Video Games and Violence
“We are closed in, and the key is turned, on our uncertainty somewhere, a man is killed or a house is burned and yet there is no clear fact to be discerned.”
-William Butler Yeats, ‘Meditations in Time of Civil War’
In order to proceed to the second mission, GTA players must kill their opponents by stabbing or firing at them and for every dead opponent, there is an equivalent point. The developer of GTA rejected the argument because they do not believe that virtual violence leads to actual violence. Psychologists and media scholars are debating whether the video games violence can somehow make people violent and different studies showed different results. George Gerbner, a Hungarian media scholar, developed the Cultivation Analysis Theory. In his theory, Gerbner argues that long-term exposure of a person to severe acts of violence tends to have a more aggressive and violent nature. Originally, this theory explains the effects of watching violent programs on television, but nowadays, media scholars use this theory to explain video game violence. Indeed, video games are a very popular form of entertainment and its relation to violence remains unclear. Playing video games creates a positive aspect to those who are playing it. First, video games serve as a form of ‘stress-reducer’ to most people because it enables them to do the things they cannot do in the real life. In addition, video games exercise player’s rational thinking because in order to proceed to a new level, one must pass the entire mission. Missions are the series of tasks programmed on the video, and these tasks make them more competitive by mastering certain skills needed for one particular mission. ‘Rainbow Six’, a video, game created by Tom Clancy is one of the great games that require teamwork for all the players. The main storyline for this video is about the adventures of elite anti-terrorism soldiers aiming to defeat terrorist groups who attack the city. Rainbow Six series are set in different countries such as the United States, Russia and Australia. The game begins when the players attacks the enemy’s barracks either by dropping explosives or by landing using a rope tied from the helicopter to create a surprise attack. The game will then force the players to think ‘outside the box’ to create strategic battle formations. Moreover, playing video games sometimes has a positive cognitive aspect in terms interpersonal relationships. Mostly, friendship forms by playing these video games which preventing users in engaging into violent acts as well as from drug abuse. However, long term playing poses a great risk in one’s behavior and social interactions. There is a saying that, all good things when overused is also bad, and I highly believe on that statement. Players who prolong their gaming hours are more prone to addiction than those people who play within a certain period.
Gaming addiction occurs when a person does not put a limit on his video game usage that leads to players doing their ‘hangouts’ via computers. According to the Albert Einstein, technological innovations lessen human interactions. In his quote, he argued that:
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” (qtd. in Quoteinvestigator.com, 2013)
Video games consume our time do the meaningful things like, for example, as the video game becomes more and more complex, players will be challenged to obtain higher scores to get a rank. They will spend longer hours playing instead of going out to look for a job or to study for their lessons. Many students from college and high school fail to do their own assignments because they are highly engrossed in playing video games instead of studying. Teenagers nowadays prefer to stay at home and play rather than going outside to meet new friends or going to places. Furthermore, video game characters offer an extension of one’s personality the longer they play the game. The previous scenario written in this paper about a boy who shot his grandmother is only a matter of coincidence. Likewise, as I have said playing video games can both have positive and negative effects, but it does not necessarily mean that every time we play a video game like GTA we will become violent too. I strongly believe that violence occurs due to carelessness and not because by excessive playing of these violent games. The issue of the gun ban among the U.S. states must be followed accordingly that no gun owners should own guns if they are not capable of looking the weapons themselves. Another thing is that in order for a person to receive a gun permit, authorities must examine a person’s mental, emotional and to educate them about the risk of keeping a gun in their homes. Gun owners must keep their guns out of reach especially by children. Responsible gun owning should be imposed to lessen the statistics pertaining to violence.
Although there are studies created that shows the relation of violence to the video game mayhem, still it depends on the responsible parenting and gun owning. Violence exists everywhere, in the school, society and on the television itself. The news has gruesome videos and images regarding with violence and I personally believe that no matter how violent a situation can be; it depends on how a person will handle it. It is true that some of them will show aggressiveness and somehow rudeness but killing someone else just because they are playing video games is nothing but a matter of idiocy. Video games will remain as video games only, and we should not let these games overcome our personalities. All we have to do is control and remember the word ‘limit’. One can be productive in life by limiting the use of video games. Nonetheless, video games are just a graphical representation of the world, and there is no other way that it could merge into the reality.
Russell, L. (2013). Police: 8-year-old shoots, kills elderly caregiver after playing video game. [Online Video] Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/25/us/louisiana-boy-kills-grandmother [Access date: 07 March 2014]
Intervention Support. (2014). Gaming Addiction. [Online] Retrieved from: http://www.interventionsupport.com/gaming-addiction [Access date: 07 March 2014]
Quoteinvestigator.com. (2013). I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction | quote investigator. [online] Retrieved from: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/03/19/tech-surpass/ [Accessed: 7 Mar 2014].
Utwente.nl. (2014). Cultivation theory. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.utwente.nl/cw/theorieenoverzicht/Theory%20Clusters/Media,%20Culture%20and%20Society/Cultivation_Theory-1/ [Accessed: 7 Mar 2014].