it out if you’re interested) performed an independent study where he had his viewers fill out two surveys.

The first deduced what personality type each surveyor falls into, the second determined what type of playstyle each candidate uses for competitive shooting games such as Fortnite.

At the end, the research showed how people with aggressive personality types are more likely to have bolder, more violent playstyles than those who aren’t. And this applied to candidates who both had experience with violent games and those who didn’t.

This research, combined with other similar tests I discovered, supports the stance that violent video games only draw aggressive people to them, rather than create them.

Overall, I do believe that there should be some moderation in what content exists within video games and who is allowed to play them.

Even if video games do not directly cause violence, it should be a parent’s duty to understand what their children are experiencing and explain anything that needs to be explained to them.

My stance is that video games do not have a direct link with violence due to the lack of research and evidence, but we still need to open about the topic in order to truly find where this violence stems from.