Gamers of the World Go Through the Worst Kind of Distortion

What can we do to stop this assault on our reputation?

Gamers all around the world are misrepresented by the media. So many people refer to them as violent, and disrespectful, among many other things. And we as gamers are often blamed for mass shootings, including those of school shootings, and many crimes that involve particularly violent teens.  

Those who blame these crimes and acts of violence and aggression are often those who haven’t actually played a game themselves, and if they had, its some older game they say they grew out of quick. These are the people who nowadays, misinterpret the video game industry as being violent, and to blame for many crimes and overall aggression.

 “We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately.”– Donald Trump

Even the president himself has resorted to blaming video games for mass shootings and crimes. 

  “There’s little scientific evidence to support the connection, and it may distract us from addressing those issues that we know contribute to real-world violence.”  That’s according to the Amplifier magazine, a magazine of the Society for Media and Technology. They go on to say that the links to crimes and video games can be considered “myth”. And when media outlets choose to link teenage crimes to video games, there is no significant tie between the two, and very little evidence is shown when the two are compared. Quote again from the society of media and technology,  “Such claims which are not based on research evidence may distract society from more substantive causes of violence like poverty, lack of treatment options for mental health as well as crime victimization among the mentally ill, and educational and employment disparities.”

With games such as Call of Duty, one of the most popular violent first-person shooter type games, or games like Mortal Kombat, where you fight fellow players to death, you would assume and expect the crime rates in the US to be rising, rising with the popularity and sheer density of violent video games produced and purchased over the years, but the exact opposite is occurring. Crime rates in the US have been on a steady decline since the ’90s, as shown by multiple statistics and sites. With all these overly violent games, the rate of crime is lower than it has been in years. While yes things like shootings have been on the rise, it is the number cause of child and adolescent death, just behind car crashes. However, in a video by the game theorists, creator MatPat demonstrated that while the rate of teenage shootings may be up, the correlation between the shootings and violent video games is not really shown. He mentions 18 incidents in which shooters were asked if they could blame video games as an influence for their shootings, out of those 18, only four of them had “noteworthy video game habits” he goes on to say that the crime rates of young men and the video game habits shown by young men have very little in common. Since around 75 percent of young men play video games, and since most mass shootings are committed by young men, the fact that some of them may play video games is not relevant. “Opponents to video games are mixing correlation with causation.” This video does a great job of making this point.

I have played video games my whole life, I played the original Xbox, 360, the Xbox one, the Game Cube, Wii, I’ve had multiple Ds’s, I’ve played the Playstation 2, 3 and 4. I’ve had access to video games my whole life. Both violent and nonviolent, I’ve played everything from Mario and Zelda to Halo and Grand Theft Auto. I’ve never been overly violent to my friends or family, yes I’ve gotten annoyed at a game, maybe even angry, I’ve thrown a controller, but never to break it, only ever hitting something soft as to preserve the controller itself. I’ve asked my stepdad, who has also been a long time video game player, his opinion on this topic. He stated that “video games for me have always been a sort of getaway from everyday life if I’ve had a stressful day and need time to wind down, I usually go and play Xbox, and yeah most of the games I play are violent, but I don’t think it made me more violent as a person” 

 So if you blame games for the violence in this world, I urge you to simply pick up a video game, play it for yourself,  and see for yourself that gaming is nothing more than a hobby that millions of people choose to partake in.