Video games aren’t the cause of violence

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This story was originally published in the first edition of The Lion’s Tale (October 1, 2019).

Lately in the news there have been a lot of people bashing video games for supposedly being the cause of “violent behavior”. Specifically, some groups are targeting these games for leading to school shootings. But I don’t think we can blame this one creation for the outbreaks of violence that have occurred for as long as the human race, and before it.

When looking back through how humanity has grown over the thousands of years we’ve been around, we have actually made an impressive amount of inventions and innovations. Video games in particular have had a massive impact on culture and how people spend their time day to day, but looking back they have only been around since 1958, a small amount of time compared to how long humans have been around. The first game was a tennis like game that was very simple. Many released after that, but what may be considered a pioneer of the gaming industry and maybe the first super violent video game was the first Doom game, which came out in 1993. With it’s gory effects and first person shooter mechanic, it was deemed one of the most violent games of its time.

Violence has always been a part of the human race. Our primal ancestors probably engaged in violent activities. We have had two world wars and numerous other ones, all of which happened before video games were even in existence. So people going as far as to say video games are causing violence are incorrect, violence has been around plenty.

As far as I see it, there are benefits to some violent video games. Most of the games that have been released lately require a good reaction time, and there are quite a few that require puzzles to be solved. Although none of these games should be played in excess (because most things in excess are unhealthy) playing them for a little each day could end up being beneficial.

There are a lot of media outlets who believe that violent video games aren’t necessarily the cause of the violence but instead just lead to more happening. Although this is a more logical argument, it still isn’t true. Over the past year or so there have been numerous studies to see if there is a link between video games and violent behavior. The results were that there was a very minor relationship found, if any. So as a result, although violent video games may make those who use them in excess a little more aggressive overall, they aren’t causing mass violence.