HeyU Issue 54 - 24 April - Page 25

ROUND three Do video games encourage violence? Tom I remember watching WWE wrestling when I was younger, and at the start of every episode, they would always display the same disclaimer: ‘these stunts are performed by professionals, do not try these at home.’ Did that stop us from attempting to ‘Stone Cold Steve Austin’ each other on mattresses in the lounge room? Absolutely not. While these video games often have disclaimers and don’t explicitly endorse driving on the footpath and through shopping malls, games like Grand Theft Auto could be seen as normalising this sort of behaviour. While this isn’t just a video game issue, as society has become a lot more desensitised to violence through various forms of pop culture, with so many games based on violent themes and objectives, it can’t be ignored that they are probably contributing to the problem. There have been so many cases of people blaming video games for violent behaviour. Along with ‘Guns don’t kill people’, the saying ‘if GTA makes me a car thief, does Surgeon Simulator make me a surgeon?’ has almost become a household staple saying in America. Many studies have been done about the relationship between violence and video games, but most recent research indicates that there is no correlation between the two. The same study found that violence is more likely to be linked with other influences such as upbringing, social situation and peer pressure. I can see violence could be a problem when particular games are played by someone very young and more prone to emulating figures they see, but this is why games have ratings. Nik While having differing views on the topic of whether video games are bad for you, both authors could agree that, like with everything, moderation is key. The future of gaming technology has the potential to influence society positively (for example the use of flight simulators for aviation students*** and virtual reality for remote surgery), but only time will tell how future generations will harness this potential.