Today i will be debunking this myth that video games cause violence. There are three main points that I will be addressing today is: Society was more violent before video games existed, Lack of evidence, and that video games don’t fool our senses.
Firstly i will be talking about how society was more violent before video games The video games industry began in the 1970’s thriving to a colossal level that today rivals the movie industry.Since the 1970s crime rates in the United States and UK combined have massively fallen by 10%, and that includes violent crime. The simple fact is that psychopaths and violent crime existed before entertainment media did. Humans have raped, beaten, tortured and killed each other as far back in history as our historical record. It was going on long before the existence of game consoles, televisions, radios, comics and even before humans invented written language.
Secondly i will be talking about Lack of evidence. Presently there are hundreds of millions of people who play video games. Many individual game titles have sold tens of millions of copies. The biggest selling game of all time, GTA V (Grand Theft Auto V), was recently reported as having sold over 110 million copies. Being that it’s also a game that has been subject to controversy over its violence, let’s do some very basic math to find out how many violent crimes this game ought to have incited if video games can actually cause violence. If we conservatively assume that 1 out of 10000 players of GTA V will be inspired to commit a violent act then 110 million divided by 10000 = 11000. Yes, if 1 in 10000 players of GTA V were inspired to an actual act of violence then there would be 11000 such cases to report. For argument’s sake let’s assume that just 1% of those 11000 GTA V inspired violent acts would be recognized and publicly reported for their video game influence. 1% of 11000 would be 110. To summarize, if 1 in 10000 players of GTA V was inspired to commit violence and only 1% of those violent acts were reported as being influenced by GTA V then there should be 110 documented cases of violence attributed to that game alone. But I can’t even find 10 proven instances of video game induced violence spanning the entire video games industry since its birth in the 1970’s. So the number of case studies out there really doesn’t support the theory. But for the sake of being thorough, let's look at a case that are on record. A quick search engine query for sample cases of video games causing violence brings up a handful of compilation articles. But on closer inspection the articles are sensationalist because many of the “cases” involve violent crimes where video game influence has only been theorized as being the central facto, not proven. The supposed cases often involve other mitigating factors such as poverty, drugs, parental abuse, mental ill health, bullying and so on – factors which, in combination have historically caused countless violent crimes without video games being a factor at all. There also tends to be a lack of specific publicly available detail about the cases. Often the news media narrative is based on little more than a police investigator stating that video games might be a factor.
Finally i will be discussing that video games don’t fool our senses . Of all the creatures on Earth humans have a unique ability to engage in artificial experiences via books, movies or even just listening to someone else describe an experience, but for the most part we consciously and intellectually know that those experiences are artificial. When we watch movies we know that we are seeing actors and special effects. We know that what is on screen isn’t real, even though we allow ourselves to momentarily engage emotionally, band we know the emotions would be many times stronger if the events were happening in our real world experience. However, fictional or simulated experiences can influence our beliefs and expectations when there’s a gap in our real world experience. Most people have never been in a battlefield and so war movies can mislead them into assuming that real world warfare is different than it actually is. But with video games this kind of influence on belief systems is massively reduced to the point of being almost nonexistent. At the base sensory level we absolutely know when playing a video game that the simulated experience is entirely separate from our actual physical reality. Video game graphics have gotten better and better to the point that sometimes a moving landscape in a game such as Kingdom Come Deliverance can momentarily pass for real video footage. Or at least it would to a person who had just walked into a room and seen the footage but wasn’t actually playing the game. But if that person observed the footage for a minute or so their brain would quickly recognize the thousands of little sensory giveaways – reminders that the footage is artificially generated. The occasionally obvious polygon edges, the blurred detail upon close up, the clipped shadows and so on. The simulation is amazing, but it’s still not good enough to fool our senses for more than a few seconds. Add to this that the player actions of switching on the game system, picking up a controller, and loading up the game provides an absolute separation between the video game reality and the actual world. People don’t forget that they’re playing a video game. If they did www.collativelearning.com - 9 reasons video games don’t cause violence © by Rob Ager June 2019 5 they would be terrified of the enemies they fight in the simulation. The experience would become very unpleasant. Even if these obstacles could be overcome the actual interface we have with video games still creates a total separation. Dreams feel real because we don’t remember falling asleep, but when playing a game we don’t forget switching the game on and we don’t forget the controller interface.