Op-Ed: Evidence suggesting video games cause violence is inconclusive

Calvin Lescher
Contributing Writer

The Entertainment Consumers Association organizes a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court prior to the Court’s hearing on California’s appeal and debate whether the states can restrict the sale of violent games to children and teenagers, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT/Tribune News Service

People play video games when they are bored and stuck at home. This brings back the question of if video games cause real life violence. There has been talk about how video games cause violence, since 1990, however that may not be the case.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also said video games are to blame. An article titled “Virtual Violence” talked about a test it conducted.

“Consider a typical laboratory study in which subjects are randomly assigned to play a violent or nonviolent video game. They are then assessed for their willingness to administer pain in the form of unpleasant sounds (eg, mixture of fingernails scratching on blackboards, dentist drills, blow horns, and fire alarms), at a decibel of their choice within the limits of a non-damaging range, to a person who, unbeknownst to the participants, is part of the research team,” the article said. 

The results were that the participants who played the more violent game let the sound go on for longer, however the key word in the quote is “non-damaging.” By the AAPs own definition this is not aggression. It states that aggression is any behavior intended to harm another person who does not want to be harmed. None of the sounds were capable of anything more than discomfort. 

Politicians also seem to blame video games for violence.

Several politicians say video games do cause violence such as U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy and President Donald Trump.

“This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately,” Trump said when talking about mass shootings. He doesn’t ever actually back up his claim with evidence.

When it comes down to it, there just isn’t enough evidence to support the claim that video games cause violence. There is a lot of correlation, but there isn’t enough causation. For instance many people who are a part of the shooting play video games, but so do adults that aren’t violent.


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