I recently took the time to talk about the argument that violence in video games can cause people to be violent. It's probably evident already what my stance on it is, but I don't believe there is a correlation. The world over is filled with video game violence, violent films, and violence on the news. Everyone everywhere has seen violence in some shape or form in their life. Plenty of horror nerds see blood and gore on a daily basis, but they don't go around planning cold blooded murder. Sure, there are others who play violent video games and go on to live out some sick deep-seated fantasy. But the video games they played were not the cause. There are dozens upon dozens of factors that lead to a violent person, and we need to take a closer look at those rather than using video games as a scapegoat.
I want to be careful that I don't simply reiterate what I have already stated in my previous article. So let's move on to the specific subject at hand. Lies can be spread around as fake news, if we aren't careful. Flat-Earthers legitimately believe the lie that the Earth is flat. Anti-vaxers genuinely believe that lie that vaccines cause more problems than they solve. The masses could (and already have begun) to believe that violent video games can create violent people. There is even explicit proof of this already cropping up. One school in South Florida held a “Violent Video Game Toss” event, where students threw away and/or destroyed video games with violent ratings.
A local news station close to the school recorded footage of the event and interviewed some of the students, parents, and faculty. The beginning of the video has the children all parroting the same sentiment, saying video games are violent. Okay, that's true. But it's the continuation where things start to get muddled. One child says that games about shooting and killing are not positive. Again, this is true, but a tornado killing hundreds of people isn't positive either, and children are exposed to that type of violent horror on the news. One of the students near the end of the video says that their generation can be the one that stops violence and doesn't allow school shootings to happen. This is all well and good, but has nothing to do with video games. Another student says that their school has always taught them to “have a happy attitude and always be on the correct path to be a good student.” Again, it has absolutely nothing to do with video games.
The only people in the video that really talk directly about the correlation about video games and violence are parents and staff. This is even proven inadvertently by one of the school's youngest students who says, “I'm not even allowed to play gun games. My parents won't let me, so all I play are sports games.” Here's a child that's so young he can't even comprehend what violent video games are, referring to them only as “gun games.” He himself has no emotions or experience with them, but knows he can't play them. The whole video feels like an odd scene from a brainwashing video.
Adults have begun to believe the theory that violent video games cause violence and they are passing on that unfounded knowledge to their children. The kids have no reason to doubt their parents and are being raised around lies. These children might genuinely believe that their violent video games could cause them to commit atrocities. This is passing blame on a false cause. These children should be taught what actually creates violent people, and learn to watch out for those signs, rather than just thinking, “Timmy plays Call of Duty, so I should be scared of him!”
It might seem like I'm putting blame on the parents here, but children are literally the product of their genetics and their surroundings. They learn only what people teach them, unless somehow the child seeks out knowledge on their own. I don't know about you, but I wasn't actively reading research documents or encyclopedias as a child. One parent in the Southern Florida news interview even says, “I just don't see any real benefit to these kind of video games in our society. I know they are kind of fun to play, but they don't really serve any purpose other than that.” Let me just shift this statement a little bit.
Let's take something ridiculous like a theme park, for example. These are kind of fun to visit, but they don't really serve any other purpose. The statement on its own is completely ludicrous to begin with. But if we do even a simple evaluation past that, theme parks employ people, they give families memories to remember forever, and can bring them closer. The development of video games employs people, the sales employ even more, they can bring families closer together, and give players memories to remember forever. The earliest memories I have showing how much my dad loves me is the fact that he made a separate partition on my childhood computer that held my games. One of those games was Duke Nukem, which many might consider a violent video game. I haven't stabbed anyone yet, and don't have any plans to.
It is absolutely frightening that these falsehoods can be spread by parents to their children. This is not a new occurrence. Parents tell their children that the Earth is flat, and a whole brand new generation of Flat-Earthers are born. Parents told their children that certain kinds of people were bad or weren't as important as they were, and this bred brand new generations of racist and backwards-thinking people. Now parents are telling their children that violent video games cause people to be violent. These children could grow up and raise their old children with the same sentiments, perpetuating the false argument for generations to come.
This needs to come to a stop across the board. In an era of advanced technology and science we should be seeing logic win more often than not. There are always going to be those that don't believe or don't listen to reason, but let's keep them in the minority. And once again, let's get those studies going to find countless examples of how video games and real life violence do not coincide.