Violent Video Games, Violent People: Is Media Making Us Evil?

Sophomore+Angel+Jones+plays+Godzilla%2C+an+awesomely+violent+monster-fighting+video+game.+Does+this+game+and+others+like+it+have+a+negative+effect+on+teens%3F+
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Violent Video Games, Violent People: Is Media Making Us Evil?

Sophomore Angel Jones plays Godzilla, an awesomely violent monster-fighting video game. Does this game and others like it have a negative effect on teens?

Sophomore Angel Jones plays Godzilla, an awesomely violent monster-fighting video game. Does this game and others like it have a negative effect on teens?

Sophomore Angel Jones plays Godzilla, an awesomely violent monster-fighting video game. Does this game and others like it have a negative effect on teens?

Sophomore Angel Jones plays Godzilla, an awesomely violent monster-fighting video game. Does this game and others like it have a negative effect on teens?

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When you turn on your gaming console or TV, what do you go to first?

Although games such as Wii Golf are fascinating in their own right, you’re probably more attracted to the violent titles, like Fallout and Rainbow Six Siege.

Even for small children, it’s everywhere–according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, “Studies analyzing the content of popular cartoons noted that they contain 20 to 25 violent acts per hour, which is about six times as many as prime time programs…46 percent of television violence occurs in cartoons.”

Video games are also popular among younger children as well as teens and adults; “91% of kids aged 2-17 play games…comprising a group some 64 million children strong,” said an article by Techcrunch.

“When you’re a child, you soak up things like a sponge. So, you’re more susceptible for things around you and you look at other people or figures as role models…and [violence] will impact you a lot,” said junior Malaina Kennedy.

But teenagers are one of the largest demographics for gaming, and since “more than 90 percent of games rated E10+, Teen, or Mature have some kind of violent imagery,” according to Healthline, that means that youth are being exposed to a lot of virtual blood, weaponry, and downright evil.

“I play games four to five hours every day. [My favorite game is] Assassin’s Creed. It has a lot of blood and gore,” said sophomore Abeni Nelson.

Plus, after an Iowa State University study proclaimed undeniably that violent games make more aggressive, desensitized children, it’s no wonder that students are feeling those effects, too.

“I spend…10-15 hours a week on video games. All of them are violent in some way,” said sophomore Angelus Jones.

News outlets have jumped on the idea that video games, violent television, and other negative subjects in media have caused mental health issues, bullying, and even mass shootings.

Firstly, there are strong correlations between time spent playing games and issues with depression, anxiety, addictive gaming, and other issues, although this may be because teens with mental illnesses use video games as an escape, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Gaming has also been linked with bullying and other forms of school violence.

The most extreme accusation that has been pointed at video games, however, is that they’re responsible for mass shootings. Almost all school shooters in recent years have been isolated, mentally ill young men, a demographic known for its fascination with violent, stress-relieving games. So, obviously, video games are at fault.

“Your environment is a big factor in how you become yourself. If you’re exposed to violence, that’s the way you’re going to act,” said junior Jordan Worcester.

Or…not?

Although politicians, including President Donald Trump, have loved to point the finger at games for corrupting the youth (even Walmart joined in, banning violent game displays in their aisles–but continuing to sell guns in their store, because that makes sense), there’s very little evidence supporting games as a catalyst for violence.

In fact, according to Amplifier Magazine (a magazine dedicated to media psychology), “There’s little scientific evidence to support the connection [between video games and societal violence], and it may distract us from addressing those issues that we know contribute to real-world violence.”

Essentially, the facts indicate that there are few, if any, correlations between violence and video games outside of increased aggression.

What does that mean?

Well, it could be argued that you experience increased aggression when you don’t drink your coffee in the morning–but most people don’t go around slapping their peers when they haven’t had their caffeine boost for the day, do they?

Seeing bad things might have a negative influence on our psyches, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to begin screaming at the slightest disagreement. Even if we want to do whatever we want, we have to acknowledge that our actions have consequences, no matter what anyone says.

“I think it is easy to get caught up in what we see in the media every day and lose perspective…” said AP US Government and Politics teacher David Meisinger.

The point is, we can’t control what we experience–and oftentimes, we can’t control how our environments effect us. What we can control are our actions.

Video games, though they are a choice to play, follow the same principle. Playing Red Dead RedemptionCall of Duty, or even Fortnight might make us feel like punching a hole in the wall, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to or that we should be excused from owning up to our actions.

“Even if [you are] exposed to violence, it doesn’t [define] who you are as you grow up,” said junior Alora Villarrael.

Our ultimate and only responsibility as teens are our own actions, even if media is influencing us. We’re independent, autonomous people. Our fates are in our own hands, like the choices we make in those darn video games.

So choose wisely.

 

 

 

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