A report by the Oxford Internet Institute and the University of Oxford (2019) which is one of the most definitive to date, found no relationship between aggressive behavior in teenagers and the amount of time spent playing violent video games.
The idea that video games make people more violent has spread and grown throughout the world over the past 30 years, regardless of the numerous studies that show the opposite. This proposition has been proven erroneous or non-relevant several times. Violence is caused by many other things like abuse, domestic violence, or access to weapons.
Nearly 85% of teenagers use video games, so the fact that some people who commit violent acts also play games should not be surprising, nor does it imply a causal relationship.
‘The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn’t tested very well over time,” lead research Professor Andrew Przybylski, Director of Research at the Oxford Internet Institute, said.
Additionally, a peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that children play video games as a means of managing their emotions. 61.9% of boys played to help them relax, 47.8% because it helps them forget their problems, and 45.4% because it helps them get their anger out.
People who play violent video games have to know the difference between virtual violence in the context of a game and appropriate behavior in real life. Violent video games provide opportunities for children to explore the consequences of violent actions and to develop their moral compasses virtually. They also allow people to release their stress and anger in the game, which leads to less real-world aggression.
Video games can help many people feel comfortable and happy rather than worsen their violent character.
The debate over whether video games create violent tendencies in people has emerged again due to the mass shootings in recent years in the United States.
According to the University of Villanova, “In the first seven months of 2019, there have been 22 shootings at schools in which someone has been injured or killed. In many instances, violent video games are attributed as the root cause, even though research and analysis prove otherwise. The University also stated that, “A report by the US Secret Service and US Department of Education examined incidents of targeted school violence between 1974 and 2000. Of the 41 attackers studied none were found to have a relationship between playing violent video games and the school shootings.”
“Video games made them do it” is what parents around the world have put to blame as a cause of school shootings, while they should be worried about mental health problems, abuse, bullying, revenge, and other situations. There have been dozens of studies that have found no correlation between playing video games and aggressive behavior in teenagers. Focusing on violent video games as the cause of mass shootings distracts government officials from the need to deal with more fundamental causes.
Even though children can play violent video games, it does not mean they are more likely to cause a school shooting due to no correlation found between violent actions and video games.
Violence has always existed, but now it’s being blamed on video games.
In 2011 the US Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that California could not ban the sale of violent video games to minors. They argued that studies purporting to show a connection between violent video games and harmful effects on children have been rejected by every court.
The Court’s majority opinion read, “Large analyses of violent crime and video violent game use find no evidence that increased sales of violent video games lead to a spike in violent crimes. Researchers make the case that if violent games directly led to violent behavior, the data would show increases in violent crime on a large-scale as more people played violent games. ”
Multiple studies have been conducted around the world to try and resolve this dispute once and for all. During this process, it has been found that more important, life-threatening causes of violence should be the priority for parents and doctors.
Video games have not yet been proven as the cause of violent behavior. Nevertheless, some may argue that violent video games increase the access that someone has to violent thoughts or that it causes more aggression, bullying, and fighting. In 2014, a study published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture found that 90% of pediatricians and 67% of parents agreed that violent video games can increase aggressive behavior among children but can’t be fully blamed for it. It is important to keep in mind that excessive violent video game exposure could be a risk factor to many other problems.
By blaming video games instead of digging deeper into the root causes of violence, we are looking for easy answers instead of facing hard truths. The question about whether violent games inspire violent behavior “in real life” is a subject that is strongly divided by opinion.