Opinion: Don’t blame the games, blame society

Do video games cause violence? This is a debate that has been circling around since the creation of the video game industry. With the rise of video games in the 1980s, research began on its relationship to a rise in violence within consumers. At that time, video games were not as controversial as they are now.

With more realistic and intense themes, video games, such as “Call of Duty,” have been under more scrutiny. These games present a realistic experience of war, giving the player the role of a soldier. The rise in these types of games have prompted the wrath of political officials. These officials blame video games as the source of a rise in teen violence.

I do not agree. Although the rise of violent video games may be correlated to a rise in violence, that does not necessarily mean it is its causation.

While some research has been done on this topic, the results are too general to provide any solid evidence. Some children did express higher levels of violence during these tests. However, a 2010 study published in the “Review of General Psychology,” stated that the children most affected usually had predetermined personality traits that are more likely attributed to their rise in aggressiveness rather than the violent themes.

Lately, people have accused video games as being the catalysts for various school shootings. When researching the shooters, it was often found that they had played a violent video game within 24 hours of the shooting. However, this means absolutely nothing. It could be argued soda causes violence as it is very likely that the shooter had a soda within those 24 hours as well. In an article in “U.S. News & World Report,” it was reported that 97 percent of adolescents play video games; therefore, it is absurd to project a handful of violent acts onto the entire video game community.

While video games may display more violence nowadays than they might have 20 years ago, the blame does not simply fall on video games. A noticeable increase in violence has also been seen in TV shows and in movies. Even teen literature has seen a rise in dark themes.

In general, the amount of violence children experience comes from the collective nature of all of society. While a rise in violence may follow a rise in video game violence, it is the general violence seen in our culture that is at fault. It makes no sense that video games should be labeled as the direct cause of the violence in today’s teenagers. Perhaps society ought to take action in finding a better way of combatting violence, like gun control or proper help for the mentally unstable, rather than blaming its supposed causes.