Violent video games are a hot topic whenever something extreme occurs, such as in the US whenever a school shooting occurs. This is why I’m asking the question: ‘Do violent video games cause real-life violence?’.
Are they real?
Video games, like many movies, take place in a fictional reality. Researchers have struggled to find correlations between violent video games and real-life violence. Therefore we can not blame fictitious stories and games as the main cause of violence in teenagers.
What do the stats say?
Most studies and surveys have found a general decrease in the number of violent crimes committed by teenagers. From 1995 to 2002, there was a decrease in crime by over 41%, which is a massive decline. Since 2002, the violent crime rate has continued to drop: for example, from 2007 to 2017 it has dropped another 41%. Meanwhile, as this decrease has been going on, there has been an increase the number of video games sold, many of them violent, making video games the highest grossing entertainment industry at a total of £64 billion in 2014, beating the film industry by £36 billion. If these changes are so drastic, why has crime not also increased?
Are there benefits?
Many studies have also agreed that violent video games actually are beneficial as they help users to re-direct any violent urges into the game, which helps to get rid of stress. These games also increase people’s reaction skills as they have to quickly react to the game environment. With so many benefits you could say that it’s almost a ‘healthy’ past-time.
Are there side effects?
There are, however, some side effects to the prolonged exposure to the violence of video games. After countless hours of playing, people may start to be desensitised by the content they witness in the game, meaning that they feel less guilt or emotional stress when they witness or perform actions like the ones they experience in-game.