Do Video Games Breed Violent People?

You hear it on the news, you read about it in magazines and papers, and it’s the accepted word on the street – our society is becoming increasingly violent, and this is largely due to video games. People often point at the selection of wear related, or violence related video games and in one fell swoop, tarnish all video games as causing nothing but a decrease in the moral standard of our society, and with the same sweep, tarnish all young people who play these games as either actual or potential thugs, who will do little more than hang around on street corners mugging people, or causing other distressful crimes.

Although at first glance it would appear that statistics offered by these people appear to bear testimony to what they say, on closer examination it becomes very quickly apparent that the truth is much farther from this portrayal of it.

It is a fact that the accident and emergency wards of hospitals see a good number of young people who have been admitted as a result of violent crime. In fact, the actual number of such cases has fallen quite dramatically in recent years, although no such decrease has been seen in the number of video games being played, or in their popularity. It is also a fact that the vast majority of these young people who have been involved in violent crime are regular players of video games.

But this statistic is woefully misleading. Since ninety percent of young boys play video games, it is always going to be the case that any random selection of boys will result in the vast majority of them being regular players of video games. It would make as much sense to identify all the young boys who volunteer for charity work occasionally, or take part in fundraising, and then identify how many of them play video games regularly. Since ninety percent of all boys play video games regularly, then these fundraising charity volunteers are going to mostly be gamers – but this is not to suggest that playing video games make you more charitable, in just the same way that playing video games doesn’t make you a violent thug.

Forty percent of girls play video games, which is to say nearly half, so again, if nearly half of all girls admitted into hospital after being involved in a violent crime are branded as being there because of video games, it makes as much sense to suggest that by not playing video games, half the girls have ended up in hospital.

These are the statistics that those who have a deep mistrust of video games like to publicise, but upon closer inspection, these claims are wildly unfounded, based on hopelessly meaningless figures and provided as only half the truth. In fact, there is no evidence to suggest that playing video games makes a person become violent. The home life and upbringing has far more influence on a person’s social and moral attitudes that a computer game.