Why Video Games Don’t Cause Violence

Sam Myers-Verhage, Journalist

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What comes to mind when you think of video games? Beating a difficult level, just to get to the next one? Spending hours of your day in a virtual world? Nostalgic moments with friends? Or… violence? A sizeable amount of Americans strongly believe that a number of violent acts committed are directly caused by or increased by violent video games. Yet that statement is wrong, because when looking at the facts, video games clearly don’t cause violence.

Articles published by CNN, Forbes, and other well known news sources have covered studies who have concluded that there is no evidence supporting the claim that video games directly cause or increase violence. The LA Times wrote, “About 20 percent were interested in violent video games, compared with 70 percent of the general population.” The correlation between videogames & violence committed by young men is surprisingly, opposite, losing momentum for the claim that video games directly cause violence. However, informational sources are not alone in their conclusions, but scientific studies as well. However, there isn’t just studies done on how many gamers play video games, but what those gamers feel when playing video games.

Studies have been done on the effects of gaming in teens, and the majority of them conclude that gaming does not cause violence. A study done by the Financial Times found that gaming for many is more than a release for violence. “Reports say that when playing video games, many gamers feel intense emotions of pride and achievement, these leading to positive feelings of becoming more relaxed and less anxious.” Gaming gives many a goal to work towards. This can give gamers a sense of purpose or a form of structure in their life. Yet it is not just studies that show this need for connection and purpose, but gamers themselves. 

The gaming community is not an entirely violent community. A sizable portion of the total number of games played are not violent. According to GameDesigning, based on the 20 most popular games of all time listed on copies sold, only 5 of the games are shooters, and 7 of them are rated M. To qualify a game as rated M, it must have violence or strong language or both. The most popular are video games such as Minecraft or the Super Mario Bros series. These games have no violence or blood in them, yet score in the top sales year after year. It demonstrates that violent video games don’t cause violence.

Gamers enjoy playing games that are not just outlets for emotions. Gamers enjoy creating their own worlds, connecting with a community, or just killing some time. The overwhelming majority of gamers don’t become violent in the real world, even if they play violent video games. Yet whenever there is a tragedy or crime committed, video games are always on the table when finding out the source of the crime committed.Video games are a way to create and explore worlds not possible in the real world. It is an outlet for feelings and ideas. It’s a way to connect with others halfway across the world. That is what gaming is. Not a cause for violence.