Video games are trending and selling more now than ever before. An estimated 4 out of 5 U.S. households with a male child own some sort of system to play games. Many researchers and parents believe that some of these video games cause violence in children and juveniles. Although some video games contain violence, they are not the direct cause of physical violence, and juvenile crime.
Many studies are done to try to show the correlation between videogames and violence. Although, many of these studies claiming links between video game violence and real life violence are not accurately done well to prove so. The studies may fail to control some variables in their tests such as mental health, family history, social school influences, etc. In a court case in California, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (2011) the US Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the state could not ban the sale of violent video games to minors. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that studies that claim to show a connection between violent video games and harmful effects on children “have been rejected...with a good reason: They do not prove that violent video games cause minors to act aggressively.” In the US, over 150 million people play video games, 71% of which are teens. Claiming that one person who played popular games such as Grand Theft Auto or Call Of Duty and also committed a violent crime does not show a relationship between the game and crimes.
Technology today has made news and information travel to people faster now more than ever. This could include violence. Children and juveniles are exposed to violence across all medias and social platforms, not just video games. Steven Pinker, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, said in an interview that "If consuming violent media made you violent, then we should prevent adults from reading The Iliad, or for that matter the Old Testament. Together with Shakespearean tragedies and Godfather movies and much else…” Like movies, video games have ratings also, targeted for specific audiences; M for mature, PG for parental guidance suggested, G for general audiences, etc. Parents should put in the effort and time into making sure their son or daughter do not play rated M and R games, if they don't want them to. Parents could do so by possibly researching the games before buying them, or paying attention to the ratings on the disc cases.
Many people believe that violent video games lead to physical juvenile crimes and even to mass shootings, but the statistics say otherwise. A report by the US Secret Service and US Department of Education examined 37 incidents of targeted school violence from 1974 to 2000. Out of the 41 incidents studied, 27% of the attackers had interest in violent movies, 24% in violent books, and 37% in their own violent writings. Only 12% of the attackers showed interest in violent video games. Juvenile crime rates have actually decreased in past years, while sales of violent video games have increased significantly. Violent crimes have decreased by 37% from 1994 to 2014, while sales of videogame hardware and software in the US increased by 204% in that same time period. This shows that there is little correspondence between violent video games, and crime in juveniles. In countries that have higher video game sales, there is statistically less gun violence than countries with less video game sales per capita. Nine of the top countries with the highest video game usage, have some of the lowest violent crime rate in the world, such as Japan. Perhaps this shows that people are too busy playing games to commit crimes.
Video games are very popular, and sold worldwide to everyone, young and old. Many of these games contain violence to attract players. As games become more advanced, and animations look closer and closer to real life, many people debate whether these games create social and violent issues. In conclusion, video games may contain graphic content and violence, but it is not a cause of juvenile crime and violence in real life.
ProCon “Violent Video Games - ProCon." Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence? ProCon. 3 June 2016, 11:27a.m.
Nicholas Lovell, "If Video Games Cause Violence, There Should Be a Correlation between Game Sales and Violent Crime, Right?"
Max Fisher, "Ten-Country Comparison Suggests There's Little or No Link between Video Games and Gun Murders," Washington Post, Dec. 17, 2012).
National Center for Juvenile Justice, "Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2014 National Report," ojjdp, Dec. 2014