Violent Games Desensitize

Rebecca Gluck, Staff Writer

The news is plagued with awful stories of violence, loss, and heartbreak. However, as much as humans are horrified by it, studies have shown that they may subconsciously crave violence.
There are far more distressing stories on the front page of newspapers than there are uplifting ones. Researchers have discovered that the human brain is more sensitive to negativity than positivity, which could explain why somber articles are reported on more than ones about heroic individuals or kind deeds.
Brutal video games such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor seem to be designed to make killing look more like a recreational sport than a senseless act. By doing this, they take away from the entirely serious nature of murdering and of war. “The latest video games are becoming more realistic, which can be a con due to the thrill of killing someone and being rewarded,” sophomore Devyn Nan said.
Psychologists at Iowa State University conducted a study showing that playing violent video games can desensitize people to violence in the real world. Violence in these games triggers the reward center of the brain and makes acts like stabbing and shooting seem almost acceptable.
Gunmen such as the Sandy Hook Elementary shooter and the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooter have one important thing in common: both played violent and warlike video games. Although the two men were mentally ill, the video games may have fueled their malice.
Many homes with consoles have violent war-related video games in their collection of games. These games desensitize players to the horrors of violence and make them feel like violence is not such a serious matter. Therefore, they feel that it wouldn’t be such a big deal if they participated in it as well.
The ratings of video games should be more strictly enforced. There is a reason certain games are rated for mature audiences, while others are for younger people. Allowing children to play these types of games, desensitizes them to violence at a young age. Parents should discuss with their children, no matter what age they are, the difference between what happens in the video games and what happens in real life.
When buying violent video games, the consumer should be required to show identification stating that they are the appropriate age to own the games, or a guardian should sign a statement verifying this.
Yet, violent games are generally rated for mature audiences, meaning they are for players ages 17 and up. However, since it is difficult to enforce, even young kids in middle school can, and do, play these games.
It seems strange that when violence occurs in real life, it is obviously not acceptable, but the same horrors that are portrayed in video games are. While it’s unrealistic to ban these types of video games or ask that they be returned, the production of them should be significantly decreased.
Video games are only partially to blame. Everyday media such as television, movies, and the radio, contain violent images. People naturally get a thrill when exposed to violence, but modern media is taking it too far. It’s never been simpler to look up images of shootings or listen to a report on a massacre. For some children, the most enticing parts of movies are the fight scenes, which usually result in a characters’ murder. Instead of being horrified by violence in the media, the graphic qualities of these images have become second nature to us.