No obvious change in video game violence

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

By Brooke Strickland

You’re sitting in front of your TV or computer shooting bad guys that pop up on the screen.  You reload your rifle, sharpen your sword, and start conquering levels, killing everyone wicked that crosses your path.  It’s fun shooting the bad guys, right? It is fun acting out violently in a video game because it’s not real, right?

Maybe, but when young people are devoting hours and even days at a time to playing violent video games, they become desensitized and in turn, become numb.  Before you know it, their reality has become skewed and they start acting aggressively in real life.

In July 2012, just one year ago, innocent lives were taken in a Colorado movie theater by a violent gunman.  And just a few months later, 6 and 7-year old children were killed as they sat in their classrooms in Connecticut. Researchers say that there is no clear link to video game violence and real life violence, but if your brain is spending hours memorizing how to load weapons, aim, and fire them via video games (with very true-to-life graphics), how can one not be influenced to act out?  Hollywood filmmaker Quentin Tarantino doesn’t believe that screen violence makes a big difference. When it comes to violent events and the link to entertainment, whether it be film, TV shows, or video games, he has been quoted saying, “Obviously, I don’t think one has to do with the other…obviously the issue is gun control and mental health.”  Jim Carrey, however, another big name actor, when talking about his latest film Kick-Ass 2 says, “Now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence.” (1)

Even with tragic events such as Sandy Hook Elementary, the theater shooting in Colorado, and the New Mexico teenage killer that murdered his family, we must ask ourselves: how is the violence in video games and movies affecting the developing young minds of our children today?  Whether you believe or not that violence affects them enough to act out physical acts of vehemence, consider what good comes out of letting our children see these images. Is there any positive? No.

If you or someone you know is addicted to violent video games, TV shows, or movies, there is a way to break free from this cycling of craving more and more violence. For more information on gaming addiction and help available for this issue, visit

  1. 1. “A year after Colorado shooting, little obvious change seen in TV, movie, video game violence.” The Washington Post. Associated Press. July 16, 2013.  Accessed July 24, 2013.