Video games don’t sway people to shoot up schools

By: John Eppich

We are only three months into 2018, and already, we have another mass shooting making headlines. This mass shooting, however, has been extremely different as the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting have been calling for politicians to do their job and pass legislation to create a safer America for everyone.

Regardless of whether or not one agrees with the students, this is the first time the victims have been explicitly put in the spotlight asking for stricter gun laws. Despite this, the current Republican run government has decided to not listen to the students and put the blame on something else — violent video games.

No, video games do not cause violence in people.

The proof is in the fact that millions of games are sold in America. With a decent chunk of the population playing video games, you would think shootings would be more rampant.

President Donald Trump stated his concern is that the youth of America is having their thoughts shaped by games like “Call of Duty” and “Grand Theft Auto.”

While I will admit that, yes, these games include violent scenes and put people in violent situations, they are not the cause of violence. If that was the case, there would not have been two world wars and several other proxy wars prior to the release of video games.

There was a time when books were considered dangerous to people. Then, we blamed television and movies. Now, we blame video games. We should be blaming the real cause of the violence: people.

Humanity is violent. Taking one look into our past, one would see how much we love to kill one another just to make our point clear. Society’s heart needs to change.

Something that bothers me about Trump blaming video games for causing this behavior is that, for some people, video games are actually a way to connect.

Violent people are often disconnected. They blame the world for their problems and are outcasts. Video games, like all media, are therapeutic and act as a bridge for people to work together. “Call of Duty” may include scenes of violence, but the game is also a social tool. In multi-player, you work together with a group of people from all different backgrounds in order for your team to win. It is just like how sports work.

Video games are also an art form. Some video games use their gameplay to tell a story. “Assassin’s Creed” is especially famous for its violence, but it is also known for its narrative, which teaches its players about world history. The main focus of the game is to tell a compelling story.

For people who are worried about certain material being shown to their children, there is a rating system for this very reason. The Entertainment Software Rating Board reviews every game that is released on store shelves so children do not play inappropriate games. However, I would recommend that parents play a role in a child’s video game life.

Video games are not meant to keep your child busy while you as a parent are in another room doing something else. Parents should be watching their child play and enjoying quality time with their child, not letting the video game act like a babysitter.

I remember playing the “Legend of Zelda” with my dad when I was younger. I would play many other video games with him as well. Instead of letting the video game babysit me while he could do work around the house, he would act as someone I could talk to and bounce ideas off when I got stuck. He would also act as someone to calm me down if I ever got frustrated with being killed by the same boss over and over again.

That time spent with my father helped me become who I am today. Video games became my tool for stress relief and how I could spend time with my friends whether it be online or over at my house.

Video games are not really the issue when it comes to the horrific violence in society. The cause of violence is people. I think pointing the blame on video games rather than politicians not doing their job to protect Americans is completely illogical, as time and time again, we have seen people call new media dangerous.

I think it is time for politicians to actually take charge and listen to what the victims of Parkland have to say instead of pointing fingers at a non-issue.