2. Video Games Encourage Violent Behavior
We have already seen (above) that playing violent video games can affect the players’ attitude towards women and the most vulnerable in society. We know that it desensitizes people to the impact of aggression and violence and that it causes a reduction in the ability to feel empathy. The cumulative effect of all of this is to cause an increase in the likelihood that someone who plays violent video games is more likely to exhibit violent behavior in real life and that behavior is likely to be a level of magnitude greater than if they had not played the games.
The reason for this is not only because video games are a realistic and immersive world but because they are a world that rewards an increase in violence on the part of the player. In essence the more violent someone is in the game the more likely they are to be rewarded with higher spec weapons, with a move to a new level and so on. Frighteningly a study of 81 video games marketed for teenagers showed that 90% delivered high level rewards for violence towards others in the game scenario. What is of greatest concern is that the players of such games showed a much higher level of aggression in real life than those who played a version of the game that did not contain any violence at all or punished violence when it occurred.
1. Violent Video Games Allow Children To Be More Effective When Engaged in Violent Behavior
We have already seen (see above) that playing video games is an immersive, interactive environment. This means that when players are asked to complete a violent action (it might be something as ‘simple’ as a basic shooting or stabbing but it could also include more complex tasks such as fighting with a chainsaw) they are in effect learning to complete these actions. Game controllers have come a long way since the basic joystick and controls are now very sophisticated which allows the entire experience to be chillingly realistic. This is a true worry as recent research has shown that the more realistic the controller the greater the effect on the level of aggression inculcated by the game experience.
This effect is not just hypothetical, it has already been seen in the real world in horrifying cases such as the Norwegian mass murder (see above) and in one chilling instance the perpetrators of one shooting in Tennessee claimed that they were inspired by their experiences when playing Grand Theft Auto. Studies have also shown that those responsible for shootings were more likely to be an accurate shot and to aim for the head if they had played a first person shooter style violent video game with a gun style controller.
We do not deny that video games can be a fun and worthwhile activity but we absolutely do not believe that violence has a place in those games. We do not argue against games of strategy but against first person shooter style games such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and the like. These games immerse players in a variety of violent scenarios which provide them with the opportunity to use and train on a wide variety of weapons and engage in some appallingly violent activity.
If this behavior remained on the computer we might find it distasteful but have no reason to ban it but the sad truth is that the violence cannot be contained. Players become so desensitized to violence that they lose their boundaries and inhibitions in real life, they start to see threats where they would not otherwise have done and escalate their response to such incidents to the extent that aggression becomes their default setting. Those in favor of video games like to claim that there is no causal relationship between violence and playing games but the facts as set out in this article say otherwise. It is indisputable that the American Army uses games to train their troops to kill. It is indisputable that mass shooters have used such games to train themselves before their rampages, that they have been inspired to do what they did by playing games and that the FBI takes the causal link so seriously that they believe a threat of violence is more credible when made by a person with a history of playing violent games.
These games have no place in the ordinary home.