Video Games: A Scapegoat for Youth Violence

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Americans have been blaming violent forms of entertainment since colonial times. From dime novels to music, to movies to television shows. The most recent medium are video games. Aided by crime-saturated news reports, a lot of people are convinced that video game violence transfers to real-life youth crimes like the school massacres. They think that violent video games make people violent, but that is not the case. Violent people play violent video games. Not everyone who plays video games are violent, but those who already are violent will play them as an outlet for their frustration and rage. If anything, video games keep violent people from going out and killing people in real life because they can vent in the virtual world.

People become violent because of a lot of different factors in life. The news media looks into those young people who massacred so many students and notice that they play video games and automatically claim that it was because of first person shooter (FPS) games or MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), that these kids snapped and woke up one day intent on killing. That is like saying that because these young people ate hamburgers and French fries that is what caused them to be violent. Or because they dressed like Goths, they turned violent. One does not have anything to do with the other. The news media fails to delve deeper and see other factors in their lives.

A study done by the Secret Service and the Department of Education to try and figure out the commonalities in school violence noticed that the most common trait shared was a history of suicide attempts and depression (Olson). That is not to say that every suicidal depressed student is going to become a mass murderer, but it...

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