How Do Video Games Cause Violence?

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One would be hard-pressed to find a household without any video gaming devices. In fact, over eighty percent of American households some sort of gaming device. On top of all that, violent video games have surged in popularity, occupying over 50% of the 30 top video games sold in 2015 (Kain). In light of recent mass shootings, video games are routinely accused as the culprit that influences one to violence. Researchers all over the world have tried to establish a causal relationship between video games and violence. Some researchers have come to the conclusion that video games, specifically violent ones, spark aggression. However, other researchers have come up with the opposite conclusion, that the studies that portray video games as detrimental…show more content…
This debate is increasingly important in today’s society because of the recent gun control debates in response to recent mass shootings -- is it the guns that spark violence, an outside force, or nothing at all? Due to the desensitization that occurs, the encouragement and rewards that video games give, and simulation that triggers real-life behavior, video games cause violence.
Video games are at the root of some violent and aggressive behaviors because it causes desensitization to violence. When exposed to the sights, sounds, and smells of violence, humans tend to usually have negative reactions, reactions that serve as inhibitions to real-life violence and instigations of helping behaviors to victims of violence. Desensitization theory is defined as a reduction in an emotional and physiological response to real violence. A study conducted recently showed that just twenty minutes of playing a video can make people less aroused to violence. In this study, participants who played a violent video game had significantly lower heart rate and electrodermal activity
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Desensitization from video games creates a biological response that leads to a lack of empathy and more aggressive behaviors. Furthermore, violence in video games is rewarded, making one more likely to repeat the behavior in real life. Finally, video games allow people to take on roles, and along with one’s inability to separate reality from fantasy, people will take on these roles in real life, leading to many of the recent mass shootings. The debate on video games and violence will carry major significance over these coming years. Although violent video games will not necessarily be banned, there might be moves to educate parents about the dangers of violent video games so that their children can be monitored in the games they choose. However, the debate will not be completely solved. Video games are a multimillion dollar industry and the companies may pay psychologists to agree with their sentiments, prolonging the debate. Although video games are some of the most popular items in the world to own, one must take caution in purchasing them, especially violent

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