Although violent video games are thought to encourage real world violence, they actually help to prevent it. I am focusing on violent video games and how they affect juveniles because I feel that this issue needs to be looked at in the criminal justice community. It is an unnecessary distraction to blame the actions of a disturbed youth on a form of entertainment that has been used by millions of people without incident. A review article published in The Psychiatric Quarterly found that many studies which claim to indicate an increase in aggression due to video games are, in fact, biased! Once the bias is taken into account, the studies no longer find any correlation between youths who play violent video games and youths who demonstate aggression and violent behavior. (Ferguson, 2014)
There are those who believe that playing video games that are violent cause a reduction in brain response to real life violence. This is because the violent game affects a part of the brain hypothesized to cause desensitization. It is then thought that this “desensitization” to violence predicts that those who play these games will become violent themselves later. (Bartholow, Bushman, Sestir, 2006) This is a blanket assumption based on an affect seen on a part of the brain that is not yet proven to control “desensitization.” Admittedly I am not a scientist, but I find it difficult to make the leap from “proven desensitization” to predicted future violence.
The debate about media violence has been going on for hundreds of years. The newest form of media being scrutinized is videogames. I will be taking you through this debate and sharing with you some things that you may find surprising. This is not a new topic and has been looked at by many experts. Lawrence Kutner, PhD and Cheryl Olson, ScD are two of the most elite experts in this field and are the directors and cofounders of the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media. In their research of violent videogames and the effect on children, they have found that “the simplistic belief that exposure to media violence will lead directly to individual violence is clearly wrong.” (Kutner, Olsen, 2008) I am going to ask you to look deeper than this. I assert that although violent video games are thought to encourage real world violence, they actually help to prevent it.
Level 1: What Games Can Do For You
Video game violence does not cause youth violence and in fact may help to curb this violence. Violent video games have never been proven to cause youth violence. One of the most looked at franchises in video game history is Grand Theft Auto (GTA). However, since GTA hit the scene in a big way in 2001, youth violent crime has actually decreased! (Snyder, Sickmund, 2006)
By 2003 the GTA franchise had already sold 22 million copies worldwide since the release of GTA III in 2001. (Take-Two Interactive, 2004) GTA games have violence, prostitution, and offensive language. I...