Video games. The source of joy, fun, and in some cases money. But video games are also the centre of many controversial opinions. Do they cause violence? Today we will be delving into the truth of whether video games are harmful.
First, it depends on what type of video games you are playing. If you’re playing a calm and gentle building game, such as Minecraft, there would be a different mental effect if you were playing something violent and gory, such as a horror game. The second thing is your mindset when approaching the game. Do you play it like your life is on the line, or is it a relaxing thing for you? If someone played games like they were a World Cup match, this would then lead to stress and anxiety as they are always approaching the game very seriously. Stress can then lead to other problems, like illnesses, but could also be a factor in potential violence.
Leading psychiatrist and university professor Dr David Atkinson suggests several reasons as to why children are led to the dark path. One may be that children begin to think that such games are true stories; another may be that games lead to addiction. ADHD symptoms often arise when a child is in an addicted state, but there is no definitive proof that games have such an effect.
Dr Atkinson’s colleague, Dr Smith believes that children are influenced by video games due to depression, anxiety or stress. Some parents are quick to judge and blame their children’s social disorder to online games, but they don’t realise that they may be further triggering this illness by influencing their child into further stress and anxiety.
Justice Antonio Scalia, who wrote for the 2011 Supreme Court decision, said: “They show at best some correlation between exposure to violent entertainment and minuscule real-world effects, such as children feeling more aggressive or making louder noises in the few minutes after playing a violent game than after playing a nonviolent game.”
So to conclude, for the majority of people, video games can have small effects on violence, such as being more boisterous or aggressive, but there is no large impact. For some people who are stressed or depressed, the effects of video games can have a further impact. Younger children may also realise that the game is not real, which can then lead to them copying the game as they do not realise the real-world impact that was nonexistent in the game.
But as technology advances with virtual reality and 3D gaming, will this change? Will the immersive experience of 3D simulations change how the brain interprets video games, and could they then lead to violence?