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How do violent video games influence people?

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Video games are a fairly new media type. They have evolved so much in their short existence: their audience has gone from children to adults of all ages. Their production has changed from two people in a garage to hundred man teams with a twenty million dollar budget. Because of the media’s young age, many people still see it as an immature medium despite the fact that sixty-nine percent of Americans have played them. Ever since the beginnings of video games, the level of violence in them has been a matter of controversy. There is no question as to whether or not video games are violent, but there are those who argue that the psychological effects of playing them result in violent actions. There are isolated incidents where mentally unstable people have gone on killing sprees because of what they have seen in video games; although, while today’s games are increasingly violent, they are not likely to influence the actions of the average person.

Video games are very immersive. Nothing else like them will take a person and transform him/her into someone else; you see, hear, and feel what the character sees, hears, and feels. This is a great way to escape reality, just as someone reading a book might. Someone who has violent tendencies might use video games as a way to manage those tendencies. If one can get their fix of violence in a video game, is it not better they do it in a fake reality than in the real world? Video games can be a way of anger management. When I play violent video games, I feel less stressed and am calmer. After a play session of Halo or Call of Duty I am often in a better mood.

When people commit horrible acts of violence, video games are often used as a scapegoat. When the Columbine High School Massacre occurred, some said that the shooters did what they did because they were obsessed with the game Doom. Some people believed that they had played Doom to the point where reality and the game had become one. First off, to do what they did, the shooters had to have already been mentally unstable. If someone has problems determining the difference between what is fake and what is real, they probably should not be playing video games. Secondly, the shooters had probably been bullied to the point where they would rather be dead than go to school another day. This is an isolated incident; people will say that violent video games are the sole reason someone would do something like this. In reality, video games are only one factor when someone already has psychological issues.

When the average person plays a video game, they play it for release, an escape, or recreation. Video games will not make a person go out and mimic what they do in the game. Mentally unstable people probably should not play video games because they might have a hard time differentiating between the game and reality. It is time to stop using video games as a scapegoat and let people take responsibility for their actions.



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