Do Video Games Really Cause Violence?


Cameron Lamb

On February 22nd, 2018,  Donald Trump, the president of the United States said, “I’m hearing more and more people saying the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts” when talking about a recent school shooting. That’s right- the age old “video games cause violence” argument. Are they really to blame though? With more and more parents buying their kids Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto 5, it may seem that way, with the players being rewarded for each kill. I can say first hand, though, that killing your friend in Fortnite doesn’t mean you want to kill your friend in real life and does not cause anything like shootings.

This myth has been around since the Columbine school shooting when the shooters claimed they practiced their killings in the original Doom, a popular game. Are video games really to blame here? Well no, of course not, when you look back on the events that unfolded, as those two shooters had become hardcore Neo-Nazis and made weapons themselves. The game was just a tool for them to plan the shooting, not the inspiration itself.

The misconception is that video games cause violence and kids can just buy the new Fallout whenever they want. This is a huge myth as major video game sellers like Target, Walmart, and GameStop require IDs to show that buyers are over 18 in order to buy a Mature rated game. Although violence can be in E-T games, it is labeled as “fantasy violence,” and doesn’t have any blood or bruises.

If violent video games are kept out of the hands of minors by retailers, how can kids still be found playing Battlefield 1 and not Minecraft? The problems are the parents buying them for their kids, being oblivious of the M label or not caring for the child. So the kids are having fun driving around the fictional city in GTA Los Santos and this is when the parent should yank the game out of the system, but they don’t.

Video games are a nice distraction for children, so the parents can get some away time from the kids and they won’t notice when the kid is using gang slang, cussing out the “pigs” and such. Then when the kid asks for an AR-15 for Christmas, it isn’t the video games fault- it’s the parents’ fault for not monitoring their children appropriately and buying them the worst game a kid could get.

If you won’t take my word for it, there was a study done by CBS about the relationship between video games and violence. The study found that 80% of school shooters had no interest at all in video games. They claim that “the problem is just the science, the data, does not back up that they actually have an effort.”

So do video games cause violence? No, they do not. They act as an escape from reality and a stress relief like a movie and not a mission for a school shooting. After a long day of work, nothing beats getting on The Legend of Zelda and beating Gannon! They even make your reflexes better and faster! With the quick reactions required in games, these skills are honed to a tee. So the myth has been debunked as video games have more positive outcomes than negative.