Do Video Games Make Us Violent?

For many years, the media have fueled the rumor that violent-themed video games pose a very significant risk factor in the development of similar behaviors in young people.

Even for a while, it was hinted at that role-playing games were very dangerous tools because their players might come to believe that the character they played was real.

Video games: do they make us more violent or aggressive?

In the spring of 2000, a 16-year-old brutally murdered his parents and nine-year-old sister with a katana and, after his actions, was named “The Katana Killer”. Despite the seriousness of the crime, what made it highly publicized was the fact that, for a while, the media claimed that the killer had committed his actions because he was heavily influenced by Squall, the protagonist of the video game Final Fantasy. VIII, which has led many to stigmatize video games and role-playing games.

This article will not focus on how the media distorts information or how society reacts to technological changes brought about by video games. The text focuses on discover the truth behind the violence-video game duo in order to get rid of social prejudices and show the true correlation.

The Reality of the Consequences of Violent Video Games

The reality of the matter at present is uncertain due to the lack of studies in this regard. However, the evidence broadly supports that video games are not guilty of producing violent behavior in their players, beyond what a violent movie or noir novel can produce.

The truth is that over the years the number of video games with violent content is increasing, As well as the explicit and realism of the same. But it is even truer that the level of violence among young people has in turn decreased considerably (CJ Ferguson, 2010). Despite this argument, which for many would be very enlightening on the reality of the implication of video games in juvenile violence, there are authors who endeavor to prove the contrary, as is the case with Anderson (2004) , who published a review of several articles. in which he concluded that as more studies are conducted on violence and video games, the relationship between them becomes clearer.

Studies for all tastes

On the other hand, other studies conducted by the research community affirm that the relationship between video games and violence is very exaggerated in everyday life, as is the case of Tear and Nielsen (2003) who conducted three experiments. in an attempt to demonstrate that video games decrease prosocial behavior or, in other words, the performance of socially accepted actions, yielding results that contradict their hypothesis. Another example of a similar study is that conducted by Parker et al. (2013) who attempted to prove their hypothesis that video games and television were strong predictors of behavior problems and where they found out that video games don’t.

As one can see, there is a strong polarity when it comes to violence generated by video games. This polarization is built on the basis of the divergence of results shown by the various studies carried out on the relationship between violence and video games, which could in large part be explained by the limits suffered by these studies and which we will discuss later.

Causes of polarity in the study of the relationship between violence and video games

The main flaw in the results of studies to assess the relationship between violent video games and violence shown by young people, is, for the most part, the great difficulty of objectifying this type of research (CJ Ferguson, 2010).

Measuring the level of violence is no easy task and in fact many standardized measures of violence, at the moment of truth, do not positively correlate with actual aggressive behavior, which means that in many cases, some of the results obtained are not. one hundred percent true. In addition to this, theHowever, video games are not currently an object of study that interests large masses of researchers.So a large part of these studies are detailed studies, with low resources and therefore only a small part of them manage to get published in journals or mass media. To this, we must add that in general, the effects of third variables such as sex, genetics, social context, etc. are generally not taken into account.

However, the most damaging and the most serious of these limitations is undoubtedly the apparent effort of many authors to aggravate the results obtained, exaggerating or omitting those which are contradictory, in order to have their study published and to do little favor to the video game research and development community.

Psycogaming’s point of view on the issue

Our take on the relationship between violence and video games is clear. Our training and experience show us that this relationship is not significantly correlated, Being a low impact factor and always taking into account the sum of other much more serious factors such as the socio-cultural level or the presence of domestic violence.

In addition, we strongly believe in research like that of Barlett et al. (2009) or the aforementioned Ferguson (2010) and experience, that video games are powerful educational tools that are able, used correctly, to enhance and enhance cognitive abilities such as creativity, attention, concentration and spatio-visual performance, among others. In addition, they are obviously very effective leisure tools and an alternative method for making young people read and think who, at the present time, are strongly anchored in technology.

Bibliographical references:

  • Anderson, California (2004). An update on the effects of playing violent computer games. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 113-122.
  • Barlett, PC; Voice, LC; Shanteau, J .; Crow, J. and Miller, T. (2009). The effect of violent and non-violent computer games on cognitive performance. Computers in human behavior. Flight. 25, 96-102.
  • Ferguson, CJ (2010). Burning Angels or Resident Evil? Can Violent Video Games Be A Definitive Force? General review of psychology. APA. Flight. 14 (2), 68–81.
  • Parkes, A., Sweeting, H., Wight, D. and Henderson, M. (2013). Do electronic and television games predict children’s psychosocial adjustment? Longitudinal research as part of the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Arch Dis Child Vol. 98, 341-348.
  • Tear, MJ and Nielsen, M. (2013). Failure to demonstrate that playing violent video games decreases prosocial behavior. PLOS ONE. Flight. 8 (7), 1-7.

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