School shootings years ago in Paducah, Kentucky; Jonesboro, Arkansas; and Littleton Colorado, have raised the question time and time again. Do violent video games have an influence on children and their aggressive behavior? In all three of these brutal shootings, all the shooters were students who habitually played violent video games. The Columbine High School students who murdered thirteen and wounded twenty-three in Littleton before committing suicide after the shooting, enjoyed playing Doom, a bloody and violent video game. One of the shooters made a customized version of Doom: two shooters, unlimited ammunition, extra weapons, and victims who couldn’t fight back. This customized version of the game was surprisingly similar to the actual school shooting.
To investigate this question to find out if it is true, I read two articles: “Does Playing Violent Video Games Cause Aggressive Behavior?”, by Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein, and “Children and Violent Video Games: Are There ‘High Risk’ Players?”, by Jeanne B. Funk. In Goldstein’s article, he explains that controlled experiments cannot determine if violent video games cause aggressive behavior in children. He argues that children choose to play those violent video games because they want to be stimulated in that way. He argues that this cannot be truly measured because kids do not “play” when they are being tested in a laboratory. He says, “They
enter an imaginary world with a playful frame of mind, something entirely missing from laboratory studies of violent video games. One of the pleasures of play is this very suspension of reality. Laboratory experiments cannot tell us what the effects of playing video games are, because there is no sense in which participants in these studies ‘play’” (Goldstein 43). However Goldstein does believe that violent video games in some way, there is just no clear way to prove it. In Funk’s article, she argues that some children are more vulnerable to
Cited: Goldstein, Jeffrey. “Does Playing Violent Video Games Cause Aggressive Behavior?” Playing by the Rules. Chicago: Cultural Policy Center, 2001. Print Funk, Jeanne. “Children and Violent Video Games: Are There "High Risk" Players?” www.afim.org/highrisk.pdf. Jan. 30 2009. Web. Oct 10, 2010