Video Games and Violence: Who is to blame?
I think this is a really interesting idea to discuss as it’s something I do feel quite strongly about. In short, no, I don’t think Video Games are to blame for real life violence. I think, whilst the media, film companies and video game producers are how a lot of people become exposed to things, it’s not fair to blame them on violence. Real life violence happens for one reason, because the person that committed the violence decided to do so. The only excuse, and I use that term quite loosely, where the person hasn’t necessarily made that choice is due to that person’s mental health condition but that is a topic for another day.
There are loads of violent video games around. I’ve played them and yes sometimes I lose my temper a little bit but I never get violent. I would say I get frustrated at the game or my own (lack of) ability to actually play the game. I’d have to say most of the games I personally enjoy playing aren’t really all that violent. I love Final Fantasy because it’s a role playing game with magic and swords and yes you do have to fight things in it, usually weird monsters or ‘bad people’. I understand that when I play a video game, that is what I’m doing, just playing a game. It’s not real. The actions I see and do on a video game do not mean I can also do those things in my day to day life. I am incredibly aware of that. To then act out on what you see portrayed in the media is an example of a bad choice. I understand people believe the media should accept greater responsibility to what they expose people to, especially young, impressionable and vulnerable people but putting all the blame on the media, or video games isn’t really very fair.
If, in the future, I let my daughter play a video game that has an element of violence in and she then decides to act out on what she’s seen and commit acts of violence then I wouldn’t be blaming the video game, I would be blaming myself for not teaching her what is right from wrong correctly. As a parent you also have to take responsibility for the acts of your children, especially if they are becoming aggressive and violent. When they are young you can control how much violence they’re exposed to, and you teach them what is morally right and wrong behaviour, they also mimic their parents so if they’re raised in a violent environment they might think that behaviour is the right way to act.
I know there have been a lot of high profile murder cases which have at some point discussed what a child or person has witnessed and played and that that is the reason that they acted out but it’s just finding a scapegoat because we don’t like to hear and accept that some people are violent, and made the choice to do something violent. So many films, books and video games have been banned because they’re too violent or because they’ve been linked to crimes but I don’t really think that’s fair. As adults, we should know better and be able to control what we expose ourselves too and be able to make the right decisions in our lives, we control when we behave violently, when we lose our temper because we are the ones that make the decisions. As parents we have a responsibility to our children to filter what they are exposed to and gradually let them see more violent, threatening and even sexual behaviours that are portrayed so heavily in video games and movies. We also have a responsibility to explain what our children are exposed to so that they understand that certain acts are not normal, or are not what we expect of them.
People seem to feel very strongly about games such as Grand Theft Auto because of the amount of crimes you do as a character. Heavy violence and drug references and all sorts of other stuff but ultimately, it’s just a game. It’s a method of escape for some people and not because they want to be a violent drug lord that hits women but because it’s a game that’s very popular and pretty fun to play. As humans, we need to escape from reality sometimes, the same could be said about people that read all those child abuse stories…I can’t read them myself, they’re too emotionally straining but some people really enjoy them and not because they’re looking for tips on how to abuse children but because its a method of escaping. It really is as simple as that.
So no, video games shouldn’t be blamed for real life violence because there is so much more to it than that. People who make choices that lead to violent actions should be blamed for real life violence because they are the ones in control, they made the choice to be violent, and no matter what they’ve been exposed to, someone didn’t think to tell them that that violent behaviour wasn’t morally right
What do you think?