Essay 3 Draft

Armani Powell
Rough Draft 3
UNIV 150
Video Games and Violence
Over the years, the United States has seen an increase in gun violence. From the movie
theatre shooting in Aurora, to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and even all the way
back to Colombine High School, gun violence has sent our government into a tailspin of
confusion, and the main recipient of blame has been none other than the video game industry. A
war on electronic arts is being waged within the walls of congress as we speak, and the soldiers
fighting this war are pushing hard for sanctions on video games and even censorship. So what is
the mission statement for Congress? They want to link violent behavior and the upward trend of
mass shootings to video games; two variables in my honest opinion I find unrelated after doing
intense research.
I think it is a lazy argument to try and link violence to video games. I believe it is a knee
jerk reaction of a nation of people who often make an excuse for failed parenting. Look at
Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Colombine, and Aurora, the one thing that is constant in all of these
tragedies is that the perpetrator(s) gave off red flags prior to the shootings. The problems from
manic depression to textbook schizophrenia were identified months even years before the
shootings took place. In studies that try and link video games to violence there is so much bias
because they will often look to see if a child owned a copy of Call of Duty and say that is the key
reason for why violence happens when that cannot be further from the truth.
The link between video games and aggressive behavior is not real; however, the link
between video games and aggressive thoughts is not, but I believe this is where the disconnect is.
People think killing a virtual human being in a video game is going to lead someone to killing an
actual human being in real life. That’s not the case; I look to Dr. Christopher Ferguson who
conducted a study of 103 young adults who were randomized to play no video games, a
nonviolent video game, a violent video game where they played the protagonist and a violent
video game where they played the antagonist. Afterwards he gave each child a separate task
that’s main goal was to bring out frustration and aggressive behavior. He found that the children
who had a history of playing violent video games had fewer hostile feelings during the
frustration task. Researchers in 2012 also conducted a study of more than 6500 8th graders and
they even had controls for special factors, and the end results showed the association between
violent video games and behavior became even smaller.
I think it is very important to say again that video games are not the sole reason why
aggressive behavior and mass shootings happen. From a young age children are exposed to what
their parent/guardian allows them to and the values in which they instill in that child is
completely up to them. The real correlation between violent behavior is family life and mental
state. If a person has a ten-year old child who is a paranoid schizophrenic, it’s probably not the
best idea to expose him to forms of entertainment that display sorrow or anger. The human brain
as a child is meant to mimic. Scientists say that the human toddler’s only way of developing is
through mimicking its surrounding and mental illness can form at any time so the link between
how a child is raised and behavior should be a much bigger concern for Congress than video
The NRA (National Rifle Association) even came out and damned video games for gun
violence, oh the irony. As a parent your main focus should be raising your child the correct way
and making sure that child has every resource it needs to be successful and mentally stable in
today’s world. So it’s quite disturbing when the American government completely ignores the
fact that most of these parents and teachers who knew the shooters had psychological issues and
still ignored it. Only when an army-style rifle rings off in a school lunch room is someone at
fault then, but the blame is being placed on the wrong entity.
Video games have a rating system ranging from E (for everyone) to A (adult) and as a
parent, one has to sign off at the counter for your child to play any video game above their age
limit indicated on the rating. So I say again, if your child is showing signs of depression it’s best
to not introduce him/her to any form of media that is going to worsen his/her illness. Video
games do not leave their guns in easily accessible places inside your home, video games do not
ignore your child’s mental state, and video games do not tell your children to go shoot up
schools. Video games are here for one reason, to entertain us. If someone cannot see that, they
are most likely someone who cannot handle playing a video game strictly for entertainment
Ferguson, Christopher. "Video Games Don’t Make Kids Violent |" Ideas
Video Games Dont Make Kids Violent Comments. Time Magazine, 7 Dec. 2011.
Web. 18 Oct. 2015.
Vincent, James. "Long-term US Study Finds No Links between Violent Video
Games and Youth Violence." The Independent. Independent Digital News and
Media, 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.
Gallagher, Michael. "Video Games Don’t Cause Children to Be Violent."US News.
U.S.News & World Report, 10 May 2010. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.