There are five major medical and psychological associations that agree violent video games cause an increase in aggressive behavior and violence. Those five associations are The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Psychiatric Association and The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. These associations issued a joint statement to Congress back in 2000 after 30 plus years of research and two giant meta-analysis proved a causal link between video games and violence. The statement explains that the link between violent video games and aggression is well-established. In fact, psychologists are now begging for the debate to move beyond the question of whether or not there is a link between violent video games and aggression and onto the question of why people continue to ignore the evidence of this fact. Last month, the game Grand Theft Auto drove an 8 year old boy straight to murder his own grandmother, and yet, some members of the public continue to deny that violent video games cause violence.
An 8 year old boy from Louisiana had been playing Grand Theft Auto while his grandmother, Marie Smothers, 87, looked on. The sheriff’s department concluded that the boy “intentionally shot Mrs. Smothers in the back of the head as she sat in her living room watching television.” They further concluded that the game directly contributed to the boys’ murderous actions, saying “…investigators have learned that the juvenile suspect was playing a video game on the Play Station III ‘Grand Theft Auto IV,’ a realistic game that has been associated with encouraging violence and awards points to players for killing people, just minutes before the homicide occurred.”
Doctors, psychologists and credentialed experts all agree that there is a direct causal link between video games and violence, and not only that, now experts are saying that violent video games may enable mass shooters to do a better job in carrying out their killings by teaching them to be better shooters. In speaking about Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, psychologist Brad Bushman says “it is possible that Alexis was a more accurate shooter because of the time he spent playing video games. That’s an inconvenient fact that you don’t often hear defenders of the games talk about.”
Speaking of “defenders of the games,” they are a very difficult group of people to engage in discussion about this issue. They become enraged when presented with the facts about video games, throw out insults at the observer and ignore the huge body of research that proves them wrong. The culprit behind their outrage is a scientist names Christopher Ferguson. He is the person responsible for clouding the discussion about video games and violence. He’s conducted his own studies and concluded that he has found no link between video games and an increase in aggressive behavior. He is extremely outspoken in the media, and there are thousands of news articles that report his findings. He has managed to dupe millions of people into believing his studies despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Now, an 8 year old has been driven straight to murder; the murder of his own 87 year old grandmother, by the game Grand Theft Auto, a game which awards players points for killing people. But it’s not just this one little boy who has been directly inspired to murder because of the game; all around the world there are multiple reports of Grand Theft Auto-inspired murders. Devin Thompson, 18, of Alabama, killed a dispatcher and two police officers in an attempt to re-create a real life version of the game. He later admitted this to investigators, saying “Life is a video game. You’ve got to die sometime.” The problem is not confined to the United States, though, in Thailand, teenager Polwat Chino admitted to police that he committed the murder of a taxi driver because of the game, saying “killing seemed easy in the game.”
In Georgia, three teenagers said they “learned how to do it” from the game when referring to multiple car bombings they carried out. In Hyde Park, NY, a group of teens went on a crime spree they claimed was directly inspired by the game.
Despite 30 years of evidence, an 8 year old boy murdering his own grandmother, and teens freely admitting that they committed violence because of the game Grand Theft Auto, people still refuse to believe there is any link between violent video games and violence. If 87 year old Marie Smothers were alive today, she would probably set them straight.
By: Rebecca Savastio