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Mythbusters: Are games the reason for the attacks?

It’s time to deal with the myth that playing games is the cause of shootings and other tragic events related to aggression.

Recently, a lot has been said about the many shootings taking place in the US. The statistics are scary. The number of unfortunate events involving the use of firearms means that the United States ingloriously stands out from other countries. And definitely.

On the occasion of the recent tragedies in El Paso and Dayton, there was once again a discussion about the reason for this and once again the argument was raised that games are to blame. Donald Trump himself was tempted to make this judgment. In his opinion, scary video games are to glorify violence, which, according to the US president, must be curbed. This is a very common and popular thesis, which, however, has no scientific evidence.

This topic has often been the subject of research specialists around the world. Among them were even scientists from the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg. A group of adults has undergone psychological tests to determine their level of aggression. Then the subjects were divided into three groups. One of them played GTA V for several hours a day for two months, the other devoted themselves to playing The Sims 3, while the third group did not have any contact with the games in the examined period. After this time, the tests carried out at the very beginning were repeated. The results clearly indicated that the level of aggression did not change in any group. There were no other changes in psyche or behavior.

German researchers checked the effects of games on adults, but what about children and young people? Whitney DeCamp from Western Michigan University, who took into account not only the direct impact of games on young people, but also the environment in which he lives. The survey raised questions about the desire to beat a friend or bring weapons to school. In addition, it was examined whether the person experienced aggression from others and how they relate to their family and surroundings. The professor examined 6.5 thousand teenagers in this way at the age of 13 and, like the researchers from Hamburg, did not notice any increase in aggressive behavior. Interestingly, the results of the test make you believe that it is the environment in which we find ourselves that has a much greater impact on how we behave.

Shootings, especially those involving teenagers, are undoubtedly tragic events. However, avoid simple and zero-one judgments. There are many reasons for whether someone has decided to take such a terrible step. Aggression and brutality, which, of course, appear in some titles, also appear in movies or simply on the web. Games should not, and as research shows, there are no grounds for them, the only reason why someone has taken the lives of many people.