Video games making us violent; a myth blow out of proportion
The violence in our world has been on a constant rise since as far as we can recall, and the problem is being taken very seriously. We do not know if it is the aggressive weapons which, in the wrong hands, could destroy irreplaceable lives in mere seconds or if it is the violent content that we have been witnessing on our television screens.
Many people also attribute this characteristic to the frenzied lives and the frustrations that take root from it and the problems that are far outside our control. There is yet another issue that comes up to the spotlight when we discuss violent behavior in men and women of today and that subject is the role of video games in inducing such aggression. Many people believe that a link between the two is indisputably there. The truth however is quite the opposite, and here’s the proof. This paper will look into the facts and will aim to remove the myths that associate video games with violent behavior.
Researchers at the Oxford University, the University of Rochester as well as the company Immersive conducted the study. This study discovered that the violent behavior in individuals was not linked to the violence in the video games; rather, the frustrations arise from the failure to accomplish the goal of the video game. The co-author of the study, Richard Ryan rationalizes that when people get the idea that they have little or no control over a game, they are likely to become aggressive, and if a person’s competency is challenge, the aggression could rise to a treacherous level regardless of what game the person is playing. This means that a person who plays video games could react to not only violent games but also quite neutral ones. Therefore, the violent content of the video games has little to do with the violence those surfaces in a person after playing a video game. The verdict therefore is that video games do not make us violent.
Many studies link the violence in television programs to the hostility that arises into the personality of the spectator. The same comparison is drawn between the violence in people and video games but according to the researchers, the impact in case of video games is less profound because the violence that is displayed in these video games is in a more abstract form. This is because the players in these video games to a very great extent resemble comic book characters. According to a survey conducted among 346 7th and 8th-grade pupils from 7 different elementary schools, there was no noticeable link between time spent by children on video games and aggressive behavior. There was however, an adverse relationship between the time spent on video games and prosocial behavior among peers. The survey did however reveal a positive relationship between the time spent on video games and the child’s intelligence.
In addition, here lies yet another proof that the content of the video games is not responsible for violence in the players. For example, every person who has had experience with the popular game ‘Flappy bird’ understands the concept of becoming aggressive and frustrated when ‘stupid bird does not go through the pipes’. The game contains hardly any aggressive or sadistic content, but our failure to get the bird to pass through the pipes is what makes us mad. I have seen many people break and shatter their cell phones after reaching the peak of their frustration over the game.
After having discovered that there is no link between the content of video games and violence in the player, the question that becomes relevant is that; is there any link at all between playing video games and violence? Since the phenomena are so widespread and a subject of common belief; let us for a moment establish that there is after all a link between video games and violence.
Therefore, here lies another study that evaluates the relationship between aggression and video games. A range of tests carried out by different researchers tested the impact of a non-violent version of the game ‘Half-Life 2’. The game for the purpose of the study was modified to incorporate insurmountable controls, which stimulated in the players more belligerent reactions.
This article acknowledges a link between aggression and video games, but that link is too frail to be recognized. The study very clearly suggests that the hostility that may arise during the course of the video game is related to the person’s inability to play properly and to control the outcomes of the game. This connection however is not specific to video games rather we could very easily face the same reactions when dealing with any other circumstance or an event that is beyond our power to control. This aggression could very possibly become evident when riding a bike, or preparing for an exam or when dealing with any electronic equipment, where a person no matter how hard he/she tries, cannot control the outcome of the event.
With the debate gaining more and more momentum, people are turning to science for definite answers. However, the problem is that even science cannot answer the question with perfect certainty. To prove or disprove a claim scientifically is more or less a game of probability and statistics and the scientists in order to draw an answer to the theory require a large population of test subjects. There is however one obstacle that stands in their wake. Since the factor in question is the harm that exposure to video games could bring about in people, going ahead with a study would be an unethical act due to the possible exposure of people to an article that may or may not encourage violence. This is the reason why even science cannot satisfy us with a gratifying answer.
The science is however studying the subject in limited dimensions, but the only tool available to scientists is the comparison between the time allocated to video games and a change in a person’s behavior. Even then, the results remain inconclusive. It would however be foolish to deny the existence of any threat that we might come to face the excessive and prolonged exposure to video games. The phrase ‘Monkey sees, Monkey does’ fits well to the scenario. We should, therefore, not remain rigid to the idea that shooting and killing repeatedly in video games could lead us to develop a comfort to the idea. Also, since video games are interactive and involve the use of our conscious as well and subconscious mind, some thoughts may take permanent roots inside our mind if we keep on exposing ourselves to the violence in these video games.
The effect that video games might have on a person’s character may be long lasting depending upon the time spent playing the game. Where children spend little time playing video games, their frustrations over losing and not achieving the goals could evaporate in a matter of mere hours but prolonged exposed could be catastrophic. Even in this scenario, video games are not as much to blame as a person’s obsession over them. Moreover, obsession, no matter what form it might take, is likely to yield calamitous results.
The factor that is in play in most of the gamers who stick to the routine over long periods is addiction, and this is the factor that endangers us in most cases. No person may otherwise feel the need to keep on playing and going through a video game no matter how nice, save for if he/she finds something rewarding about the game. Some of the experiences that we go through in life are somewhat rewarding while others are just plain tiresome. The experiences that induce fun and satisfaction in our lives produce chemicals in our brains, which make that exercise more attractive to us, and we cling to the routine at every possible opportunity.
This is an experience that Clark ,in his book, describes as an addiction. This is why we see players who are committed to video games over elongated periods. Not all of these addicts show signs of violent behavior. This may be because they may not be exposed to just violent games, and their variety of video games may vary. The problem, therefore, may not be the video games themselves, but the factors that are involved when we are indulged in playing video games. One might become exposed at one or another point in one’s life without coming in contact with video games to these conditions.
Aggression may build up in a number of people in a verity of different scenarios and these people may or may not have any connection with video games. For example; a person who becomes violent because he/she was abused at some point in life may or may not have any connection with video games, but the problem would be originating from a different set of circumstances. It is therefore safe to conclude that there is no definite relationship between video games and violence and until it is proven otherwise, video game do not pose threat to our well-being any more than aggressive television shows do.
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