If you were God for a day, what would you do?
Should violent video games be banned?
97% of 12-17 year olds in the US played video games in 2008, thus fueling an $11.7 billion domestic video game industry. In 2008, 10 of the top 20 bestselling video games in the US contained violence.
Violent video games have been blamed for school shootings, increases in bullying, and violence towards women. Critics argue that these games desensitize players to violence, reward players for simulating violence, and teach children that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflicts.
The controversy over violent video games resurfaced following the massacre of 13 people at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, CO on Apr. 20, 1999. The two teenage shooters were revealed to be avid players of weapon-based combat games Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. Following the shooting, 176 newspaper articles across the country focused on the allegation that video games were the cause of the tragedy.
Within hours of the Virginia Tech shooting on Apr. 16, 2007, attorney and anti-game activist Jack Thompson appeared on Fox News to blame the tragedy on the violent game CounterStrike. Other high-profile figures such as television host Dr. Phil McGraw and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney argued that video games were to blame for the shooting. However, it was later revealed by the Virginia Tech Review Panel that the shooter did not play video games.
Critics of violent video games argue that playing violent games desensitizes players to real-life violence and is responsible for the increasing rates of bullying. In 2007, 32% of students aged 12-18 reported being bullied at school, compared to 5% in 1999. Some researchers are concerned that violent video games teach children that violence is an acceptable approach to solving conflicts and achieving goals.
Defenders of violent video games argue that the research has failed to show a causal...