So I did a little research on the link between video games and violent behavior for a school project a little while ago and I think it'd be a bit of a waste not to share my thoughts on it.
T.V shows and movies have become increasingly violent as technology continues to advance and special effects become more and more realistic. Audiences are constantly on the edge of their seats as the violence ramps up in these media. When it comes to video games, however, the audience is much stricter; even moderate violence in video games these days sparks some controversy. It would make sense that an audience that accepts the level of gruesome and often times gross violence in film, would accept the not nearly graphic violent activities in video games, but this is not the case.
There are a number of examples of violent video games and majority of them have come under some sort of fire. The Grand Theft Auto series has perhaps become the most controversial in recent years as it is of the most violent video game series to date. Grand Theft Auto is by no means a game for the underage or the soft of heart. It allows players to commit some pretty extreme acts of violence for no reason at all and it plays heavily around gang violence. In fact there have been a lot of research over the years to link video game violence to violent behavior. Zoe Kleinman wrote an article for BBC which talks about the research of the American Psychological Association whom reviewed various researches conducted between 2003 and 2013.
All forms of media (film and video games) have one their own rating system that dictate who can view or play a particular film and game, and to that end it is the responsibility of the person purchasing the media to be informed as to what they are getting into either for themselves or for whomever it is they're buying it for. More often than not it is parents that are foaming at the mouth about the violence in video games after blindly going out and buying whatever their child wants. Parents need to know what it is that they are buying their children or they have no one to blame but themselves when they began complaining that their child is turning into some sort of hooligan-which can probably be attributed more to their own parenting than some fictional video game.
In an article written by Brad J. Bushman, “The effects of violent video games. Do they affect our behavior?” He offers his thoughts on certain research that would seem to suggest that video games lead to violent or anti-social behavior. However he also offers counter claims to such evidence saying that “It is difficult to know the direct cause of the assault. Was it playing violent video games for hours on end, or was it something else?” basically saying that while violent video games may be a risk factor that it is difficult to say if it was the direct cause for the behavior being observed.
Greg Toppo also weighed in on the discussion in his article, “Do Video Games inspire Violent Behavior?” In his article he talks about the origins of the claims themselves and how recent horrible acts of violence such as the Sandy Hook incident sparked a lot of high emotions, and some aimed their emotions at video games. In a section titled “In Brief” he states that “Research has failed to show a casual relation between playing violent games and perpetrating violent acts”. There is truly no concrete evidence for anyone to assume that violence in video games is worse than violence in movies or T.V. It is also worth noting that majority of research that may suggest that video games lead to violent behavior have been discredited by academic peers for stacking the odds or using methods which could not fully substantiate the validity of it's own results.
Kleinman, Zoe, “Do video games make people violent?” BBC News (2015). Web.
Toppo, Greg, “Do video games inspire violent behavior?” Web. (2015)
Burshman J. Brad, “The effects of violence video games. Do they effect our behavior?” Web. (2014)