Violent Video Games, Are They Really the Cause of Violence?

Every tragedy involving a mass shooting has consequentially somehow always found itself being connected to violent videos. Ever since the infamous Columbine High school shooting, the media and every other politicians have been pointing fingers at violent video games rather than the real reasons. Video games have been a red herring this entire time and yet most people fail to notice that; the real reasons behind these tragic shootings are actually within the shooters: their lifestyle, their relationships, and their mental status.

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The shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, were later found to have played a first person shooter game called, “Doom.” The shooters have referenced the game itself and Dylan had actually designed a “high school” level within the game. That being said, right now the video game seems to be a major factor leading to the shooting. However in reality, it’s not. The two shooters had psychological problems prior to the shooting where Eric and Dylan were constantly being bullied. Their imaginations led them to form an anti-bully hit man group called “The Trench Coat Mafia.” Of course they weren’t actual hit men nor did they kill anyone, not at least until the shooting. This proves that the shooting was planned and prepared because of the different factors in their lives, not because they simply played a violent video game. So once again the media poses the question, are violent video game really to blame?

Game displayed: Counter Strike: Global Offensive

The debate had initially died down as other topics and events surfaced. However, recent incidents such as the Virginia Tech Shooting, Aurora Shooting, and Sandy Hook Shooting have once again sparked the debate of whether violent video games are causing people to carry out these shootings. All three suspects of these three separate incidents are teenagers and young adults. This gives the media and politicians a target to pin the cause of the violent shootings to video games and which age group violent video games are affecting the most. Every single one of these incidents had always reported that the suspect played some sort of violent video game in the FBI reports. At first glance, that seems to be the triggering factor that led to the violent actions and crimes the suspects committed. However, the majority of adolescents and young adults are gamers and enjoy the entertainment of violent video games. Yet, the majority of players believe the thought of harming or killing others originating from just playing video games is ridiculous. Professor Michael Ward, a professor at the University of Texas, believes that “the overall link between violent video games and fighting is modest and not statistically significant.” Statistics show that crimes caused by adolescents has actually decreased since the first incident of school shooting. In reality,  FBI reports are later released that the individuals responsible for the shootings had some form of problem, ranging from their social environment to mentality to family.

Each of these factors contribute heavily to the outcome and easily outweigh the fact that the individual played video games. So to everyone accusing violent video games leads to violence, stop thinking so narrowly, take a step back, and look at the more important factors surrounding the player’s life.

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