Violent Video Games’ Effect on Youth Violence Essay Example
Violent Video Games’ Effect on Youth Violence Essay Example

Violent Video Games’ Effect on Youth Violence Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (1926 words)
  • Published: June 16, 2017
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Halo, Call of Duty, and Gears of War are just three of many grossly popular video games today, and they have one main thing in common: violence. Whether one is shooting down Nazi soldiers on the beaches of Normandy or sawing apart Locust drones on the planet Sera with his or her lancer, one Is engaging In extremely violent video-game action, and probably having a lot of fun doing so.

With the rapid growth of intensely violent games, parents and politicians across the nation have begun to protest against violence in video games and have even gone as far as to say it is the cause of violence In America's youth.Is this really true? Are video games the problem? Just like the rock and roll movement of the 1950's being blamed for youth delinquency, society seems to always find a scapegoat for these kinds of social issues. Similarly, violent video games are Just a scapegoat, and they do not contribute to the violence in our youth today. My first point Is one that Is always overlooked when politicians and parents across the nation are protesting against video game violence.

If violent video games are the cause of our youth's violent behavior, how is it that there are millions of children and young adults out there In our nation who play these games but are not shooting up ovie theaters and robbing convenience stores? Erik Kaln In his online article 'The Truth About Video Games and Gun Violence" states that "to hold up a few sensational examples as causal evidence between violent games and violent acts i


gnores the millions of other young men and women who play violent video games and never go on a shooting spree In real life" (Kaln, Works Cited #3).Kain Is specifically referring to the Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, the Norway shooter Anders Behring Breivlk, and Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, who all were reportedly obsessed with violent video games. These were three cases in which video game violence was mentioned by many as the maln cause of these alleged shootings, but that is Just false. Julia Layton says In her article "Do Violent Video Games Lead to Real Violence? " that "while violent video game sales are on the rise, violent crime rates in the United States are going down" (Layton, Works Cited #5).Patrick Markey mentions in his online article titled "In Defense of Violent Video Games" that "In the past 15 years, sales of video games have consistently Increased whereas homicides, rapes and aggravated assaults during this same time have decreased" (Markey, Works Cited #6). Markey concludes by saying, "It appears that any negative effect of violent video games is dwarfed by the effects of other societal factors" (Markey, Works Cited #6).

Markey and Layton are basically saying that even If violent video games are in fact having an effect on our youth's violent behavior, It Is mlnlmal and Irrelevant In regards to other social influences.I have been playing violent video games since I was a young child, along with the majority of my friends, and neither my friends nor I have ever committed a violen

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crime, so to point to violent video games as the cause of hootings and homicides would disregard the evidence I personally know against It. My second point supporting video game violence as a scapegoat to youth violence is that other factors more closely correlate with aggression and violence in youth than video games.Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olsen mention in their book Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do that "focusing on such easy but minor targets as violent video games causes parents, social activists and public-policy makers to ignore the much more powerful nd significant causes of youth violence that have already been well established, including a range of social, behavioral, economic, biological and mental-health factors" (Kutner and Olsen page 190, Works Cited #4).They stress in their book the positive aspects video games, sometimes even violent ones, can have on a child's brain, and that violent tendencies are more based off of social circumstances and mental problems rather than which violent video games he or she played. Carol Pinchefsky says in her online article miet More Proof That Violent Videogames Don't Cause Aggression" that "it is competitive video game play.

.. rather than non- ompetitive video game play... that are linked more strongly to aggression" (Pinchefsky, Works Cited #7).

Pinchefsky is arguing in her article that it is the competitive nature of games, not the violence, that causes both verbal and physical aggression. She points out that other researchers may have had their subjects play games like Mortal Kombat which are indeed violent, but also highly competitive. She also points out that competition isn't necessarily always bad, and aggression does not always lead to violent behavior. Christopher J.

Ferguson in his article titled "Video Games: the Latest Scapegoat for Violence" argues against the idea hat one's mind can be manipulated and conditioned by a video game into committing a violent crime.He asserts that "when a man or woman picks up a weapon and premeditates the end of another human life, it is not because he or she was programmed by a video game but because that individual made a conscious choice ” not to play a game, but to kill" (Ferguson, Works Cited #2). Ferguson bases his argument off of the assumption that people should be held accountable for their actions because they alone are the reason they committed their crime, not because they were brainwashed to by a movie or video game.Two very commonly mentioned names when arguing correlations between youth violence and violent video games are Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, also known as the Columbine High School shooters.

