“Blaming Pop Culture for Gun Violence Is Just a Distraction.” That’s the title Geeta Dayal chose for her article treating the widespread issue of violence in videogames and its effect on players behaviors.
Dayal argues how videogames cannot take the blame for people’s violent outbursts, after all, they are just a successful form of entertainment that exists since decades. She also states that not all players, counted for millions, who play violent videogames such as Call of Duty, or watch movies like Batman, become mass murderers or serial killers. To the defense of her point, she reminds us that “cultural artifacts are not chemical agents like carcinogens,” and we, human beings, are not “deterministic systems” who, for an input, “spit out” the same output. I agree. We do possess awareness, this fantastic and complicated state of mind that distinguish us from other livings and computers.
But this awareness is not change-proof.
Ever since Columbine massacre in April 20, 1999, studies have been conducted to determine video gaming and violent media effect on teenagers and young adults. Both killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were inclined to violent videogames, movies and music. Still, their entertainment choices could not be linked to their horrific action, and the years that follow will witness a significant increase in violent videogames consumption. In 2009, Dr. Craig A. Anderson, director of the center for the study of violence at Iowa State University, led a scientific experiment with other prominent researchers, on 3,034 boys and girls of different age and academic grades in Singapore. They were divided into groups: long term gamers, those who played only few hours a week and those who never play. The experiment lasted for two years, and Dr. Anderson and his colleagues were periodically asking the children and the students standard questions designed to measure their aggressive behaviors and attitudes toward violence.
The results confirmed many points: getting older, children who played few to no hours of violent videogames tend to act less aggressively, as they learn new ways to channel their frustrations and manage their anger. Those who played longer hours revealed a more hostile and violent...