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This essay is meant to give the reader insight and talk about a certain position on a highly public and controversial topic, that topic being whether or not video games cause violence in people. Across the world, there are video games that have uncensored violence and gore throughout them. Games such as Grand Theft Auto 5 and Call of Duty simulating shooting and running people over with little to no consequences. This has raised a debate among people all across the world. Some people say it depends on the person playing the game. While other people believe that if you play a violent video game no matter your age or mentality, you will become the next mass shooter. This debate can be easily settled by facts and data from copious creditable sources.
Many things can cause a person to do serious criminal acts such as mass murder and genocide. A person with a stable mindset doesn’t just wake up thinking it would be a great day to kill a large amount of people. The following explanations are to help prove what could cause a person to be mentally unstable and prepositioned to commit such crimes.
Genetics come from both parents as DNA. DNA makes who you are, therefore you will be like your parents. For example, having an alcoholic father growing up, as well as a drunk before you were conceived. Through Genetics/DNA you are prepositioned to become an alcoholic when you become older. The same can be said about violence. If your father had a very violent past, you are prepositioned to be a more volatile person, compared to a person who didn’t have a father with a violent history.
Your environment shapes you from a very young age and has a huge impact on your development process. The environment can shape people into a very nice and nurturing person, but it can also shape a person into an angry and bitter person. This tends to happen in the early stages of life (0-12 years of age.) A kid with an abusive parent will not grow up in a safe or comfortable environment. This will preposition the kid to have a dark and violent outlook on the world, but it is not always just there. There, more times than not, have to be a “first reaction” or interaction that brings back that part of their mindset. In this case, it would be video games. “The video games would glorify horrific crimes and show the player another way to be violent in the world.” There also tends to be very little repercussions for committing such action in video games, which makes it seem fun.
Desensitization is a process that diminishes emotional responsiveness to a negative. But is there desensitization to prolonged use of video games? For those who are able to separate fantasy from reality, the answer is no. For others who are unable to understand and separate life from fiction, I don’t think it desensitizes them, but I do think it gives them ideas for how they can ‘take it to the next level’ by acting out the games in real life. “Some want to see if they get the same exhilaration by committing the acts in life as they do in the video games.” If a stable minded individual plays a violent video, it doesn’t matter how much time they spend playing While if a mentally unstable person was to play the exact same game, it would. The more they play, the more graphic material they would be exposed too, possibly giving them more ideas.
Some people with a lack of companionship or reinforcement, may seek attention through committing severe crimes. For example, multiplayer games, there is a great deal of positive reinforcement by other players for success in the games, which would be to engage in extremely violent behavior. As you know, Positive Reinforcement is inordinately powerful, therefore some may believe that if they get that much positive attention for killing in a game, they will receive even more if they demonstrate it in real life. This is faulty reality testing.
Let’s take schizophrenia for example, schizophrenia has many symptoms, which include (but are not limited to) aggression, agitation, compulsive behavior, hostility, self-harm, lack of restraint, delusion, anger, anxiety, apathy, inappropriate emotional response, hallucination, paranoia, hearing voices, depression, fear, and persecutory delusion. To me, that does not sound like a person who should be playing games where you very graphically and realistically kill people for entertainment. This could give them ideas to commit cries exactly like the ones in the video games in real life.
Violent video games do not influence people that have a steady mind, aren’t pre-positioned to have anger problems, have any mental illnesses, and can differentiate fantasy versus reality.
On the other side of the argument, there are some people that think that all violent video games cause people to commit violent acts like the ones in the video games. They don’t take into account if the person was mentally ill or unstable, they think that ordinary people pick up a shooter game and instantly become the next mass shooter.
People firmly believe that video games can easily change a person’s mind, some even deeming gaming a “sin” and that it was made by the devil. Some people believe gaming can make you mentally ill and change your brain chemistry and turn you into a mass killing machine.
There is no scientific merit that proves or supports this theory. The only website(s) or people that could be found supporting this theory are from people that have no degrees and have never done any studies.
The study from James Avery (2019) states ‘Another reason we like point to video games is because we don’t want to talk about other things that we know are much more likely to be relevant. Strong predictors of violent crime include things such as poverty, substance abuse, and child abuse.” Which helps disprove that video games cause bad in all people.
Overall, violent video games can cause or help procure the idea of causing violence in people that have mental illness or may be unstable. As well as in very young kids that are subjected to violent and gory acts. People who have no mental illness and is mentally stable won’t be affected by the violence at all, no matter how often, or how long they play for.
There is a stacking amount of data and facts that prove this position and disprove the theory that all video games cause violence in anyone who plays them.
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