Episode 244: Talking about Video Games Causing Real Life Violence… Again

Hiya!

It’s the same old story. Some horrible tragedy happens where people are killed and there will be at least a few people who will denounce that video games are to blame. It’s been happening for quite a few decades now but this kind of propaganda spinning hasn’t reared its ugly head for quite a while. It hasn’t until quite recently, unfortunately. This time, it’s a little bit different. That’s because it’s the President of the United States that’s making this claim.

To be fair, he did lump in movies into this ball as well. Now, let’s ignore the fact that President Trump made the weird suggestion that movies and video games need to have a ratings system even though both of these forms of media does have these ratings on them. Never mind that it seems like he was just repeating what other politicians were saying just a few days before he made that statement. Let’s also not go into how I feel about President Trump and what how he’s doing with running the free world because that’s not what the topic is all about. Let’s not even talk about my position on guns right now because, once again, that’s not what I want to focus on.

What I want to shine the spotlight on is Trump’s comment that video games are warping children’s minds and this is why another tragedy happened. This is the thing I want to focus on because I wholeheartedly think and feel from the bottom of my heart that video games don’t do this in normal individuals. I cannot and will not believe that video games is the cause of the most heinous of violence that they claim it does.

First of all, if violent video games are the primary cause of real life violence, you would expect most countries to have the same number of mass shootings with roughly the same magnitude and regularity as with the United States. After all, most countries have access to all kinds of video games as this has become a global phenomenon. Purchasing a video game from anywhere in the world has even become much easier thanks to the Internet and services like Steam, PlayStation Network, Xbox Marketplace and many more. If Trump and the other politicians are correct with their statements that violent video games cause real life violence and mass shootings, other countries like the UK, Japan and South Korea should have roughly the same number of mass shootings the United States has.

This simply is not the case. While they may have some incidents of violence like the one that happens in the United States, they certainly do not happen with the same alarming rate in other countries. you would think there would be if the politicians are correct and violent video games are warping the minds of young kids to commit violent acts. Based on their argument, Japan and South Korea, two countries that definitely love their video games, these places just don’t have the same number of extreme violence that the United States experiences on a frighteningly frequent basis.

There is the idea that video games and other forms of media are desensitizing young people to violence so it’s easier for them to commit acts of mayhem. This is an argument that’s incredibly popular for proponents of this. It’s the “monkey see, monkey do” argument. The idea is kids will copy the vicious and homicidal things they see on TV and movies or copy the more brutal scenes that they perform in video games. We even have that idea plunged into our heads in the Philippines as our very own movies and television ratings board, the MTRCB, currently runs a PSA before a movie or in-between television programs.

Okay, first, let me state the irony of the MTRCB, the very board that’s supposedly wants to shield kids from watching acts of violence and they may follow them, actually put out an ad that’s filled with violent imagery and kids copying those actions without any repercussions. But I digress. The ad does show children copying the actions of an action film they watched. And you know what? That seems perfectly fine because these kids are playing! They’re making pretend! They know it’s fake and fiction.

Normal kids nowadays know that what they see on movies, TV and video games isn’t how normal society behaves. How do I know this? Because I grew up watching a whole lot of movies, TV and video games and I’ve never had the urge to commit a violent act! I also know a whole bunch of relatives, friends, classmates, coworkers and many more people that consumed vast quantities of media who never had an inkling of committing mass murder. Why? Because I know video games is a fantasy and it’s not real life! Normal people who play video games know we won’t level up and get stronger or max out our HP after killing someone in real life because we know it’s fantasy!

Now, I do have to reiterate that this is the reaction of normal people who come in contact with violent imagery. This obviously doesn’t take into the account of the people that have mental issues. I can’t speak for the people that may not be able to differentiate what’s fiction and what fantasy but those people are the exceptions and these are the people that do need some extra special care. It’s definitely not fair to those people who know is able to say what is acceptable in a video game and real life that they don’t know this.

So, why would Trump and politicians make claims that movies and video games are destroying minds of the youth? It’s because they decided to dig this old argument from out of the grave its been buried in and lay blame on something else rather than have a serious discussion about other possible causes. It’s much easier to find a scapegoat and blame something else you don’t understand. They blamed comics for causing juvenile delinquency. They blamed Elvis and rock and roll for corrupting the youth. They blamed video games before and they’re doing it again because it’s so much easier to lay blame on it rather than try to solve the issue.

And yet, here we are again. I’m talking about why I don’t believe video games cause real life violence. The sad thing is I’ve written about this twice before. I wrote about this very topic in 2014 when I just started out writing for fun and I wrote about it again in 2015. I’ve done a lot of research and, while there are some studies that do show that video games may cause more aggressive behavior, there are many other studies that disproves that playing violent video games causes real violence. Even with that, something tells me that this won’t be the last time I’ll be writing about this very topic in the future.

What’s your opinion on video games or any other form of media influencing the youth to commit real life violence? Let me know what they are in the comments below!

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