Do video games promote negative behavior?


This graph is based off the official Mass Shooting tracker website, which actually goes all the way back to 2013, to check out more statistics that are from even more dates than just 2017.

James Warren, Staff Writer

This past year there has been a high amount of school shootings. Post shootings, there have been a lot of people who have participated in forms of protest, like the walkout that happened on twentieth of April.

This subject brings up a topic that has seemed to die down over the years. Are students being influenced by negative aspects of video games? Some people do get affected by these simulations in a number of ways. For a hypothetical example; a person acting on events from video games, like playing a first-person-shooter, then thinking about doing those actions in real life.

South high Freshman Larson Freeberg is one student who has a strong opinion on the topic, “I don’t think they should be perceived as something bad for you until you get to a point of addiction,” Freeberg said. He even says that he’s seen people go into what he calls a “hole of gaming,” where they avoid things like eating and spending time with friends to play video games, possibly causing a decrease in their social life.

Biology teacher Steve Smith said “As a teacher I’m seeing a lot less disturbances in the classroom, I think it’s because of the phone, which is actually a problem because less disturbances in the classroom means less people are engaged.” Smith has an opinion not to far off from Freebergs when it comes to people’s addictions to these devices but it is a lot more direct; “If that’s all you do and it excludes everything else, you got a problem.”

“The issue is always with us, it’s not the object. We can name anything; a hammer, it can kill people or it can build a house, but it’s the same hammer. It depends on what you want to do with it,” said Smith.

Charlie Chinander-Mcfaul, a freshman at South, has been playing video games since he was in the second grade but started playing more violent games not to many years after that. “My family was always ok with it, but I heard some of my friends families, if there were guns or something else like that in it, they weren’t aloud to play it and I was kinda surprised about that.” Chinander-Mcfaul said.

After considering opinions like these; a good question to ask is why do they do it in the first place? Smith believes that it’s about pain, “trying to escape something and now they can’t get off it… I probably play to much of that stuff myself but every time I’m like wait a minute, I got to stop but maybe some people aren’t able to do that.”

Even though Chinander-Mcfaul was exposed to those kinds of games at a young age, he doesn’t believe it’s affected him in a negative way, but he thinks that people do negative actions at high school ages because, “If you’re gonna do something like shooting someone, you already have that mentality and I don’t think a game is gonna make you want to kill somebody anymore than you did before,” he explained.

Freeberg has a theory of why the younger generation is affected negatively. He explains, “Honestly, I would hate to say the parents. But since that’s accurate as the game developer is intending for an older viewers obviously by the way they rate the game.” He continues by saying, “it’s just a parent that doesn’t care, I think once they’re like fourteen it doesn’t matter but even just that young of an age, there is a lot of things they can be exposed to.”

Smith said he believes that, “You can’t stop what’s out there, it’s just how are you gonna behave with it? Are you gonna be positive or are you just gonna let it control you? That could be about anything you want.”

According to Chinander-McFaul, “I think there is a lot more important things for people to be talking about… there are a lot more important issues that can still be connected to shootings in general.”

Based on these three individuals opinions there doesn’t seem to be any proof that video games do or don’t promote negative behavior for students, but take these previous opinions and keep them in mind. Smith was curious about weather or not we could officially test something like this and get good enough proof to prove to support some people’s opinion of video games actually doing this but since that opinion has died down a bit, the chances of it happening are slim.