Opinion

Staff Editorial 3/4: Games don’t control violence

As rampage shootings become the increasingly popular crime of choice, many turn to violent video games as the answer to why this must be. But, there is no evidence this correlation exists.

Individuals are inclined to point fingers at video games as the link to violent behavior because it is easy to do so, but the push of a button on an Xbox 360 controller is not leading individuals to pull the trigger of a gun.

Though it is possible that criminals play violent video games, their choice to behave violently does not directly result from playing any game.

Recently, the Washington Post compared the amount of money spent on video games and gun-related homicide rates in 10 countries. The results showed that although the U.S. has the highest rate of gun-related murders, the Netherlands and South Korea spend more than twice the amount on video games, yet their gun-related murder rates are much lower.

The relationship between video games and violent behavior is virtually nonexistent. Playing violent video games for hours on end should not be anyone’s hobby of choice. However, it doesn’t seem to cause any harm in moderation.

For decades, video games and television shows have been called into question as a key factor that leads to certain individuals becoming murderers, rapists, sex offenders and robbers. But many people watch the same shows and play the same video games and don’t have a criminal record to back this theory up.

In an article published by the New York Times, new research shows that violent video games can cause a short-term period of aggressive behavior, but evidence does not prove that it will carry out in the long-term and cause someone to commit any violent crimes.

“None of these extreme acts, like a school shooting, occurs because of only one risk factor; there are many factors, including feeling socially isolated, being bullied and so on,” said Craig A. Anderson, a psychologist at Iowa State University. “… if you look at the literature, I think it’s clear that violent media is one factor; it’s not the largest factor, but it’s also not the smallest.”

The truth: We will never know  why Eric David Harris and Dylan Bennet Klebold committed the Columbine massacre; why James Holmes randomly shot up a Colorado movie theater; or why Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary school and killed 26 innocent people.

But we do know this: Criminals do not wake up one day and decide to commit a violent crime after playing a video game. It involves several factors that fester overtime.

 

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

March 3, 2013

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