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Do Video Games Cause Aggression?

Over the past few years there has been a multitude of complaints about the violent content of video games and it has been suggested that they can make players more aggressive in real life. The fact that video games are getting more and more elaborate and violent can’t be denied – game designers strive to make images more realistic and show the injuries the characters get or their suffering in agony. However, blaming games for aggression outside the virtual world appears to be ungrounded and exaggerated.

Firstly, researches conducted on this issue seem to contradict each other. Although some studies show that video games affect people’s emotional state, others claim that their influence upon the players is the same as that of books or films. Moreover, according to Patrick Kierkegaard from the University of Essex, England, there is no obvious link between real-world violence statistics and the invention of video games. He argued that with millions of sales of violent games, the world should be seeing an epidemic of violence, but violence, particularly among the young, has declined. It’s true that notorious school shootings in America have been committed by young game players. However, the overwhelming majority of teenage game players are law-abiding citizens. According to 2001 U.S. Surgeon General’s report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centred in mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure.

Thus, there is no evidence to suggest that video games are the primary factor that breeds aggression among young people. The moral panic over violent video games misdirects energy away from eliminating the actual causes of youth violence and allows problems to fester further on.

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