All over the media, you may have heard the statement, ‘Video games cause violence.' There are claims of video games causing aggression in students and other children. However, on the opposite side, many gamers say that video games are not the cause of violence.
Let’s explore different facts and statistics to see how video games may not be the factor causing real-world violence.
On this side of the argument, gamers say that video games are not the cause of violence in America, despite the media portraying this narrative. Matthew Patrick, the host of the YouTube channel The Game Theorists, displays some interesting facts in his video Do Video Games Cause Violence? (a video which is definitely worth a watch if you want to delve deeper into this topic). In his video, he makes many interesting and relevant points to this discussion. One of which is the fact that, based on the statistics, at the times when video games with main themes of violence are the most popular, the stats show that crime is lower throughout the United States. This even applies to youth-specific crimes, where video games would presumably impact the most. Crime is not getting worse throughout the United States; in fact, they are getting better.
However, Patrick does point out that gun violence is on the rise in America. But, this does not mean that gun violence and video game violence are related. When taking a look at mass shooters specifically, some of these shooters did claim to use video games as a way to fuel themselves to carry out these attacks. However, just because some of the shooters played violent video games does not mean all of them did. In fact, according to the Secret Service in 2002, only 12% of school shooters expressed interest in violent video games. You cannot say that because some shooters that commit these crimes play violent video games, all violent video games should be to blame. As Matthew Patrick says: “It appears as though opponents to video games are mixing correlation with causation.” Many of these mass shooters have some of the same characteristics, but that does not mean all of them do. It also does not mean that the video games themselves are to blame.
An article published in Psychology Today, called Blame Game: Violent Video Games Do Not Cause Violence, talks about how the frustration of video games can cause outbursts of emotion. However, these outbursts can be caused from many different games, even when they are not violent. Games like Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy and Cuphead can be frustrating and difficult, but they are not outright violent games. There is not any blood or gore, however, they can be just as likely to cause an emotional outburst.
The Secret Service also reported that only 14% of the mass shooters they studied had an interest in video games, while the rest did not. With such a low percentage, it would be very hard to argue that video games are the sole reason why mass shooters are so prevalent in the United States.
After reading this article about video games and several different studies, I highly encourage you to do your own research into video games from both perspectives to form your own opinion of these conflicting ideas.