The Connections Between Video Games and Their Influence on Children

Within the past few months, mass shootings in the US have been very prominent. When discussing what might be the reasons behind them, many news outlets will often blame violent video games as the motives that might be behind the shooters’ intentions. However, is this really true? The claims made by these outlets seem to be baseless and made without any second thought. People born in previous generations always seem to bash on the newer generations because they don’t take the time to/refuse to learn about what has changed since then and often blame all our problems on the technology currently available to us. Blaming these mass shootings over games just seems like another example of such.

 Many studies have been conducted researching the link between the two, with almost all of them showing little to no links if any at all. The internet easily enables research to be done on the topic, and therefore conclusions made by others that researched the topic. Yet, it appears as if no news outlets have decided to actually research their claims to justify if they are true. Moreover, many other countries that have the same video games as us have nowhere near the number of shootings in the US, some of them having none entirely. In the end, it isn’t a matter of video games causing mass shootings, but rather, a lack of gun control.

Another concern is if video games are bad influences on children in general. A lot of the games that are considered “bad influences” on children are often the same ones “blamed” as the causes of gun violence. Many video games have a rating that indicates the age group the game is intended for. Every region has its own organization to assign these ratings. The ratings differ in various regions, but the concept is all the same. Many of the games often being blamed as causes of violence have an “M” rating in North America. The “M” stands for “Mature” and indicates that the game is suitable for those that are 17+. Every game has its rating displayed in the bottom left corner of the packaging. Sure, it’s small, but it exists. It would appear as if a surprising amount of parents somehow don’t notice the bold black letter in the corner of the game’s packaging when buying the game with no second thought as to what it might mean, and then blame the game for being a bad influence and not making it obvious for what it might have in it at first. Some parents could be under the mentality that “all games are for kids” and that what is portrayed was a way of sneaking such content past parents toward children. Not caring about the ratings and then blaming the game for being a bad influence could be considered bad parenting. Ironically, the ESRB (the organization that rates video games in North America) was created as a result of the same controversy that is happening right now. The organization was started in 1994 after government hearings that discussed the potential bad influences of games on children.

Written By: Marco Zepeda