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Blaming Video Games For Everything

This last 3 days, I've been doing an special tasked homework from my school since I just started the 3rd year of High school this past Monday, and it was an ethics homework, I won't get too deep explaining what it was about but it revolved around the nature of our society, our morality, blah, blah, blah, common ethics topic here.

So I started reading my ethics book and researching about the topic on other different books, to be honest it's quite tiring and can be boring sometimes (even though I like ethics). So I decided to look up on the internet where generally you find more interesting things, and I ran into this gaming forum talking about how Society blamed our digital media for a recent murder that happened, they were discussing how people from different opinions instantly blamed the killing on behalf of games because the author of the killing, a 19 year old student, passed too many time playing violent video games, the reaction of the gamer community was, well, violent.

And well I somehow agree with them, because without fully knowing the diversity of videogames, our Society condemns the Industry unfairly.

Ok, most of us are familiar with our gaming community, when a domestic killing happens, a kid is involved, he managed to get a gun to cause the murder and videogames are blamed, well, you can always expect the following (even here on GI):

"What kind of stupid parent was storing a gun with a round in the chamber?!?This has absolutely nothing to do with video games , when I was a kid, we played shooters. Thankfully, my parents were smart enough to make sure I didn't have any access to loaded guns."

or

"The kid had mental problems obviously, only a weak minded individual would be affected by a videogame which it's only objective is to entertain."

or

"Irresponsible parents, that's the problem, they should pay more attention to their kid and watch his behaviour and what kind of games they buy to him. Videogames aren't the problem, it's all about the parents".

Blaming Parents. Irresponsability. Cynicism. That's the common geek community for ya.

But, amidst the chaos, a reflexive mind always comes to calm everything down. I'm talking about a person whose comment is well thought and really looks into it:

"This whole problem probably did not came out from thin air. The kid was probably already used to violence long ago and the parents didn't do anything about it, like explaining to them how violence can be destructive."

That's exactly the kind of mind and response everyone should have when a problem like this originates.

Because when our community starts talking how the parents are to blame for the problem. Believe me, you aren't any more different than the people blaming videogames for the killing.

We, as gamers, aren't alone in our wish to set the record straight on one of the digital age's great questions: the question of which comes first, the violent videogame or the violent person. While people who play games generally agree that violent games are harmless, many scientists aren't so sure.

And gamers conclusion on how can videogames create real-life violence are a deep concern. A debate about whether video games cause violence can be one of the most talked about. In my opinion:

Most violence happens when you are raised up in a bad environment. You can't tell me that playing a few rounds of Call of Duty or running down a few people in GTA IV will turn you into a mass murderer. It just doesn't happen like that. If anything, it just releases the aggression you have in a nonviolent manner.

I myself disagree on the idea that a bunch of pixels can start violent agression on any kinda of gamer. But it does cause something, and something we really need to worry about: Our Desesintization.

But before I talk about that, I want to show you a quote from an MIT proffesor about the topic:

"Media effects are the immediate American answer to the problem with violence," said Henry Jenkins, a professor of media studies at MIT.

"We're preoccupied with scientific and medical authority. We believe we can subject human culture to a lab experiment and come away with an answer to human behavior. The bizarre thing is that we've turned to pseudoscience to get that answer."

"Most criminologists don't consider media violence to be a serious contribution to crime," Jenkins explained.

"They look at domestic violence and real violence and how they perpetuate themselves. They also consider access to weapons, plus mental health and poverty. There are a lot of fundamental questions they ask about what causes violence, and media consumption ranks very low on the list."

-While I totally agree with the professor. Really? Does this nedeed to happen? Couldn't they had thought of another idea to immerse us into the game's plot?


Another Important thing I would like to point out is that, Please tell me:

Have you ever seen the Japanese blame videogames as much as Americans Do?

You see, this kind of issue sets the Americans apart from other countries, Japanese rarely assert that media violence causes real-life violence. One reason is that Japanese kids don't have access to guns. In America, many homes have weapons almost everywhere, even with ammo nearby.

In America, where the right to have weapons is considered a major foundation for civil liberties, and where the NRA is one of the biggest lobbies in Washington, it's fairly obvious why people would rather blame video games for violence than blaming gun policies.

Japan has a far lower murder rate than America does.

Even when violence does strike in Japan, experts almost never blame it on the country's popular culture. Instead, they point to other causes, like trying to succeed at work, or studying too hard for school exams.

Can people confuse reality with a game? That's a pretty hairy subject. You have to be pretty screwed up in the first place to have that happen to you. Do games about helping people give you more empathy? Do games about doing work make you have a better work ethic? Do racing games make you a better driver?


-Even more striking for me is that Japanese games tend to be more violent than American games. But yet Japan doesn't immediately blame the media as America does.

Desensitization is something most of us acquire when we start playing videogames. But, in my case let me explain something logical:

Games have desensitizised me for sure, and so does movies to the point where in those media, it's very common for me seeing people die. But, there's a limit to everything. If in real life, I see someone get hit by a car, I would immediately lend my help to him, because I know he needs it if he wants to survive.

What I'm trying to say is that Games will never, and I'm very sure in my mind, desensitize me so much to the point where I'll see man get brutally hit by a car, start squirting out blood with all his legs broke and torn aside, and I'll just pass by walking without giving a crap about it.

Games have desensitized me, but they will never take away my common sense.

Until we really start studying video games, in all their diversity and within a social context, we just don't have enough information about them to know how they affect us. That's why we shouldn't blame what we think is the problem just because. None of us truly know about the subject.

Perhaps if all people were taught to analyze videogames in school the way they're taught to analyze art, religion or politics, we wouldn't be so quick to blame them for complicated social problems like violence and murder.

There are many people in this world, some of them being plain evil. And the ease with which people can be exposed to violent fiction doesn't mean that will justify or help us understand this at all.

But in the end, People are people, we're all living in a difficult world, being bombarded with views and different opinions all the time, we're all constantly surviving on flawed society which seems to get worse every minute now. And virtual violence, in a virtual world is not going to have much of a direct effect on a person's actions.

After all of this, and every single violent thing we come to see and hear everyday, sadly, this has become natural to our humanity.

You see, violence has been with us since the beginning, and will always be with us until the end.

 

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