Violence in Video Games

It is a common belief in today’s society, especially among parents, that violent video games are to blame for the growing issue of gun violence. This idea was popularized after the Columbine school shooting in 1999 when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 of their classmates and injured 22. Many attribute the violence to the boy’s time spent on the game “Doom” a first person shooter released in 1993. What many fail to realize is that there is no concrete scientific evidence linking violent video games to violent crimes in juveniles. If anything, trends show what could be considered as video games having a positive effect on society.

From 1993 to 2014 video game and hardware sales in the U.S. have increased by 204%. In the same amount of time, violent crimes have decreased by 37% and murders by juveniles acting alone fell 76% in the same time period. What many also fail to realize is that approximately 71% of teens play video games. If so many teens play video games with the large majority of them containing some level of violence, one would wonder why a larger proportion wouldn’t resort to violent behaviors like school shootings. The research that has been conducted on the effects of violent video games on young people are often flawed, with little to no regard on other aspects of the subject’s early upbringing or home life.

There is no single cause for violence in youth, but there are many factors that are difficult to track throughout during someone’s upbringing. Instead of turning to video games as a scapegoat for the issue of school shootings in the U.S. we should put more effort towards mental healthcare, gun reform policy and other efforts that present a clear and direct correlation to the many tragedies related to gun violence in America.