Opinion: Violent video games not the problem

Posted on Apr 2 2018 - 5:35am by Woody Dobson

Today, numerous genres of video games exist for enjoyment and the development of strategic skills. Video games, such as role-playing, puzzle and even “shooter” games like “Call of Duty” and “Battlefield,” are unique, practical and revolutionary for the modern generation.

However, the general populace of America feels as if “shooter” titles promote the use of violence.

Recently in Mississippi, a Monroe County 9-year-old shot his sister to death over a video game controller. This violent interaction led to a considerable political resurgence against violent video games.

Growing up, I remember playing my first violent video game. It was an “X-Men” fighting game played on the PlayStation 1, and though the video game didn’t show any blood, my mother was at first opposed.

Nevertheless, as I got older, I started to play the more mature “Grand Theft Auto” series at the ripe age of 12. Although this ascension to violence was rather quick and seemed illogical to many other parents of my community, this early exposure allowed me grow into a competent, mature child by dissecting real-world content.

Rather than the dangers of video games, the tragedy in Monroe County signifies the dangers of improper parenting. Parents not knowing if their child is ready to play a violent video game is a danger in and of itself.

Although I was 12 when I started playing “Grand Theft Auto,” my parents taught me a considerable amount of real world knowledge beforehand, such as not to run over people with a car just because I could.

Astonishingly, it doesn’t surprise me that Mississippi is the target for the next phase of protests surrounding video game violence, since we rank so low in educational attainment.

Education is ultimately the most powerful weapon embedded within video games. And despite what some might say, the educational power of video games peaks when a child plays a violent video game since these titles tend to be content-heavy.

For example, the recent “shooter” title, “Call of Duty World War II,” not only possesses heavily violent content but also provides an often accurate depiction of World War II.

While parents tend to suppress important historical content such as war and undermine its possible value to youngsters, violent video games can promote learning history and improving memory, even when children engage in a virtual playground of fake conflict.

While America is plagued with an ever-increasing amount of violence such as shootings and bombings, avoiding video games due to their violent content is completely illogical.

Just this year, veterans have started to use virtual reality to combat the debilitating effects of PTSD. Stories such as this show how video games can promote revolutionary technology and increase childhood learning capabilities, even when they contain violence.

Without video games, it seems that the world would miss out on large amounts of viable information.

Woody Dobson is a senior political science major from Tupelo.