“AHHHHH, I hate you! Why don’t you get out! You suck! No mom I’ll do my homework later!” Many people around the world believe all gamers are like this: violent and lazy. People such as parents, teachers, and the media tend to generalize gamers as a whole aggressive group just because of the few mass shootings that happened in America who the gunmen were gamers. However, out of all the millions of young people in America who play day and night violent or non-violent video games, gamers don’t have this type of mindset.
Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, there has been an increase in mass shootings in schools and for that reason, there have been many debates between politicians and the American people about whether to ban video games at all cost or not. Instead of politicians and the other American people blaming video games which is a very minimal cause, they should try to maybe enforce laws on guns, the many crimes that are happening like in Chicago or in some dangerous third world countries where young men as well don’t have the money to play video games.
Also, video games help the ones who are mentally unstable who feel like expressing their feelings through violent acts. However, for many gamers, they release all their emotions on video games. Escaping reality for a couple of hours then rather do something illegally violent, is a better choice. In fact, video games today have online gaming where video games give the opportunity for the individual to socialize with their friends that they play with or get to know other gamers across the world. Although video games tend to have a bad image, there are several benefits of playing video games.
Video games are known to improve, cognition, decrease crimes, and help create socialization. Some argue that video games cause children not to learn, and there are no benefits to playing video games. However, In the article, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy by James Paul Gee a professor, he points out that students could learn learning principles. “for example, in teaching science in schools. In fact, the learning principles that good games incorporate are all strongly supported by contemporary research in cognitive science- the science that studies human thinking and learning through laboratory research, studies of the brain, and research at actual learning sites like classrooms and workplaces” (Gee).
A scientific study found that games provide critical thinking skills for many children. As an example of a video game like Call of Duty a first-person shooting game where your objective is not just to kill, but to win with your team. You have to think about where you want to be to not get shot, how many more points you need to call in a helicopter for support, etc. Gee argues games allow players to be producers and not just consumers. Players can receive creativity and knowledge as to where in school they mainly just consume and not produce these tools.
A game Gee uses is called Rise of Nations where players can make the choices on what to build, how to build with real tools and use calculations how big they want their design. Clearly, video games provide many critical and creative thinking skills to the individual who plays video games. Video Games are a challenging but do-able and a pleasant frustrating feeling as Gee mentions. Gee argues, “Since games are often challenging, but do-able, they are often also pleasantly frustrating, which is a very motivating state for human beings. To achieve this, good games allow players to customize the game to their own levels of ability and styles of learning” (Gee).
As the game gets easier for the child, they can level up the difficulty and learn at their own pace. In real life, this teaches children to not be satisfied with what they’ve achieved of their goals, but to go for more and be more driven for accomplishing achievements. Briefly, children can benefit from video games by improving their mindsets of achieving goals or learning new ways to think. Not only can young people build critical thinking through video games, but also games can help them cope with their stress levels.
In the article, Do Video Games Cause Violent Behavior by Learning Liftoff states that kids these days have a different structured life than what their parents have had back then. Liftoff states, ‘Constance Steinkuehler, a professor at UC Irvine and the Higher Education Video Game Alliance president, says that the structure of children’s lives today is very different than it would have been a few decades ago. Many kids live heavily structured lives and can feel stress; video games let them engage in leisure to reduce stress” (Liftoff). Nowadays the rise of mental health issues on young adults as stated by the Mental Health America group where they point out “Rate of youth experiencing a mental health condition continues to rise.
The rate of youth with Major Depressive Episode (MDE) increased from 11.93% to 12.63%” (MHA). Many of them prefer to play video games to get over an emotional day. Every parent would prefer their children to play games rather than to go out smoke or do criminal activities where they can easily let out that feeling. In countries like Japan and South Korea, video games are highly played and their crime rates are lower than most of the third world countries and the U.S.
In the article, Countries That Play More Violent Video Games Such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty have FEWER murder by Harry Petit presents two psychologists named Dr Patrick Markey and Dr Christopher Ferguson who defend popular games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. In this article, Dr. Markey and Dr. Ferguson present a bar graph of the highest sales of violent video games used from the WorldDataAtlas. The top 3 were Japan. South Korea and the U.S. On the other hand, these three countries were nowhere near the 3 highest crime according to WorldDataAtlas.
Both psychologists argue that the increases in sales of video games are associated with a decrease in crime. Many gamers spend their time and lose their emotions onto a video game. The countries like Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Yemen are countries where crime is extremely high according to the government organization, Washington-based Intel Center, but video games are not to blame. Video games are not even heard of because of the serious situations the people in these countries are facing in which, are far more needed to solve.
Dr. Markey writes, “No one would ever suggest that the violence in these countries is due to Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty because we recognize that it can be traced back to political instability, religious and militant extremism, ongoing wars, famine, and corrupt governments” (Markey). The U.S government should look into their own serious problems that provoke major catastrophe like mass shootings in public property. Mass shootings have been occurring lately in the U.S, and it is being a huge problem for the sake of the people especially in schools. Some of the shooters like the one in Sandy Hook and Columbine have been linked with them playing video games and have an obsession over the video games.
