Does Video Game Rage Exist?
A father in Texas is accused of killing his 2 year old daughter when she allegedly interrupted him while gaming. With disturbing news stories like this, it’s easy to see why there is an alarm going off for society to step back and take a look if there is a link between violent video games and rage.
Source: The Washington Post
Healthline states that there is a consistent relationship between violent video game use and aggression/rage. Specifically, video game rage decreases the following in the gamer:
- Prosocial behavior
- Sensitivity to aggression
Is Game Violence Just the Bogeyman?
It’s not a clear cut story of cause and effect. Since a driving simulation game called Death Race was pulled from an Illinois amusement park in 1976, the topic of video games causing rage has been a heated debate. According to The Guardian video game violence is a favored “bogeyman” for politicians, press and pressure groups, but definitive evidence is sorely lacking.
In a 2011 supreme court ruling Brown v. Entertainment Merchant Association/Entertainment Software Association (ESA) states that there is no proof that violent video games causes teenagers to act aggressively. In fact, Dr. Vic Strasburger, a Pediatrics Emeritus at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, states that violent video game use was just one of four factors for several school shooters he treated. The other three were victims of abuse and/or bullying, mental illness, and social isolation.
To date there has not been a reliable study clearing showing that violent video gaming causes rage. It is actually argued, by some gamers, to be a healthy outlet for “letting off steam”. Gaming is said to be a healthy form of escapism. But is it?
Ok for You, May Not be Ok for Me
Let’s face it, the graphics on video games today are amazingly lifelike and very realistic. Is it necessary or even healthy for an impressionable kid under the age of ten to witness and/or be a party a crime (i.e Grand Theft Auto); even if it is committed in a virtual world? Don’t you think these images are ingrained in their brains?
I can remember seeing a snippet of a movie preview for the Exorcist before my mother realized I was in the room. Just the music and quick image of a possessed Linda Blair was enough to give me nightmares for weeks on end.
How about being inserted into a war scene where you break into a flop sweat trying to kill insurgents before they kill you, way more interactive and therefore way more memorable in my opinion.
There may not be definitive proof that video games in themselves cause rage, but we must remember that in some cases violent video games are a catalyst for rage.