“On 24 February 2013, it was reported that a New Zealand gamer had been charged with the murder of his cyber rival after losing a battle against him in an online fantasy world game.” This is just one example of someone taking their actions too far over video games, there have been many instances of violence throughout recent history that suggest the videogames played today teach children and adults alike violent habits. Many believe that video games are the sole root of violent outburst in society today no matter how connected the incident may be connected to them: however, there are many who have come to the defense of video games suggesting they are only the scapegoat and the violent tendencies are already there.
Jack Flanagan and Andrew Leonard wrote articles with opposing opinions on the subject matter, Flanagan believes videogames are immersive and influential, having effects both good and bad, depending on the game, upon the user which can create poor decisions and anger as seen throughout society today. Leonard takes the opposing view, games such as “Minecraft” or “angry birds” don’t make people go out and mine or throw birds at object, showing media blames video games for evil but never tries to look at the good, such as the connection two gamers can make over their passion of gaming.
Video games are a culture that has formed and expended in only the last couple decades. Video games can be a way of life for people and most agree playing them can change a person’s way of thinking, and the way their brain processes everyday life. Both Leonard and Flanagan agree in their articles this is true with video game culture, violent video games change the way the player perceives violence in real life scenarios.
Flanagan shows a study in his article about the use of an fMRI machine (it stands for functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) used to study which part of the brain blood is flowing to, the study was performed on gamers who play specific game genres” They found that the gamers—who all play Counter-Strike, a Call of Duty-type war game—responded less to images of real violence than non-gamers. Images of accidents and disfigured faces did not trigger the same neuro-chemical reactions as for other people.” This study shows how exposure to violence in video games creates the player to have less empathy to those in pain, Flanagan points this toward having more violent tendencies as the thought of hurting another is diminished through the use of violent video games.
Leonards article does not disagree with the argument that video games can have an effect on the human psyche “Solitary play, hacking, and slashing, mowing down opponents in a rage of slaughter, just didn’t seem physically or mentally healthy.” “A billion dollars was just spent in three days on a game whose structure encourages random violence and brutality. That can’t be good.” Showing the thought of free roam world where murder, violence, and brutality such as Grand theft Auto V, can have an effect on the player. Leonard however disagrees video games are behind the violence in the real world it always gets blamed for, the lack of empathy toward violence does not necessarily point toward violent outburst themselves.
Leonard writes about the bad reputation video games get due to the studies limiting their research to just “call of duty” or “Grand theft auto” type genres” Reducing the state of gaming culture to ‘Grand Theft Auto V,’ would be like choosing one book, or one movie, to define the state of literature or film.” Many of the studies show the results of children and adults who play those genres for hours or even days on end, focusing the study on just those players will inherently lead to bad results from a study on them. Flanagan disagrees, his article points to a lack of empathy these games can cause, with his article using a study on BIS.
The study shows as a gamer spends more time playing violent video games their reaction to sad or violent images are diminished “They found that the part of the brain associated with empathy, the lateral prefrontal cortex, are used less in experienced gamers.” The study suggests this is a trait used in the military as to diminish the soldier’s reactions to the brutality all around them to continue fighting, raising the question what is the effect on the children at home playing these same games? Flanagan also suggest being subject to anything too much could cause lack of empathy toward that subject “A lot of people began to lose touch with the image of starving children in NSPCCC adverts—which doesn’t make them monsters, they’ve just seen the image a few times before.” Agreeing with the point Leonard makes, that video games may not be completely to blame.
- Crump,E ” Turn That Game Back On: Video Games, Violence and the Myth of Injury to the Public Good.” Te Mata Koi: Auckland University Law Review. 1 January 2017 Web.
- 2 February 2019
- Flanagan, Jack. ‘Violent Video Games Promote Antisocial Behaviors.’ Violent Video Games, edited by Roman Espejo, GreenhavenPress, 2015. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints In Context.
- Leonard, Andrew. ‘Video Game Culture Does Not Promote Antisocial Behaviors.’ Violent Video Games, edited by Roman Espejo,Greenhaven Press, 2015. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints In Context.