Video games cause teens to become violent. This is a fact if you ask the media. Tune in to CNN or Fox, and for every tragic event, there’ll be a so-called expert blaming it all on video games.

You may even believe this when GTA V forces you to wait five minutes for matchmaking, and then it turns out to be a 6 vs. 2 encounter. But for the most part, the only acts of violence video games inspire are those against the walls of your apartment.

But why is this such a popular statement? Even Trump was heard making it back in 2018. Actually, you have to cut the man some slack. He’s 72, and old religious people really like simple answers to complex questions about teen problems.


What Video Games are Blamed for

You may not know this, but video games are blamed for all sorts of things. One of the earliest accusations for school shootings dates back to 1997. Back then, people got a foretaste of what video game violence could lead to in real life. The transition from Mario to Carmageddon was a tough one, so a Heath school shooting got blamed on video games.

Video games were not mentioned in any police reports, but that didn’t stop the parents from suing, unsuccessfully, gaming companies.

Sandy Hook’s shooting rampage was also blamed on his obsession with video games. The murderer was a depressed loner with no friends, and the media says he was a hardcore gamer. His favorite game? Dance Dance Revolution.

The Sun, a UK-published tabloid, went so far as to blame rickets on video games. Supposedly, game binging kids don’t get enough sunlight to grow up healthy.

In 2012, the media made quite a fuss about Roxanne Myers, a woman who lost a portion of her leg due to video gaming. The story goes that she was binge gaming and fell asleep. She slept in an uncomfortable position which cut off blood supply to her leg, causing it to be amputated.

Does this mean that if you get a custom essay writing service to handle your essay and go on a game binge, you’ll lose your limbs? Of course not, the story was a hoax. But it is indicative of the myths people are inclined to believe in when it comes to gaming.


The Arguments are Emotional

The one thing most anti-gaming people have in common is their arguments. More often than not, they’re purely emotional, not rational.

They don’t want to spend their time researching, reading studies, and making their own conclusions. It’s always much easier for them to uncritically accept any evidence, even of the most dubious kind.

“My 15-year old son started behaving aggressively and playing video games. I’ve seen him doing aggressive stuff in the game, so it must be its fault”.

But it’s not only 72-year olds like Trump who think this way. Others fall into the trap of blaming video games as well.

This man who grew up in poor neighborhood thinks games are causing violence. His logic is simple: young offenders start murdering competitively, so it’s probably video games that cause this.

 

Violence for Video Games
Image source: AnySource News/Twitter

AnySource News were nice enough not to say that video games cause violence, however.

This picture from Sky News illustrates the point system of UK gangs.

 

Violence for Video Games
Source: Sky News

It does a good job scaring parents, but does it actually help us understand the problem with violence? Is there any link between kids from poverty-stricken ghettos committing crimes and gaming?


What does the Science Say?

So is the media out of touch, or are there reasons to believe video games cause violence?

90% of kids in the US play video games, 70% of adults do, too. 42% of grown-ups play games more or less regularly. Yet a 2013 survey showed 75% of parents believe video games cause violence.

If these parents were correct, we’d have a violence crisis on our hands nowadays. But this just doesn’t square with the data.

 

Video Games, Violence
Image source: Procon.org

As video game sales rise, the number of violent crimes drops significantly. This doesn’t explain violent behavior, but you’d surely see more crime if the correlation between gaming and violence did exist.

The fact that there is no link between the two was proven way back in 2008 by a Delaware School Survey. In fact, a more recent study found the data to be correct.

According to a survey which covered 6,567 kids of the same age, playing violent video games did not lead to real-life violence.

If anything, gaming can be a good thing for society. Young men have a way to let their steam off by killing their friend in Mortal Kombat, and not beating up someone in real life.

However, there’s a study that does find a correlation between gaming and violent behavior. According to it, even though gaming every day does not correlate with aggression, gaming for over 3 hours on a daily basis can. Does this mean binge gaming causes aggression?


The Real Cause of Violence

Correlation doesn’t mean causation. Take any school shooting that gets blamed on video games. The shooter is lonely, unpopular at school, probably bullied, and severely depressed. He also plays video games.

Yet talking about depression seems too hard for the media. Video games are not a go-to answer, as they once were. But this theme gets brought up at least by someone whenever a mass murder happens.

The primary cause of violent behavior is the hormones bubbling in your teens. As for the more violent acts, most perpetrators have a history of abuse, do not socialize much, and are suffering from depression.

The same type of people are likely to indulge in escapism. They resort to alcohol, drugs, gambling, video games, or binge-watching Netflix - anything to escape reality.

No wonder some violent people spend their days binge gaming.


People will Blame Anything

Apart from the obvious link between depression, escapism, and violence, there’s the vicious circle of media.

Some hyper-religious parents are willing to believe any myth if it’s against God and perverts their children. The media are willing to talk about anything if it gets them their views.

This is why Magic: The Gathering was in the center of media attention in the 90s. Some people believed the game to be made by Satan worshipers, and the topic became a media hype.

The same craze happened when The Beatles got blamed for Charles Manson’s atrocities because he loved the White Album.


The Sad Summary

So far, this article has been nothing short of entertaining. But here’s a sad conclusion.

Pro-gun people blame video games and not going to church for mass shootings. Anti-gun people blame guns. The media talks about it to get fear-driven views.

It appears all of them just want to use tragedies to push their agenda. Nobody wishes to address the real issue here, i.e. depression, abuse, and loneliness driving some teens to commit acts of violence.

 

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