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Video Games And violence Monday September 30, 2013

Video Games and Violence

Video games and violence: every now and then you hear a story linking them together, usually in some sensationalized rant about violent video games being behind the cause of tragic real-life events. Well, it needs to stop. There is absolutely NO connection, no matter what the mainstream media or popular opinion might suggest.

Following the tragedies in Aurora and Newtown last year, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper told CNN that the level of violence in media and video games could be a reason why assault weapons were used in those mass shootings. But he stopped short of saying those types of weapons should be banned. Wouldn't that have actually saved people's lives, rather than going after violent games?

California seems to get it: they just passed a bill banning new sales of semi-automatic rifles with removable magazines. But still, the video games lead to real-life violent behaviour argument persists, despite more and more scientific proof to the contrary. A recent study done at Stetson University in Florida revealed there was no evidence to suggest video games had a negative effect on the players' personalities. In fact, in many cases, the games had a positive effect, actually reducing aggressive tendencies.

Even the US Secret Service found no pattern when analyzing the profiles of the perpetrators of non-gang, non-drug related school shootings. Only one in eight showed any interest at all in violent video games. All this really shouldn't be a surprise: despite the increase in media coverage, violent crime rates have dropped dramatically in the US since the early 1990s. Violent video game sales, on the other hand, have exploded in the same period.

So to say there's a link between the two is completely contradictory. If anything, the huge increase in violent video game consumption means more and more players are being exposed to them with little to no negative effects. It's time for people to stop living in the past and face the facts: video games are a form of entertainment and don't turn people into homicidal maniacs.