However, with the Columbine and Sandy Hook shooters playing video games does not associate with all other young men who also play video games. According to an entertainment database, 2018 Sales, Demographic and Usage Data by Entertainment Software Association, “more than 150 million gamers play and 72% of them are 18 or older and 33% of them are under 18” (E.S.A). Out of the 150 million people who play video games of all sorts like in gaming consoles, PC’s, or smartphones, no one can generalize that all gamers are violent or create a bad image onto the gaming community. If all gamers were violent, then this country would be chaotic. The mass shootings should be solved by other means such as strict laws on guns, adults with guns being more responsible with their firearms, or better background checks.
The mass shooters in Columbine and Sandy Hook got their guns from home or a peer according to the document, The Origins of Firearms Used in School Shootings in the United States by American Psychologist Peter Langman. Video games are scapegoated for mass shootings. Even the Supreme Court has recognized that video games don’t lead to violence. In 2005, a law from California was appealed by the Supreme court because there wasn’t enough evidence that violent video games cause bad behavior onto a child.
The law from California banned all sales of violent video games onto a minor unless seen by a parent (PROCON). In the slip opinion from the court case from the Supreme Court, BROWN, GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL. v. ENTERTAINMENT MERCHANTS ASSOCIATION ET AL, juror Antonin Scalia states ‘… they do not prove that violent video games cause minors to act aggressively’ (Scalia). Scalia wasn’t persuaded enough from the plaintiff that video games do any harm to a minor’s behavior. Therefore, it’s not only gamers who believe video games make people violent but the Supreme Court like Antonin Scalia’s statement agrees with gamers.
In addition, the rate of young people being imprisoned for violent crimes has been decreasing over the years in the U.S. According to government stats of youth imprisonment, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency the department states “The juvenile arrest rate for all offenses reached its highest level in the last two decades in 1996, and then declined 72% by 2017” (O.J.J.D). The young children in the U.S are not being imprisoned as much back in the late 1900s. Video games back in those days weren’t heard of as it is now. In today’s society with improved technology, young people now get to spend their time watching professional gaming competitions, youtube gamer commentators and playing with friends online.
Young people now spend most of their time playing video games with friends and not spending their time doing bad stuff. Not to mention, parents worry that their children who play video games are isolating themselves playing video games in their room for hours and not getting any socialization with people. It is an understandable concern; however, the child is likely to be talking with their friends online or playing the same game with other people in the gaming community. Over 70% are people who play video games are playing with a friend (E.S.A).
Games that provide the tools for improving their prosocial skills help an individual improve their behavior. As Isabella Granic et.al who are authors points out in their research document, The Benefits of Playing Video game Granic states, “ …and longitudinal effects were also found, in that children who played more prosocial games at the beginning of the school year were more likely to exhibit helpful behaviors later that year” (Granic et.al). Children playing online games during the beginning of the school year were more proactive with socializing later in the school year.
This type of benefit of positive behaviors onto a child is very important at this time because the child gets to be more socialized with their peers in school. Socializing or creating conversations with other people is fading away because of people being addicted to their phones; video games tend to break this barrier and help these kids to be more prosocial. Parents should see that with this new style of communicating kids have these days is normal. Playing Video games now is normal at this point with the new technology this world has. These new generations tend to try and explain this new gaming world to the older generations.
Older generations tend to have this “moral panic” as pointed out by PROCON.ORG. In their article, Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence the article explains the moral panic is fear or public concern onto an individual or group, in which in this case; gamers. PROCON uses a study from Popular Media Culture in October 2013 wherein the group of psychologists from that organization found out that people who had no knowledge of video games were most likely to believe games were linked to mass shootings (PROCON).
Back in the days of the older generations of people didn’t have the same way many of us now socialize. Older generations would socialize by being outside more. Now, it is normal to socialize through our phones, computers, or gaming consoles. People of all ages, backgrounds, or beliefs should accept this new era and be glad that this new generation is producing and improving for the better of future generations. As a conclusion, video games are not as bad as many people think they are. Video games are very beneficial for an individual in a pleasant manner.
Video games can increase many young peoples minds in the way they think and relieve some stress that young people are facing. Escaping reality for a while is something, we all need after a bad day or a very long day. Leaving all that negative emotions onto a game is far way better than doing something really bad in real life that can bring harm to one another. Video games should not be the blame for all crimes that is occurred by a young person. There should be more helpful mental institutions for the youth as Constance Steinkuehler points out in his study that young people feel more stressed and have it harder in life than the older generations (Steinkuehler).
America should look at these problems rather than a video game that is played from millions all across America. The young people are the future of this country. They will be the ones who create and change history for this country, but how if we are stopped from chaotic situations that this country is facing on a daily basis. Playing video games helps many people cope with this stress and socialize with their friends while at it. Creating more of a social community creates unity onto another from all backgrounds. Playing video games is a tool many people can’t live without and should be seen as a beneficial tool.