There is a common opinion that violent video games and aggressive behavior are connected. However, some researchers and public authorities challenge this opinion and argue that there is no relationship between violence and cruel video games (Przybylski and Netta 16). The dispute exists as there is evidence that violent video games may cause severe outcomes that are supported by the acts of violence recently committed by children and adolescents after playing video games. The purpose of this paper is to discuss violent behavior associated with video games, measures stakeholders undertake to resolve the issue, and the feasible outcomes of policies and actions done to handle the situation.
There are different views on the connection between violent video games and aggressive behavior. Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that video games may influence violent behavior; however, “these effects are almost always quite small” (Mathur and VanderWeele 708). Furthermore, Gunter claims that observing violence played out on a screen leads to the loss of empathy for victims of violence, “combining with a greater acceptance of violence” (4). Those arguments are often circulated after violent events such as mass shootings as the media and society focus on what might have caused an individual to act that way. This discussion might mention video games as a factor that triggered violence. Thus, considering the possibility that there is a causal relationship between violence and video games, it is necessary to discuss measures to be undertaken to prevent aggressive behavior that might arise.
The American Psychological Association (APA) has recently published a resolution on violent video games that states the necessity to implement education strategies for young people that raise awareness of the effects video games may cause. Moreover, the APA impels the authorities and producers to decrease the level of violence and reflect on the possible rating to ensure young children will have no access to aggressive entertainment (Calvert et al. 126). Researchers also suggest putting an emphasis on encouraging manufacturers to produce “games for health” for children and adults (Kowert and Quandt 49). Other potential measures also include putting tax obligations on violent video games, restricting Internet usage for children, and other actions that are not analyzed yet.
There might be adverse outcomes if the authorities and the public will not pay attention to the situation and will not adjust policies regarding violent video game regulation. People may observe a rise in the homicide rates across regions, and parents may find the increase in children’s aggressiveness or the appearance of psychopathic traits. Disinhibition, loss of attention, and other adverse effects may also emerge. As mentioned previously, people who play violent video games may lose empathy and accept cruelty as a normal practice (Gunter 4). On the other hand, if proper solutions and policies would be undertaken, the public may observe a decrease in violent acts in the future.
To conclude, it is assumed that the dispute among researchers, the public, and authorities on the question of the relationship between violent video games and aggressive behavior may not have a universal answer. Violent video games may cause various adverse effects on people. However, it is not proved yet that a cruel video game is a major factor affecting the ruthless behavior of people. As the public is not sure whether there might be other triggers of violent behavior or not, the best strategy might be the prevention of violent acts rather than the reaction to them. Thus, society needs to undertake measures such as educating children, introducing a tax on video games, or reviewing the rating system for games to protect people from cruelty and violence they do not deserve.
Calvert, Sandra L., et al. “The American Psychological Association Task Force Assessment of Violent Video Games: Science in the Service of Public Interest.” American Psychologist, vol. 72, no. 2, 2017, pp. 126-143.
Gunter, Barrie. Does Playing Video Games Make Players More Violent? Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
Kowert, Rachel, and Quandt Thorsten, editors. The Video Game Debate: Unravelling the Physical, Social, and Psychological Effects of Video Games. Routledge, 2015.
Mathur, Maya B., and Tyler J. VanderWeele. “Finding Common Ground in Meta-Analysis “Wars” on Violent Video Games.” Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 14, no. 4, 2019, pp. 705-708.
Przybylski, Andrew K., and Weinstein Netta. “Violent Video Game Engagement Is not Associated with Adolescents’ Aggressive Behaviour: Evidence from a Registered Report.” Royal Society Open Science, vol. 6, no. 2, 2019, pp. 1-16.