Let’s just for once move away from the common argument that video games are the culprit for violence or crime in the society. There are already enough reading materials about the negative effects. But looking at the other side of the coin, could it possibly have a positive effect such as decreasing violence?
Everybody is already all too familiar with games such as GTA, EverQuest, 25 to Life, and the like that have been linked to countless crimes – senseless High School killings and suicides are just some of them. If we look at all the media coverage about crimes committed allegedly because of them, then we can simply immediately conclude that the players are all doomed. But is there any proof at all that video games can actually decrease violence in the society?
In his writing for the International Journal of Liability and Scientific Enquiry, Patrick Kierkegaard of the University of Essex, England, explained that there is no obvious link between real world violence and the birth or the rise of video games. He further states that, despite the high number of media reported incidents about violence and video games, violent crime among the youth has decreased dramatically since the early 1990s. He cited one example statistic that “in 2005, there were 1,360,088 violent crimes reported in the USA compared with 1,423,677 the year before”.
According to another research, in the 30 year period that PlayStation 1 (1993), Grand Theft Auto, and PS2 (2003) have been released; the violent crime rate has decreased. This is according to data gathered about government data on crime as used by the FBI and adding the timeline that video game consoles or video games have started happening.
While the above findings would still merit enough debate for those in favor of the negativities, it is important to note that such findings exist. We have only been made aware of the researches (and news) about aggression and violence caused by these types of games. There is definitely more to an aggressive, violent individual than his love (or addiction) for the avatars and themes of the virtual world. There are existing studies that explore more than just the culprit but the underlying or pre-existing factors why a hostile individual is the way he is.
Media and the whole of society seem to forget their own responsibility as to why violence has been growing. It is easier to blame something that is so popular and convenient rather than examine clearly all other existing factors that may have caused a problem such as an aggressive behavior or violent crimes. There is too much bashing on GTA and WoW, that all other types of games never see the light of the day.
Inducing decision making, enhancing creativity, gaining self confidence, and acquiring problem-solving and cognitive skills are just some benefits that people take for granted or never consider at all. If these are what every video game player learns, then logical, creative, and confident individuals can be the by-products too, not just violence. Can’t we say that these kinds of individuals would also create a non-violent- video game- playing society?
It might still be a long-shot before people can finally see that there can be positive effects- if only the society will give it a chance. If only we look at the bigger picture of how an individual develops aggressive behavior without immediately concluding that it is just about the video games. If only there is no immediate negative bias or conclusions already formed because of high profile violent incidents, then a more scientific research can take place which would in the end result in effective ways to study and deal with violence in the society.