Over the holiday weekend, I was having a conversation with my cousin who is a roofing contractor. I was telling him about this blog and we were debating whether or not there is a relationship between playing violent video games and engaging in violent behavior; he doesn’t think there is.
Maybe He’s Right….
I cannot find a single definitive study that shows there is causal relationship between these two activities. To be sure, there are studies that link playing violent video games with increases in aggressive behavior, as I pointed out in an earlier post. But, an increase in aggression is still a far cry from an overt act of violence. How is it possible that violent video games have become more and more popular, as well as increasingly more graphic and “real life”, and yet, the number of violent juveniles has decreased in recent years (according to the Department of Justice)? I don’t have the answer, but here’s something to consider. As adults, we sort of expect there to be a relationship between the two activities. After all, it makes perfect sense: hours of playing violent games = an increase in violent behavior. They seem to go hand in hand. However, the statistics just don’t support that conclusion. Perhaps, as my cousin pointed out, maybe kids are much more aware that what they are playing is only a game, even though many grown-ups see much more than that.
An Interesting Fact…
A lot of the negativity towards violent video games has come from some of the mass shootings in the U.S. It has been revealed that many of the killers in these tragic incidents played hours upon hours of violent video games. But did you know this??? The game that consumed Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook incident) was “Dance Dance Revolution.” He did play some violent games but this game was his obsession, which is very difficult to comprehend. I still can’t believe that one.
I do believe that violent video games lead to increases in aggression. I also believe that for the vast majority of people, this increase isn’t a problem. Having said that, I therefore believe that for a very, very small percentage of people, it is a problem. A very serious problem. Like the APA report indicated, playing violent video games is a risk factor. If you add that factor to a list of other risk factors, then I think we’re looking at very unstable individuals. If my theory is right, the question becomes this, “How do we identify this minuscule population of people and prevent further violence?”
I’m not sure. But please come back tomorrow to see what I’ve dug up as I continue to look for answers.