Critics of video games have long used “violent video games” as a scapegoat for acts of violence. Personally, I believe there is no correlation between the violence in video games and the violence we see in today’s society. As a culture I believe we have retracted from taking responsibility for our actions and instead use the first opportunity given to place blame on anything but ourselves.
In Violent Media is Good for Kids, Gerard Jones, a renowned comic book author, examines how violence in video games and music strengthen today’s children more than they hurt them. Jones uses his son to support his argument by describing how Tarzan comics helped his son to overcome the fear of climbing trees. His son feared the sharp branches and the possibility of falling. According to Jones, the Tarzan comics were “rich in combat and bright with flashing knives.” This emboldened his son to conquer his fears and climb the tree at school. Max fisher of the Washington Post examined crime data of 10 countries with the largest video game markets and concluded that there is “no evident, statistical correlation between video game consumption and gun-related killings.” Melanie Moore, Ph.D., a psychologist who works with teens suggested that children need violent media to “Explore the inescapable feelings that have been taught to deny and to reintegrate those feelings into a more whole, more complex, more resilient selfhood.” Jones and Moore both have kids and studied ways in which kids use violent media to meet their emotional and developmental needs.
My brother is in the 8th grade, and leads his school’s debate, whiz quiz and mock trial teams. He is a member of the national honor society and received the president’s award for academic excellence. Outside of school and sports, my brother is what you would call a “hardcore gamer.” Fifa, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed and Skyrim are some of the games he plays on a daily basis. There is no shortage of gun battles, slayings, and ruthlessness in his games, but to succeed and complete missions my brother said that he had to develop a competitive nature that embraces strategical and logical decision-making skills. If anything, games have been a vessel through which he is able to enjoy casual interaction with like-minded individuals. In part, his character is a product of his environment, so I believe having a strong support system has played a vital role in keeping him grounded and in control of his emotions. These are just a few examples on how violent video games can benefit a child, and although I can see how violence in media can add to a child’s desensitization, I believe it will take more than just media to push one to go over the edge.