Video Games and Violent Behavior in Adolescents

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Video Games and Violent Behavior in Adolescents

Adolescent violence has been an on-going problem in the United States. There are many factors that contribute to violent behavior in adolescents. One contributing element to this problem is video games. However, violent video games are not the primary cause of violence in adolescents.

Violent behavior in adolescents has made headlines in the last few years. There have been a number of school shootings in the past three decades which correlates to the rise of video games. The late 1980’s through the early 1990’s saw a sharp increase in the number of shootings. And from 1997 to 1999 there was another outbreak of shootings after the decline of the prior few years. This pattern of violent behavior has caused some to single out video games as the root cause.

In contrast to this is the fact that students have been committing shootings at schools since the 1950’s, long before video games were developed. And this is just shootings, violence occurred at schools long before the 1950’s. It was just in a different form, usually stabbings and beatings. Also, while school shootings may have occurred more in the past few decades, overall the rate of violence has decreased as the popularity of video games has increased.

When a tragedy occurs society likes to be able to point a finger at something to explain it. This allows people to cope with the aftermath. It also gives people the illusion of control because if they know why then they think they can prevent. Saying that video games are the cause of violence instills that sense of order, granting parents some peace of mind if only they would eliminate violent video games.

In reality there is no one cause of behavior. While violent video games may affect the type of violence they do not instill in adolescents the desire to harm others. Also, this desire to assign blame has led to video games getting a bad rap. In the hours after the Virginia Tech shooting on April 16,...
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