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In this current age, it is impossible to grow up without staining oneself with the thrill from gaming. Gaming has become part and parcel of the lives of many in the world today. In the media, as well as anywhere else, gaming is usually given a negative connotation: when you play violent games, you tend to become more violent. Is it true? Are gamers the ones committing all the violent crimes?
Recently in one of Singapore’s local university, a student committed suicide after stabbing his professor—for not giving him an ace for his paper. Many were curious over the cause of his irrational decision. Some pointed it out to the heavy stress; some thought it was the expectation for being an overseas scholar. Many, however, agrees and assumes that it had something to do with his love for gaming. Is it fair to assume that playing games of a violent nature makes the gamer violent? Is it fair to assume that the student would not have contemplated such a move had he not been a gamer?
Granted, being exposed to violent gaming day after day might have negative influence on the gamers’ judgment on violent behavior. However, who could say and prove that gaming makes a significant enough influence to instill violence within an individual? As rightly stated by Jonathan L. Freedman from the psychology department of the University of Toronto, many people assume the obvious, but many a times, the obvious may not be true. People need to reconsider their stereotype on gaming, and perhaps question the other factors which lead to the ultimate violence, instead of merely pushing all the blame to gaming
Furthermore, Jonathan L. Freedman brings the point further by stating that most of the studies done on gaming do not effectively gauge the effects of gaming on the individual due to the simple reason that it is impossible and ethically wrong to ‘allocate’ violent-natured games for the subjects to play daily, over a long period of time. In other words, many of the ‘proven facts’ from the various studies linking gaming to violence are concluded and given a green-light based on common sense on the researcher’s part.
Games—especially the violent nature of it—are constantly being faulted and made scapegoat whenever something goes awry in a person’s life. When kids do not do well in school, games are the first to be blamed. When relationship within the family is neglected, the child’s gaming activities are often highlighted. While these arguments do hold water, how could an act of violence possibly be caused by gaming? Indeed, there are countless studies to “prove” that gaming instills a certain degree of violence within the gamer. However, could gaming possibly be the cause of aggression? According to our survey, most gamers felt the effects of gaming the strongest when they were in the act itself. This is to say, gamers are only prone to violent behavior at the moment of gaming. The survey also shows that gamers felt a much weakest influence of gaming on their aggressiveness after the activity itself. All these goes a lot to show that gaming is not a convincing enough ‘reason’ behind the act of violence.
To say that gaming does not affect a person’s behavior is unthinkable and unbelievable. The issue now, however, is simply the fact that people blame the games far too much, and in the process shirks responsibility on their part.
Games have infiltrated the lives of many, and they’re there to stay. But luckily, we can safely say that these games are not, and will not convert us all into violent machines that would unleash our violent rage upon our surroundings. I mean, if that happens, Earth should have long been flattened by the by-product of gaming, right?
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