Violence in Video Games…Again!

The author of this blog is recovering gamer, Alex Puzey, who is a frequent contributor to this site.

Concerned about recent violence that seems to be tied to video games, I combed through copious articles regarding the news from the Norway bombing. The killer claims to have been inspired by “Call of Duty.” And just yesterday here in the U.S., a 14-year old in Georgia apparently stabbed his grandmother and killed his great-grandmother with a 3-foot sword because they denied him access to “Halo.” Once again, I have really started to ask myself if videogames cause violence, or are just somehow associated with these horrific incidents. Now, personally, still being a hardcore gamer and recovering addict, I admit there have been times I grew frustrated, sometimes angry. I never caved in to this kind of behavior by lashing out at others. I wonder why these two young men became violent. Was it videogames that pushed them to it?

As it has been said in multiple studies over the last few years, video games do not cause violence, so much as they can bring it to the surface in those that exhibit some warning signs in their personality. We need to watch out for high neuroticism, low conscientiousness, and of course, past history of violence. The teen in Georgia had been arrested twice for violent outbreaks, and oddly enough, discharged from the hospital. Young people who exhibit a tendency to stay angry, lack agreeableness and skirt the social margins should not be allowed to play violent video games. In all cases where violent behavior was correlated with violent video games, disturbing personality traits existed long before individuals pursued their penchant for screen-mediated destruction. So, to be direct, we need to take heed when these behaviors exhibit themselves, and understand that these warning signs need to be taken seriously, instead of coming to snap-judgements on gaming, and misinterpreting correlation as causation when it comes to cases like this.


14 Responses to “Violence in Video Games…Again!”

  1. Charlie says:

    I think that people should start looking in different directions for where the violence comes from. Im a gamer myself, and I never hurt anyone unless they are trying to hurt me. For example, during a big sports game (like hockey or football), police are ready outside because there is almost always fights between fans afterwards. And now lets go to E3(the largest video games convention of the year), there are no cops, no fights, just people enjoying themselves.

    • kevin says:

      Charley, I certainly think you make sense. After Columbine, scrutiny of video gaming took on an unnecessarily alarmist attitude. How did you find out about this website, out of curiosity?

  2. Will E. says:

    I think that pert of the problem is the venders of the games. While the creators of the games put a maturity warning on the game itself I have found that most game venders leave it mixed in with all the other rated games, instead of having a separate section for these types of games.
    Another factor is that only the person purchasing the game has to be of a certain age once out of the store he/she could hand it off to a minor or just be playing it with younger kids around and it has nearly the same effect as the child buying the game themselves.

    • kevin says:

      Will, you are so right on! Yes, the game companies really should put some warnings on these things. There have even been a few lawsuits making that point. I appreciate your feedback!

  3. Alex, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Your insights are needed in the world. You are a great inspiration to others that there is hope beyond the suffering. I hope you will share more of your story!

  4. Patty says:

    This could be turned into a wonderful editorial column for the Detroit Free Press. I hope you’ll consider that! Your pov is very valuable.

    • kevin says:

      Thank you Patty. The Colonel and I will give consideration to your suggestion. It’s nice to get such positive feedback from such a fine Kentucky native. I will seriously think of heeding your advice.

  5. Karen says:

    I would imagine, like most things, that a person predisposed to violence will be more likely to act out with any form of encouragement to such actions. Certainly violent video games fall into that category.

    Good piece Alex!

    • kevin says:

      Thanks for the feedback! I agree society needs to understand that video games themselves don’t invoke violence, but they can bring it to the surface in people, that you said, are predisposed to violence; but not moreso than exposure to other violent media, even books

  6. Michael says:

    Interesting. Thank you Alex.

  7. jim says:

    Many great points, good work. far too many adults use the games as a babysitter, leaving the kids to teach themselves right & wrong. Acknowledging the warning signs would be admitting their own short comings.

    • kevin says:

      I experienced a lot of this growing up, and can only be thankful I lack the violent mentality like some of these people, thanks for the comment!

  8. Jerry says:

    Alex, once again I honor your courage to be open about your own struggles and to use them to help others!

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