Can violent video games cause behavioural changes among the youth? Are these responsible for the rising cases of mass shootings in the United States?
Amid the ongoing debate over the increase in gun violence in schools that have been a cause of worry for parents and activists, ‘Active Shooter’, a video game that allegedly perpetuates violence, was banned even before its release. The game allegedly glorifies gun violence and shootings in a school setting. It replicates a school massacre where the player can either be a SWAT team member or be a gunman and can hunt for civilians hiding in classrooms or behind doors, reports The Atlantic.
Active Shooter’s launch was stalled from Steam, the largest online storefront for PC gaming. A few other video games, on the other hand, have only been blacklisted or stopped from being popularly distributed after their launch, reports The Atlantic.
This happened as a result of the petition that was launched asking Valve, owner of the store to not release the game. Stephanie Robinett, the woman who created the petition, celebrated the action on Twitter.
WE DID IT!!! Valve Corporation pulled Active Shooter from their platform. We CAN make change by speaking up! Thank you to all 175 THOUSAND of you for speaking up on this!! https://t.co/itlCJHXQJg via @Change
— Stephanie Robinett (@StephLRobinett) May 30, 2018
The father of one of the victims of the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had earlier condemned the game calling it ‘despicable’.
— Ryan Petty (@rpetty) May 27, 2018
According to a report in ABC Arizona, there have been 43 school shootings in 2018 in USA till now, including suicide attempts and accidental discharges.
American President Trump blamed violent video games and movies to have an adverse impact on children, while addressing the issue of growing school shootings in America in February earlier this year.
“We have to look at the internet because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds and their minds are being formed and we have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it. And also video games. I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts,”hee said, according to a New York Times Report.
“And then you go the further step and that’s the movies,” he added. “You see these movies, they’re so violent, and yet a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn’t involved, but killing is involved.”
The American Psychological Association had demonstrated a link”between violent video game use and both increases in aggressive behavior … and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy, and moral engagement” in a statement. The American Academy of Pediatrics had also issued guidelines in July 2016 saying that violent media set a poor example of kids. The overall summary of the academy’s studies also shows that violent media, in general causes aggressive behavior and thoughts, according to a CNN report.
Violent media do not impact behavior
However, not everyone is of the similar view. In a report by CNN Whitney DeCamp, an associate professor of sociology at Western Michigan University, said that there is no link between violent media and aggressive behaviour. According to him, a kid’s attraction towards violent video games cannot be viewed in isolation and is affected by natural factors such as gender and family relations.
Another report by the New York Times provided evidence claiming that violent video games do not lead to increase in crimes. According to the evidence, an essay by Henry Jenkins, a professor at the University of Southern California says that in 2005, in spite of a large number of young people playing video games, juvenile crime in America was at a thirty year low.
(Written by Shreya Bansal)