Jerald Block, a psychiatrist from Portland, Oregon even said that these shooters carried out their massacre because their parents took away their video games. Block said that the two relied heavily on online computer games as a means to express their anger. Eric Kain disagrees with Block, however, in his article "The Truth About Video Games and Gun Violence. " He says "that's clearly an oversimplification.The age and gender of many mass shooters, including Columbine's, places them right in the target demographic for

first-person-shooter video games.

And people between ages 18 and 25 also tend to report the highest rates of mental-health issues. Harris and Klebold's complex mental-health problems have been well documented" (Kain, Works Cited #3). Kain's argument resonates well with many others. One would agree that people seem to Jump to conclusions when faced with horrific tragedies like this.

They look at the first convincing piece of evidence without digging deep to really find out what happened.These two boys clearly had serious mental issues, but people were too fixated on the fapde of violent video game obsession to find a viable reason why these two chose to do something like this. Mental illness is many times a huge factor when it comes to shootings like this. Another point Kain makes in his article is that already-violent children are attracted to violent video games, and a false correlation is easy to make to fit our assumptions. According to Kain, "it's very difficult to determine empirically whether violent kids are simply drawn to violent forms of entertainment, or if the entertainment somehow makes them violent.Without solid scientific data to go on, it's easier to draw conclusions that confirm our own biases" (Kain, Works Cited #3).

It could certainly be true that inherently violent and aggressive kids Just so happen to play violent games, and that violent video games are not the reason they are like that. Correlation does not always equal causation. My third and final point suggesting that violence in video games does not contribute to youth violence is that video games are fairly new to our society, but violence has been around since the dawn of man.It would make plenty of sense to say that violent ideo games cause youth violence if violence has been rapidly increasing since the creation of the first violent video game, but it hasn't. In fact, it has been declining.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, statistics show that from 1994 to 2010, between the ages of ten and twenty four, homicide rates have steadily declined starting from around fifteen out of every 100,000 people to about seven and a half out of every 100,000 people (Works Cited #8).That says a lot about more recent violent games and their effect on youth violence, but what about older ideo games? The first controversial violent video game was made all the way back during 1976, titled Death Race, and the previous statistic doesn't take into account games prior to 1994 or violent crimes other than homicide. Well according to statistics by familyfacts. org, since 1973, youth violent crime rates have been decreasing and are now at an all time low, as well as property crime rates (Works Cited #1).Other statistics from familyfacts. org show an overall decline in violent youth behavior and physical altercations among youth since 1991 (Works Cited #1).

Not only is there no statistical evidence suggesting a causal relationship between violence in video games and violence in youth, but there is strong statistical evidence suggesting there is no causal relationship between violence in video games and violence in youth. Many conflicting

studies and surveys have been done in the past by biased and unbiased sources since the 1980's.According to Erik Kain in his article "The Truth About Video Games and Gun Violence," The University of Georgia found in 1984 "that playing arcade games was linked to increases in physical aggression" (Kain, Works Cited #3). A study done a year later by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine however found that "arcade games have a 'calming effect' and that boys use them to blow off steam" (Kain, Works Cited #3).

Kain also points out that "studies grow more sophisticated over the years, but their findings continue to point in different directions" (Kain, Works Cited #3).One can easily see that contradictory research and misleading conclusions point towards an incorrect hypothesis. Violent video games cannot be the cause of youth violence because youth violence is not something new, since it has been around much longer than video games has, and it eems to have only improved since the birth of violent video games. As one can see, there are three valid points suggesting that violent video games do not contribute to violence in youth, and that video games are Just a scapegoat.The first point is that there are millions of young people out there in the world who enjoy playing violent video games that have never committed a violent crime before.

The second point is that more reasonable diagnoses for violent behavior, like mental illness, more strongly correlate with youth violence. The third point is that statistics have shown a ecrease in violence over the years in which violence in video games has only increased.On top of these three points, there also seems to be no sufficient evidence supporting the claim that violent video games contribute to youth violence. Just because one's child finds enjoyment in shooting down covenant grunts on the planet Halo or assassinating Templar knights in ancient Israel, does not mean he or she actually plans on killing anyone in real life.

Maybe if his or her concerned parent gave these games a try, he or she would find that it is a lot more enriching than he or she previously thought.