No, they don’t make people mass murderers – video games are actually turning millennials into navigational and spatial masterminds.
It is the industry of today. Almost everybody has played video games, and they influence players in different ways. Does playing violent video games increase one’s chance of becoming violent in real life? Scholars have been studying this issue for quite some time. People started paying attention to video games and the brain when violent games, such as the Grand Theft Auto series, have been suspected to inspire violence and murder.
Video games are not the reason that people turn to violence. Instead, they improve brain functions and encourage critical thinking. They are the reason that millennials know how to navigate though dungeons and mazes without a compass.
Critics always insist that there is a direct link between violent games and shootings. If that were the case, we would have billions of active shooters in our country. Too many people play video games for us to generalize games as the catalyst for violent outbreaks. Often times, critics of violent games haven’t even played the game that he or she is criticizing, which makes a biased argument.
People who link video games to in real life violence have been falling back on the same deductive argument: the subject who shot and killed people also played FPS (first person shooter) games every day. Therefore, people who play FPS games become murderers. This age-old argument has countless flaws.
The numbers don’t add up. About 18 million people bought copies of the infamous Grand Theft Auto V by the end of March in 2014. Would humans still exist if that many people picked up guns and started going to town?
Players play games to escape reality and participate in virtual worlds. They can appropriately distinguish between fantasy and real life. If someone believes he or she can plow through pedestrians while driving, perhaps mental illness should be considered as a decision-making factor.
There also haven’t been any studies released that prove that violent video games directly result in violence. However, studies have proven countless times that video games train players to navigate through new environments and to construct maps in their minds. Gamers tend to outperform non-gamers in these areas of cognitive function.
The video game industry is a $70 billion industry. In the US, violent crimes have been decreasing while video game sales have been increasing. More people would rather sit at home and virtually commit crimes than actually go out and carry out the same actions.
The opposition says that it’s no surprise that several famous mass murderers were also addicted to violent video games. They argue that people who play violent video games habitually tend to become violent in real life, pointing fingers at the games. What about family upbringing? Mental health? There are so many other factors that they are leaving out on purpose. Critics try to use games as an argument, when really, it is impossible to pinpoint what drives a murderer.
Since I can remember, I have always played video games. My mom was very protective of what I played when I was young, and she shielded me from any adult-oriented or violent games. I used to always go over to my neighbors house when I was in elementary and middle school to play video games with my friend because his parents bought him any game he wanted.
We used to play so many violent video games, and it opened my eyes to how fun it is to be a (virtual) criminal… at age 10. Fast forward to now, I still play games like Grand Theft Auto, and thanks to my upbringing and mental health, I have never had the desire to go out and kill someone. I know the difference between reality and fantasy.
Some people’s brains think differently. They might not understand that actions come with consequences, and that it is not ethically moral to hurt people in real life. It is sad to think that these people suffer from such mental noise to the point where they actually go out and kill people.
Video games are not catalysts for terror. They provide people with the opportunity to explore fantasy worlds and do things that they can’t enjoy in real life. Games don’t create murderers; killers come from all backgrounds and are influenced by many factors. Let’s celebrate games for helping people improve their navigational and critical thinking skills. In a time where violence is the norm, the world could use a little more slack for playing video games.