I normally don’t tend to write academic pieces on my blog, but thought it was high time I actually attempted to put my degree to some use even in a recreational sense.
Video games have long been blamed as a source of society burdens through the glorification of violence, theft and many other crimes. Players are not only given the power to act in such a way but are often encouraged to act in this way to meet particular objectives within a fictional world. The question begging to be answered, do video games affect social behaviour?
One of the largest assumptions about video games is that they are all horrendously violent, a stereotype that is naturally false and this is what people must consider when attempting to understand the consequences of video games. There are thousands upon thousands of video games, ranging from horrendously violent to incredibly child friendly – with the impact of these games being proportionate to the traits these games seem to have (Gentile, et al., 2013). This is naturally a theory that has been tested several times, with studies finding that individuals who play prosocial games are more inclined to help others and increase positive affect (Saleem, et al., 2012).
It should be understood that there are studies that appear to refute this evidence, with some suggesting that violent video games actually decrease aggression in the individuals that play them (Rosenberg, et al., 2013).
Ultimately, there have been a wealth of studies with regards to video games and the impact they may have on those who wish to enjoy them – the majority of which have either been refuted or simply have evidence that supports a range of hypotheses. To those who believe that video games are a negative thing, that’s a fair opinion to have to long as it has at least some justification. To those who feel video games are harmless or positive, that’s great too.
As an individual who has enjoyed video games for the majority of his life, I have never felt an urge to be violent as a result of a violent action in a fictional reality much the same way in which I have never been inspired to help others due to a prosocial game. I believe I am much more than my exposure to video games, and I am capable of volunteering and also getting incredibly wound up because that is simply human nature.
Gentile, D. A., Groves, C. & Gentile, J. R., 2013. The general learning mode: Unveiling the learning potential from video games. In: F. C. Blumberg, ed. Learning by playing: Frontiers of video games in education. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 121-142.
Rosenberg, R. S., Baughman, S. L. & Bailenson, J. N., 2013. Virtual superheroes: using superpowers in virtual reality to encourage prosocial behavior. PloS one, 8(1), p. e55003.
Saleem, M., Anderson, C. A. & Gentile, D. A., 2012. Effects of prosocial, neutral, and violent video games on college students’ affect. Aggressive Behavior, 38(4), pp. 263-271.