Take it to Kourt: Hamilton on violent video games

Kourtnee Hamilton, Copy Editor

For years, real world violence and crime has been attributed to playing violent video games, especially when young children partake in these seemingly harmful virtual simulations, such as war and criminal activity. However, narrow-minded people search for a simple solution to a complicated issue.

Even with tragedies such as the Sandy Hook shooting, investigators attempted to blame Adam Lanza’s behavior on violent video games without clear evidence proving if he did or did not play them.

Six years ago, after the Virginia Tech Massacre, the same idea was embedded in the minds of Americans everywhere. Later, official investigation information revealed that the culprit, 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho, did not play violent video games at all.

As taught in statistics, correlation does not yield causation. Even if the perpetrators of these tragic events did partake in violence within their virtual realities, the games should not be what investigators immediately jump to as the cause for their behavior.

More often than not, these criminals have deep psychological or emotional issues that cause them to lose their conscience over what is right or wrong.

Personally, growing up playing Mortal Kombat has not had any lasting effects. I started playing the extremely violent fighting game at the age of three and still play when given the chance.

Just because I have played the game for 15 years does not mean that I will go postal and decide to commit mass murder. It is just a fun and entertaining game to play when I actually have free time, not something I do to satisfy some subconscious desire to kill people.

According to raisesmartkid.com, a website that offers advice and suggestions to improve early childhood development, the benefits of children playing any video game at all are far greater than the possible negative effects. The site states that video games actually increase a child’s mental capacity, allowing them to achieve higher levels of thinking and understanding.

Raise Smart Kid contains a long list of important life and education skills that video games help develop, such as problem solving and logical thinking, analyzing and deciding quickly.

In regards to violent video games, raisesmartkid.com suggests that these games can be helpful for releasing built up anger and aggression, which lessens stress in a positive and mentally stimulating manner.

The conclusion typically comes down to children playing violent games, but then the same accusations should go towards the violent TV shows and movies that are commonplace in our society. Even TV shows meant to be viewed by children contain violent behavior, such as the shows that the 90’s kids grew up watching, like “Tom & Jerry,” “Cow and Chicken” and “Animaniacs.”

Kids are exposed to violence throughout their lives because it exists as popular entertainment in our society. Though for some reason, the virtual simulations in video games are the scapegoats, rather than blaming the environment and media influences that children and teens are exposed to throughout their lives.

Simply because a child grows up playing a video game or watching a cartoon with violent content does not mean that the child will grow up to be a mass murderer or serial killer. Games that are extremely violent in nature have age restrictions and it is up to the parents if they allow their child to play these games.

Tragic events and hostile behavior should not be attributed to violent video game usage. These games are meant for entertainment and provide a means of stress relief for aggressive behavior, not a starting point for future criminals. Maturity is a key factor in the grand scheme of things, after all that is why age restricted games are rated “M for Mature.”