Video games have come a long way since they were first introduced in 1967. In addition to the impressive improvement in graphics, the increase of the violent content has become quite the hot topic amongst parents and politicians alike. The most popular aspect is whether or not violent video games inhibit aggressive behavior. Early research that suggested there was a link between the two has been deemed problematic. However, in recent studies “research has not found that children who play violent video games are more violent than other kids, nor harmed in any other identifiable fashion.” (Ferguson, 2011) Violent video games do not lead to violence in society because they improve other skills, many other factors heavily contribute to making society violent, and they are a tool for social interaction. Of course the most obvious skill that video games improve would be visual skills. Video games allow gamers to be more attune to their surroundings and “greatly enhance the ability to effectively distribute attention over space and time, as well as the number of items that can be attended.” (Achtman, 2008) A press release from the American Psychological Association declares “Playing video games, including violent shooter games, may boost children’s learning, health, and social skills.” Playing simulated war games such as “Call of Duty: improves spatial navigation, reasoning, memory, and perception.
These types of games also inhibit enhanced abilities to problem solve. Without a doubt, the contents of today’s media are constantly on display for any man, woman, or child to see. Specifically, television, bringing the violent filled news and movies to any home with an open outlet. The homicide rate has doubled after television was introduced in the U.S. (Faria, 2013) Exposure to this form of media and the glorification of violent behavior on television has a great influence on society. Another factor to consider when reviewing the violence in society is the biological factors and environment one is exposed to. Heritage and temperament, and parental rejection-acceptance are considered common underlying causes of anger and aggression. (Blake & Harmin, 2007) Additionally, peer pressure can try to influence behaviors or try to influence thinking or values. Peer pressure can leave children with an enormous amount of stress which can lead to aggressive and violent behavior. At the same time, video games are a great tool for social interaction. Games such as “World of Warcraft” connect players to a virtual world where literally millions of other gamers are playing at the same time. These games allow you to talk to these other players via chat, either text or voice, and sometimes both. For that reason, gamers develop friendships online and as a result, keep away from drugs and other negative activities presented to them outside of the game, Also, the social aspects of the game promote teamwork and cooperation. (Frostling-Henningsson, 2009) Furthermore, the opportunity to strike up conversation presents itself in a less stressful manner so gamers are able to improve their social skills in this form as well.
Besides that, with players from all around the world, English is a second tongue to many gamers. Chatting online with other gamers presents the opportunity to practice their language skills and pick up on “slang” words to help them become more fluent in their speech. To that end, video games do not cause violence in society because they improve cognitive skills, other media forms are more correlated with aggression, and they are a building block in social connectedness. Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and aggression do not prove that any connection is evident. Any effects that may be displayed are indistinguishable from the effects of other types of media. (Brown, 2011) Video games have transformed the way generations can learn and have opened up a whole new world to the socially isolated. Moreover, video games have simply become society’s scapegoat when it comes to placing the blame for violence and aggressive behavior. When tragedy strikes, people want answers and will join forces in placing the blame. In the end, video games are merely a form of entertainment, as they were intended to be.