In the news and media, we often hear people blame video games for real life violence and crime. Some parents are worried about how games like Fortnite affect their children, but are violent video games really the cause of criminal behavior? Does time spent playing shooter games translate to aggression? Or is it all just a myth?
A cause of concern is how realistic modern video games can be, using realistic-looking physics, gore, and weapon models. Some people are convinced that if children are exposed to realistic graphics, they will be likely to copy the actions in these games. Another reason people are worried is because of how popular these games are becoming. Currently, many of the most popular video games are shooters/action games like Fortnite, Overwatch, League of Legends, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
Video games do not cause violence and aggression. Many studies have been done on the effects of violent video games on the brain, and most of them showed that playing specific types of video games does not affect behavior in the outside world.
In the summer of 2017, a division of the American Psychological Association (APA) focused on the media published their own statement telling government officials and the news media to avoid associating acts of violence with video games. Large analyses done by the APA on video games and violence find no evidence that increased video games sales leads to higher crime rate.
Another analysis done in Germany showed that gamers and non-gamers had the same neural responses to emotionally provocative images.
If someone plays a shooter game, they might be tired or excited afterwards, but there are no long-term consequences on someone’s level of aggression.
Video games do not necessarily make people violent - while it may get you a little pumped, you’re not going to go out and shoot anyone. Popular shooter games are nothing to be afraid of, and realistic video games don’t increase a child’s aggression.
Another largely debated topic is video game addiction. Many children are addicted to Fortnite, and people are wondering about the cause. I mostly believe that a video game like Fortnite is not usually at fault for a child’s addiction or aggression. It is unfair to say that a game is unhealthy just because many children like to play it. It is obviously unhealthy to be playing a game for 12 hours a day, but I do not think that is necessarily the game’s fault. However, if a game has gambling aspects, then I think it is fair to blame the game for the addiction problem.
Another reason for a child’s addiction is that the child could have other mental issues. Many children with video game addictions have ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other similar mental conditions. In the case of anxiety and depression, the child might just be trying to do something that makes them feel happy. This feeling can become addictive and slowly, they will start spending more and more time playing video games. It is also possible that the parents are at fault for their children’s addiction. If they do nothing about it before it is too late, the child’s addiction can only get worse (unless the child is actively trying to stop it.) However, some parents might be afraid of their children. There are stories about children breaking into cars or other dangerous things just to find their gaming device. Many children are skipping school, refusing to sleep, or not even pausing to eat a meal. This can lead to tiredness, which can lead to anger, sadness, and depression. This is extremely unhealthy, especially for younger children. If parents are afraid of this behavior, they might simply leave their child alone, hoping that they become better.
While there are many factors to involved, most of the time, the parents are responsible for a child’s addiction. They should be able to stop their child from starting an addiction in the first place, and even if they can not solve the problem on their own, they are responsible for their child, and they can bring their child to a doctor or therapist, who can prescribe a medication or help the child in some way.