I’m going to be honest with you.
Although I’ve spent a respectable amount of time taking turns on my brother’s playstation, I still have the skill set of a self-confessed noob. This hasn’t stopped the passion my brother and I share for video games. But the rest of my family (parents) are a little cautious to the whole idea. And they are not the only ones. When it comes to the whole “Do violent video games make children more violent?” debate the loudest voices in the room tends to be of those who are fiercely anti-gaming. I of course wanted to know a little more. So I did what anyone would do, I consulted Dr Google. An afternoon browsing the net later and I believe that we should all take a leaf out of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and… DON’T PANIC.
We need to calm down about video games.
1. This Isn’t The First Time We’ve Panicked Over Something New.
Swiss Scientist Conrad Gesner was one of the first to record his anxieties about the possible effects that media had on audiences. He believed that modern society was being overwhelmed by the amount of information we had access to. He thought that this was both “confusing and harmful”. Interestingly, Gesner lived and died during the 16th century. He was concerned about the negative effects of the printing press.
In the 18th century, the gothic novel was considered as a morally corruptive. Today we are sold the idea that televisions are making us fat.Violent video games are rumoured to make our children more aggressive.
It may seem ridiculous, but this fear of new media has continued throughout history.
2. Scientists Don’t Really Know What Is Up With Gaming.
As you may have guessed by now, I’m no expert. Yet my afternoon of research has led me to believe one thing.
No one has yet been able to prove that there is a substantial link between violent video games and violent behaviour but everyone has an opinion about it.
We have been debating the impact of all types of games since they became popular in the 1980s. So far the only conclusive answer that anyone can agree on is that video games can increase your visual acuity, decision-making, object tracking, and task switching skills.
We simply don’t know what playing violent video games does to us, or if it does anything at all. We also don’t know if there is any link between video games and violent crime. Sorry folks.
3. Are We Blaming The Tool For The Result?
When it comes to it, we have the tendency to place the blame on someone or something else. And that’s natural.
But when we ask questions like “Do violent video games cause violent behaviour?” or “Are video games making me fat?“, are we placing the blame on something else?
You’ve got to admit that video games by themselves, do not do much aside from gathering dust in their plastic containers. They are in the end only objects. This means that like a gun, without someone to pull the trigger they have no effect. It is ultimately how we use the tool that determines the result.
I think (although remember this is just another opinion) that we should ask some more realistic questions. Why are popular video games so violent? Do video games reflect the behaviours or attitudes of modern society?
I don’t know about you but I’m a little curious.