violent video games 9/17

We are currently locked in a blaming game between video games and violence. Who is to blame?

Hint: Not video games.

The most recent shooting has had people, including our president, pointing the blame finger at video games. Since we struggle to understand the mentality of those killers, we blame an easy target. After the Columbine High School massacre, Marylin Manson and music were blamed for the crimes. Now, it’s video games like “Call of Duty” or “Super Smash Brothers Ultimate” or even “Pokémon Sword & Shield.”

“What a shame” to blame video games, Andrew Przybylski, an associate professor at the University of Oxford who studies digital media, said in an article for CNN in 2019.

The author or the article Arman Azad wrote there is more to violent acts like mass shootings. Unfortunately, this world has been plagued with violence long before the creation of video games.

“By blaming video games instead of digging deeper into the root causes of violence, we reduce the value of the political discourse on the topic, because we're looking for easy answers instead of facing hard truths,” Azad wrote.

Jon Minniear, who owns Rock Em Sock Em Retro located in downtown Bowling Green, said, “Humans are not wired to be violent. There has to be something else to cause the violence … If video games were truly the cause, then how come people don’t want to join the military because of ‘Call of Duty’ or becoming a racecar driver like in ‘Mario Kart?’” Minniear said.

Video games are like books or movies. They’re entertainment for many people. This particular medium is a little easier to blame because it is newer, only joining the entertainment realm as early as the 1970s. As the world grew, video games grew alongside us. We started from an 8-bit plumber running across pixelated platforms to save a princess to a human falling into a monster underworld in more complex games like “Undertale.”

Personally, I think there is a complex issue that we, as a society, are experiencing. We can blame video games, music, movies or even parenting styles all we want, but playing this blaming game won’t stop a shooter. In order to stop these tragedies, we have to come up with a solution. But what is the solution? Teaching more compassion and love? Banning violent video games and guns? The answer, for now, isn’t clear.

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