Do Video Games Influence Real Life Violence?

 

Debates into whether video games affect behaviour and violence in society have been around for a while.  There appears to be more than just games affecting people’s attitudes but it is implied that games do have a lot to do with it.  Cultivation theory states that when an audience spends a lot of time immersed in a media product they begin to believe that it is a true reflection on the world.  When the first episode of the popular US series ‘Friends’ was broadcast many woman began to copy Jennifer Aniston’s hairstyle.  This copycat behaviour could also be applied to violent games, copying the action seen onscreen.  The game promotes violence by rewarding the player when they murder in the game by advancing them to the next level.  This is then seen as a good thing and being able to do it in a ‘cool’ way then may attract them to do it in real life and the real life consequences are never shown in the game and the reality of right and wrong have become clouded based on cultivation theory.  Some however argue that games are used a stress relief, as a means to do the things we never would or could in real life.

 

Studies have shown that after playing shooter games players become desensitised to violence and killing removing the emotional impact of brutal acts making violence more like a game to be achieved.  This fuels the mind and urges people to test their gamer skills on a bigger level, in real life.  The nature of the game also effects how people react with others, Call of Duty is a game based around war but more than that patriotism, serving and protecting your country.  GTA4 is about a foreigner coming to America and murdering people and stealing cars so way people interpret the games will also vary.  Games act like an experience so you can live out another life without actually doing those things.  Some argue that they teach teenagers about violence so they can see that it is a horrible thing when done in real life and can discourage people from doing it as they know the results of their actions.

 

Fifia is a game that allows the player to play as a professional footballer; those that play the game have an active interest in the sport and some play the game in reality.  This can be related to shooter/fighting games where players enjoy it so much they want to experience it in real life.  Being a creative outlet or stress reliever appears to be the common counter argument to these statements but still on either side of the argument video games alone don’t seem to affect people behaviour there must be another variable or even a few at work beyond the blame of games.

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