Mar 01st 2018

Video games, violence, and school shootings

A 16 year old made a threat on social media. It was taken seriously, and as a punishment a judge ordered that he was no longer allowed to play violent video games. After a threat of violence is removing someone's access to something the right choice? Especially when many consider it a form of art?

According to the Chicago Tribune, in DuPage county Chicago threats of violence were made against a school. They were looked into and found to be false. However, many parents had already started to get their kids to take them home, so they closed the school early. This sparked a lot of discussion over the weekend. The 16 year old was clearly annoyed by this, and posted a Snapchat where he said, "Y’all need to shut up about school shootings or I’ll do one," while playing a post apocalyptic war game. 

Another student reported this to the authorities at the school, and they took it to police. Police arrested him and searched his home. They didn't find any guns, and his parents said they didn't keep any. He was kept overnight and the next day went before a judge charged with felony disorderly conduct. The judge sentenced him to indefinite home detention during which his parents would have his smartphone, and he would be forbidden from playing violent video games. Judge Robert Anderson was reported as saying, "You can play all the Mario Kart you want."

This falls in line with many people who think video games cause violence. It also is one of the popular theories out there that video games are a big cause of the recent school shootings across the United States. Is this grounded in fact, or just an attempt to find something to blame?

Well, the scientific community has been looking into this for quite a while now. Early in the research it seemed clear that violent video games led to people becoming more violent. Even the American Psychological Association says officially that video games cause violence. However, as time went on and methods improved it seemed to be untrue, and in certain instances the opposite. Especially when looking at long term effects of playing violent video games. 

Society is very split on this issue. As more studies are done more information will come out. It will help unravel what is really going on in connection with such an interactive media as video games and violence. It is a complicated subject, and it will take a lot of time and effort before the answer is clear enough to satisfy most people.

What do you think? Did the judge make the right decision, or was it unnecessary? Do video games make people violent? Do violent games contribute to school shootings? Do violent people play violent video games? Do violent video games release violent urges in a safe environment? Should violence in games be restricted more? There's just so many questions surrounding this. Let me know what you think about all of it, or if you have more information on anything you'd like to share.