Oh boy here we go, here we finally go. One of the toughest and most fought about questions in the gaming community.
I would like to say that I am quite well-read when it comes to the concerns of this topic. I have seen studies that say video games can make people show violent behaviour toward others, I have also seen and read a whole bunch that totally opposes this. This entire issue is so completely stuck in the ideas and interests of people that have such strong opinions and a whole lot of bad research that I doubt anything conclusive can come from it.
Let’s try something, shall we?
Let’s take this picture of a cigarette. It isn’t a physical cigarette, only a representation of a one. You can’t grab the screen to smoke it, it won’t even produce smoke and it won’t give you lung cancer or anything else of the sort. If you start smoking after you see this image, you are completely responsible for your own actions, it’s not as if this image will magically coerce you into smoking. Same goes for violence in gaming right? And I play CS pretty much every night.
If a kid can get their hands on a game with violence or blood and gore like GTA 5 (or wait for it, parents are classifying Call Of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and even Halo), and has played or is playing for who knows how many months without a parental figure knowing it, it’s their own bloody fault. You’re definitely not paying attention, and you sure as heck couldn’t care less about what they’re doing, but then you’re perfectly happy to go ahead and blame video games (or music, or tv shows, or movies) when your kid goes and does something wrong.
Also, must I remind you, most countries that sell any form of entertainment will undoubtedly have some kind of rating system. We in Australia have the Australian Classification Board, the Americans have Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), Europe has Pan European Game Information (PEGI), Japan has Computer Entertainment Rating Organisation, and a lot of other countries have their rating systems.
Yeah we know, games are interactive. Yeah sure, some studies have shown a (questionable) correlation between video games with violence and with feelings of aggression, but let’s be honest, I get that same feeling when I get stuck in peak hour traffic. At the end of the day there are people who smoke/gamble/drink, (all of which have scientifically proven a negative impact on an individual) I don’t see where all of these double standards come from in video games. Heck! I feel like the more I watch videos on Facebook, the more heavily influenced I am to do something; like DIY crafts, lose weight and heck, I even stopped eating meat!
So for me, a video game with violence is just as bad as watching a tv show or movie or song with violence in it. It’s all fake, none of it is real, it’s just a picture of a cigarette on a screen. But don’t let me stop you from saying you got addicted to smoking by looking at it.