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Do video games cause violence? Show more Show less
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For decades, parents, psychologists, and neuroscientists have studied the potential connection between violent video games and the level of real-world violence displayed by the children and young adults who play them, especially those shown on the national stage for criminal activity and mass shootings. A plethora of research and academic study has erupted from this debate, contributing to our growing knowledge of how the brain works when interacting with video games and why further research into the topic is important. So, as we traverse a new world of technological advancement and even more complex immersion into video games, do video games cause violence?

No, video games do not cause violence Show more Show less

There is no proven correlation between playing violent games and real-world violence.
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There is no known link between violent crimes and video game use

Because there has never been any conclusive evidence that violent video games are a major cause of violent offenses and mass killings, the idea that there is some connection, even without a shred of definitive proof, is illogical.
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The Argument

Researchers and psychologists who have actually studied video games' effects on the brains of adolescents and young adults argue that there is no proven causation between video games and real-world violence or aggression. Prominent figures of scientific study, including within the American Psychological Association, believe that no evidence for a causal link between video games and violence has been found and, therefore, there is no such link in the first place. Violent video games have been targeted since the 1990's because of their rapid gain in popularity, but people, especially politicians, would be hard-pressed to find any definitive, research-based correlation between those video games and the mass shootings like Columbine and Marjory Stoneman Douglas over the years. Several researchers from large American universities have repeatedly denounced any linkage between the two, even as violent video games have become more and more popular among children and adolescents. Yes, some of the mass shooters have been self-proclaimed gamers, but this does not point to a direct parallel. The Supreme Court even struck down a California law banning the sale of some violent video games to children in 2011, based on the very fact that no evidence exists for the supposed correlation, and, therefore, no law can be set in place to curtail the sale of video games.[1] Additionally, Japan and South Korea have larger video game markets than the US or the UK, yet their rates of gun violence and mass shootings are incredibly low. Since much more data has been collected on violent crimes than the relatively rare cases of mass shootings, the definition of mass shooting itself is arbitrary. According to the American Psychological Association, “Scant evidence has emerged that makes any causal or correlational connection between playing violent video games and actually committing violent activities.”[2]

Counter arguments

Claiming that there is no correlation between violent video games and mass shootings based off of a lack of evidence for the affirmative counterpoint is irrational. Since the scarcity of mass shootings also produces a scarcity in sufficient data, there should be no definitive "yes" or "no" to the question. Also, several individual mass shooters have been self-proclaimed "gamers," and, in comparison to the small number of mass shootings, that percentage is not insignificant. To immediately claim a lack of proof for a correlation simply based off of lack of data on mass shootings as a whole completely undermines the aims of the research itself.

Framing

Fact is based off of extensive, real-world proof, and when there appears to be a complete absence of that proof in research and academic study, the "fact" is automatically problematic. Because research on mass shootings is insufficient, and there are no studies finding any correlation between violent video games and mass shootings, no evidence exists for this claim.

Premises

[P1] Lack of definitive evidence and sufficient real-world data automatically invalidates a supposed claim. [P2] No clear correlation in research studies has been detected between violent video games and mass shootings or actual acts of violence. [P3] Therefore, video games do not cause violence.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Just because there is a lack of evidence does not necessarily mean no proof exists for a claim. [Rejecting P2] If mass shootings are so rare and they cannot be sufficiently studied, researchers should not solely rely on those numbers if they are an incredibly small sample size. [Rejecting P3] Lack of sufficient data bars any certain "yes" or "no" answer here.

References

  1. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/08-1448.pdf
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/sports/trump-violent-video-games-studies.html
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 26 May 2020 at 08:56 UTC

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