Video Games - Excuse for Violence?
I was sitting in on a Management of Aggressive Behavior (MOAB) class recently when the instructor commented with something that I'm sure many video gamers have heard before. "With games like Grand Theft Auto, we see more violence and things." It was just tossed into the conversation as if everyone was supposed to nod their head yes and carry on.
I did all I could to bite my tongue and, fortunately, I was successful in keeping my mouth shut as the conversation that might have ensued would have been long and distracting to the purpose of the course.
Let's Take a Look
Numerous studies conducted to try to calculate to see if video games, specifically violent games, might have any part of violent behavior found in people. Usually kids have been targeted in the studies in the age ranges of 11 to 18 on average. Let me save everyone a bit of time for any future studies. YES, violent games can influence people, but NO they don't do it across the board. And a high percentage of the time it doesn't cause someone to want to go out and jack a police car, pick up some hookers, and rob a bank (GTA reference).
I'm not an analyst, just a life long gamer with many gamer friends and acquaintances, none of whom have ever been involved in a crime. What's our secret? Well some common sense and intelligence helps but I think the majority of us were raised right. We didn't sit in front of games all day long, partly because we didn't have the games we have today but more so because our parents made us go outside and be social.
That's a key item that many of these studies seem to forget. It's not just a kid playing a game and then answering a questionnaire for the study. You have to factor in the family life. For many, video games are a way to waste time, relieve stress, hang out with friends or immerse yourself into a fantasy world. We don't use games to plan our next big heist or mass shootings because I'm pretty sure we all know that if we die in the real world we do not have the ability to just respawn and start again.
The moral of the story is - stop blaming video games for the crazy violence that sometimes happens in our life. Video games are just games. There is more to life than just games too, however, so try to keep yourself from those twelve-hour marathon sessions and take a walk outside or hang out with friends at a ball game often.
With some common sense and intelligence and friendship we can make the world of gaming and the world in general a better place.