Violent Video Games: To Murder or Not to Murder?

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How many of you play video games? Alright, now keeping your hands up, how many of you have a family member or a friend that plays video games? So, if we look around, the majority if not everyone in this classroom has some sort of connection involved with video games. Now, especially with recent tragedies that have occurred, violent video games have come under fire by many people as the cause for desensitizing and resulting in aggressive actions and crimes. However, this is a false notion that does not really hold any value in the real world. Today, I will be discussing three reasons why violent video games do not desensitize the average person in our society.

We shall first discuss what desensitization is and why lab-based experiments will not be used as evidence. According to the article, Chronic violent video game exposure and desensitization to violence: Behavioral and event-related brain potential data published in the, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology on October 7, 2015, desensitization is defined as “…diminished psychological or emotional responsiveness to a stimulus after repeated exposure to it”.

According to that same article, it states that “Media violence is believed to increase aggression, at least in part, by desensitizing viewers to the effects of real violence” and that “Repeated exposure to media violence, however, reduces its psychological impact and eventually produces aggressive approach-related motivational states, theoretically leading to stable increases in aggression.” Therefore, if we can prove that video games do not increase violence/criminal behaviors, we can then determine that video games will not cause desensitization.

One of the reasons why I will not be using lab-based experiments is because many of them are in a controlled environment and does not represent real world scenarios, where other variables may be in play. Many of them provide somewhat inconsistent results that really won’t represent the real world. These experiments have also been used throughout this long argument so repeating them will not really convince anyone of anything.

We shall now discuss why video games will not desensitize people, using Grand Theft Auto 5 as an example. If we first dive into the cases where Grand Theft Auto 5 was a major cause of a crime in the United States since its release in 2013, we can really come up with only two cases. According to an article called Zachary Burgess Allegedly Stole Truck, Kidnapped Woman, As Part Of ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Reenactment published by HuffPost on September 25, 2013 a 20-year-old man named Zachary Burgess was arrested for kidnapping a woman, stealing a truck, and ramming several parked cars. He committed these crimes to experience ‘real life Grand Theft Auto’ after playing Grand Theft Auto 5.

According to an article published by International Business Times called GTA 5: 14-year-old Boy Kills Father and Brother ‘Inspired’ by Violent Character Trevor, a fourteen-year-old named Samuel got into a fight with his father after his father allegedly opened fired outside the home while coming in. Samuel then became enraged, as the character Trevor in GTA V performs at times, and shot and killed his father. In his rage, he also killed his 13-year old brother.

The reason behind me providing these reports is to show how little violent video games affect people in real-life scenarios. The lack of actual reporting that is provided is disturbing due to the amount if violent video games do indeed desensitize people. A logical reason for the lack of articles involving crimes involving violent video games is since there really isn’t that many crimes that have violent video games as a catalyst/cause to them.

However, we can figure out the percentage of people that will commit a crime due to violent video games. If we assume that from 2013 to 2017 one hundred thousand violent crimes were committed in the United States, we can divide that by the number of copies sold and we will see that we will get a very small percentage of crimes per copy sold.

According to the article, Violent Video Games and Real-World Violence: Rhetoric Versus Data, published on 2014 by the American Psychology Association, when there are releases of a popular violent video game, the amount of homicides and assaults committed during the next three months either decreases or stays the same.

If we look at these sets of graphs, we can see that this claim is true with June-July being the months that have the most homicides and aggravated assaults being committed while video game sales are on the low side. If we fast forward later in the year, we can see that assaults and homicides occur less during November-January while video game sales are at their best-selling point. The study rightful claims that it cannot determine that violent video games decrease crime, however it does state that it shows that violent video games do not increase crime.

Now, we shall finally dive into some of the reasons that people who think violent video games cause desensitization and even though on the surface they seem logical, a deeper inspection shows that this is not the case. One of the most recent and outspoken reason that video games desensitize people is that because since many people who commit mass shootings, usually young men, play violent video games, therefore these video games cause them to become desensitized and therefore commit these horrible actions.

However, the problem with this is that with this logic, every person or most of the people who play video games would then be desensitized and commit these horrible actions. However, due to looking at the amount of recorded crimes caused by Grand Theft Auto 5 and the percentage of gamers that commit these crimes, this is obviously not the case.

According to the article Younger men play video games, but so do a diverse group of other Americans published on September 11, 2017 by the Pew Research Center, the survey that they conducted showed that violent shooters are the 4th popular type of video game out of 7, falling behind Adventure, Strategy, and Puzzle games (this includes apps on phones).


Though we would like to say that violent video games are the cause of desensitization and of crimes, that does not seem to be the case. Though some of you may not believe this, I hope you can at least see the reasoning of why desensitization may not be because of violent video games. However, regardless of your position on this topic, I still highly suggest that every single one of you go and do research on video games if you ever have to buy one or interact with them. With that, I thank you all for listening and being an attentive audience.

Cite this paper

Violent Video Games: To Murder or Not to Murder?. (2021, Oct 06). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/violent-video-games-to-murder-or-not-to-murder/

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