Do Video Games Make People Violent?
You have a five kill streak and you’re on your way for a sixth. You pull out a pulse rifle, turn the corner, and… you just got sniped at 200 yards. Sound familiar? It should. The fact is, about 97% of American teens play video games, and about half of those play every day (Lenhart, Kahne, Middaugh, Macgill, and Evans 1).
The question scientists around the world are asking is; are these video games making these young people violent?
“The Effect of Video Games on the Brain” by Eleni Kardaras tells of the immediate and possible long term effects of playing violent video games. She explains that video games of a violent nature have not been proved to cause violent behavior, but studies have shown how such video games can cause emotional outbursts, aggressive behavior, and decreased inhibitions. She suggests that through these studies and some of her own observations, it can be easily deduced that violent video games can cause some behavior changes.
She then describes a study that shows that people who spend more time playing video games are less able to interact with people, get angry easier, and have difficulty concentrating. The study also deduced that video games reduce activity in the prefrontal lobe, and that they alter moods, causing the player to feel what the character might feel, strong emotions like fear. She proceeds to ask the question, “Does repeated exposure to this “false” sense of danger have an effect on what the brain then perceives as real danger?” and speculates on the possibilities. Although she states some very strong points, Kardaras focuses too much on the unsure and inconclusive statistics that state that video games have long lasting effects on the subconcious.
... side effects were long term. The study ignores, however, the fact that most people play a variety of video games including both violent video games and role-playing games, which ... violent of video games. There are studies that suggest negative effects from violent video games, which have shown in MRI scans after 30 minutes of video game play that the games ...
Kardaras points on the immediate effects of violent video games are very logical, as I have seen the effects on myself as well as in other gamers. I usually become more disagreeable and less able to concentrate. I argue with my brother more and my homework becomes almost impossible. My friends get more frustrated with family members and have never been very good at getting school work done. My little brother will fight more and will always disagree with whatever my dad asks him to do after a session.
As a student writing a research paper for her class, Kardaras includes references from professors and scientists. This brings more credibility to her article, and also adds some interesting statistics. She includes proof that there is an immediate effect of violent video games. This does, however, make her sound less convincing when the long term effects never have conclusive studies. She is forced to resort to her opinion.
Kardaras uses a personal experience in her second paragraph: “They were playing the video game “Mario Cart,” which is really not a very violent game… When the younger brother won, the older brother got up and started kicking him and yelling insults!” (Kardaras 1).
While this may seem like it proves her case, it actually detracts from it. She herself admits that the game wasn’t that violent. It appears that the kids are always fighting and generally out of control, which could come from a number of different sources.
It’s a highly debated subject by politicians, doctors, and parents to ban violent video games. There have been a number of accounts where adolescents cause mass murder. Police Officers and doctors concluded that they were influenced by violent video games. The game “Doom” was played by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold before they went on a shooting and bombing spree at their high school, Columbine ...
I do believe that video games may affect someone’s attention, and it may also make a person more aggressive. I don’t, however, think video games affect anyone in the long term. Someone may feel fear, sadness, or excitement while playing a game, but it is no different than feeling depressed when a violinist is playing a song in a minor key on his violin, or feeling upset when the protagonist dies from a tragic car accident in a film, or screaming in fright when a mummy jumps out of a sarcophagus in a Halloween maze. The effect from these feelings is no different whether your team clears the next checkpoint, or when watching sports and your team scores a goal. According to the FBI crime reports, murder and other violent crimes have decreased over the past 50 years (“Disaster Center”).
Paired up with the study showing that 97% of teens play video games, this renders any argument towards video games causing violent behavior invalid.
Violent video games may have an immediate short-term effect on people, such as decreased inhibitions and increased emotional outbursts, but I do not believe, and scientists have had inconclusive results, that video games can make someone violent, causing them to commit heinous crimes. The just is not enough evidence to prove this.
Kardaras, Eleni. “The Effect of Video Games on the Brain.” Serendip Exchange (2006): 1. Web. 09/10/10.