Shooting in the Dark Recently there was an article in the New York Times called Shooting in the Dark by Benedict Carey. The article starts off reminding us of some tragic and violent shootings such as the Aurora, CO movie theater, Newton, CT elementary school, and Columbine High School. It goes on to say that the one thing these and other massacres had in common was that “they were video gamers who seemed to be acting out some dark digital fantasy.” Since the late 50s there have been a lot of studies and debates on whether video games have a negative effect. The debate grows even more relevant today due to the games being more realistic and violent. The article goes on to say that video games in the short term stir hostile urges and aggressive behavior. Christopher Bartlett, a psychologist at Iowa State University, carried out a study which concluded that a dose of violent video gaming makes the players act more “rudely” than usual though only for a few minutes. However, as one plays the game longer, they develop a habit and start exhibiting more aggressive behavior over time. The article tried to directly link video games to violence, but also stated that while video game sales have more than doubled, the number of violent crimes by youth have fallen by more than half. Craig A. Anderson, also a psychologist at ISU, believes that “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.” Instead of focusing solely on video games, more emphasis needs to be given to the individuals who play them This article was worth reading because as a fellow gamer, I had to see what the media was now accusing video games of doing. Video games are currently under America’s spot light due to the recent tragedies of Aurora, CO and Newtown, CT. Due to the violent nature of these crimes, many investigators have tagged video games as the cause. There have been many states that have tried to either ban certain video games or make them hard to obtain. Video games are currently the media’s scapegoat because the young men who carried out these heinous crimes also played violent video games, but millions of other Americans do as well and most are not committing crimes. One needs to look beyond video games to find the real cause of the violence. For many people, video games serve simply as an outlet. They play violent games so that they may release their stress without causing harm. As the article stated, the number of youth offenders fell by more than half between 1994 and 2010 to 224 per 100,000, according to government statistics, while sales of video games have more than doubled since 1996. The statistics show that video games are actually reducing violence by serving as a substitute and providing a safe outlet for all the aggression and anger. This allows for the relief of violent urges instead of incubating them which can lead to harm to others or one’s self down the road. The video games also keep violent people occupied, as every minute spent playing a video game is a minute not spent committing real violence. If video games were to be taken away from people experiencing anger and aggression, then they would have to substitute video game violence with real violence. Video games can also serve as a positive socialization and bonding experience for many young gamers. Many of the games require team cooperation to succeed and studies have shown when they play games like these, they continue to be more cooperative throughout the experiment. People who are unsocial in school can socialize and work as a team through video games, though there could be reason why they’re being unsocial in school.
In many of the recent