It’s a myth, video games are not ‘the source of all violence’ – Liberal article
I won’t lie, I love spending my personal time gaming. ‘Dropping into warzone with the bois’ has kept me sane this quarantine. It is a great pass-time and helps me relax. Whether it be FIFA, Rainbow 6 Siege or jetpack joyride on my phone. Although a colleague of mine once told me to ‘grow up’ and delete all the games from my phone, it still gives me great pleasure. My father has also enjoyed playing fantastic video games like the Battlefield franchise. So, since a young age, I have ‘gamed’.
Nothing makes my eyes roll more than when people say playing video games makes you more violent, and ultimately causes a mass shooting. The research that has gone into disproving this myth is undeniable.
For all those who worry about gaming, I want to persuade and show you that playing video games not only doesn’t make you violent but can help you in a number of ways. This isn’t to say everything is perfect, and I will note several flaws of the gaming culture.
First, let’s kill the myth. Professor James Ivory, research director at Virginia Tech, says ‘when it comes to serious violent crime, video games don’t really matter’. As a recent Oxford study also noted for adolescents ‘blaming video games for outbursts of teenage related aggression holds no weight’. What makes people violent links with upbringing, social factors and so much more.
As Donald Trump has done, to simply blame violent videos games with increasing mass shootings is ridiculous. It is to do with a lack of mental health support. There is no question that mental health is a growing concern around the world, but violent video games are not the causation.
As many know, Doom was one of the first truly brutal first-person shooters, a franchise that has seen a bit of a resurgence in recent years. Released in 1993, what would be expected is to see an instant coalition between its release and crime. Well, there is none. At all.
When analysing mass shootings, we don’t start to see real increases until 2010, particularly in the last 5 years. Why now have we seen this violence increase after nearly 17 years of violent gaming? Grand Theft Auto 3 was released in 2001.
The changing social world we live in is hurting mental health, not violent games.
Gaming has significant benefits. As the American Psychological Association note, gaming can ‘strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory and perception’. And note the next sentence; ‘this is particularly true for shooter video games, which are often violent’.
It has been used to fight mental health, such as having a significant impact on depression. I cannot tell you the number of times playing Rome: Total War has helped me pass a history exam.
This is not to say gaming is perfect. Pay to play games on app stores are a huge problem. Star Wars Battlefront 2 was a perfect example of a game built within game currency that you had to buy.
FIFA Ultimate Team as well almost demands real money to be spent on packs. It can be classed as a type of gambling, and despite mass protest by gamers against games like Battlefront 2, it does continue to happen and needs to be removed.
I feel the biggest problem people have who worry about gaming is they have never actually played a game in their life. The amount I have learnt, in terms of strategy, strategic planning, history, balancing and most importantly patience is huge.
Playing with friends has also helped with social skills, reactions, creating an eye for detail and, through its recent massive download files, actually forced me to learn more about my PS4 and broadband. In my years of playing video games, I have found that they have not hindered me but improved me as a person.
Written by Liberal Writer, Max Anderson
Point of Information
Best in moderation – a Conservative response
I must admit unlike many of my friends, I have never been a gamer. Other than my obsession with Football Manager, I have only played the occasional game. In saying this I do have a brother who, especially under lockdown, would relate to Mr Anderson’s love for his device and understand the passion.
Studies show that Mr Anderson is right. There is no evidence to suggest games are likely to be damaging to a child’s behaviour. Nevertheless, these games do have a major effect on the way people view the world. Many games are unrealistic and the danger comes when the real world fails to live up to these expectations.
To add to this the time, children are spending far too long on these devices. As a result, this is taking time away from other important aspects of life such as education. Obviously, a video game is going to be more fun than a book but the benefits are far less. If this is the case from an early age, children are likely to continue through their exam reducing their likelihood of doing well.
Video games are a great hobby. But, it is important that children understand that it rarely turns into a livelihood.
Although this response does appear to be all work and no games, this is not what I suggest. Video gaming is something many enjoy and there is nothing wrong with that. But as with everything, it is best in moderation.
Written by Chief Conservative Editor, Fletcher Kipps
A fellow gamer’s response – a Labour response
My colleague makes a number of interesting points about video games. As a fellow gamer, I have spent incredibly large amounts of time in virtual worlds and the points Mr Anderson raises are correct.
There is a long history of blaming mass shootings on cultural products like rock music. Video games are another scapegoat for wider societal problems that those casting the blame have no interest in resolving.
Mr Anderson raised the point about loot boxes and their connection with gambling. This is a tragic way in which young people may be coerced into parting with real-life cash. Video game production is not free from the demands of an exclusively profit-driven economy.
In addition to this, the phenomenon of video game crunch time has become highlighted in recent years. Crunch refers to the periods of a game’s development where it is being rushed to the shelves. During crunch, coders are expected to put in up to 100-hour workweeks to complete the final product.
Video game companies, like every creative industry, exploit the fact that developers come to the job with a burning passion. This has played out in the release of extremely popular games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Fortnite. It is evident therefore that like every other hobby, video games are not free from the demands of a consumer economy that expects producing highly polished products at regular intervals.
So, while the causal link between violence and video games is extremely dubious, the production of big-budget blockbuster titles is a type of violence.
Written by Labour Writer, Jack Walton
I am currently in my second year of reading Politics at the University of Exeter. My first interaction with politics was at the tender age of four years old.
I am an incoming third year undergraduate currently studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Exeter. I am socially liberal, fiscally conservative editor here at POI. I have been fascinated by politics for many years, from PMQs to late night election results all which has led to the desire to study this at university.
My beliefs in libertarian socialism were adopted gradually. Since a child I was immersed in the language of social justice and liberal politics from my membership of a progressive Jewish youth movement.