After the shooting in the Santa Fe high school, in which 10 lives were lost, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the blame should not be put on guns themselves but on violent video games.
Too many times has the blame for tragedies like Santa Fe been put onto video games and their developers. Outrageous claims have been thrown around saying that video games train children to kill, which are just wrong. If anything, video games make children or people more competitive and can at times promote better behavior.
Although we often see people playing video games as obnoxious, annoying adults with massive egos, but a majority of these people are simply playing these games for fun. Video games like Fortnite can promote better communication skills between players. Sid Meier’s Civilization, a game in which the player controls a civilization from the dawn of time till the modern age, requires the player to make deals and pacts with other civilizations to avoid conflict. The Battlefield franchise, a well known First Person Shooter, or FPS, allows players to also play as combat medics, or take on the role of a general who assists troops by dropping vehicles to the ground. These games can promote good behaviors and even teach children to be team players or assist others. But those critical of these games mostly like to focus on the fact that these games have a player--a player who is often a child--run around and shoot at other people, but this ignores the deeper layers present in many of the games.
Christopher Ferguson, associate professor and co-chairman of the Department of Psychology at Stetson University, has said that in his research on 6,000 eighth graders, video games made them less violent by keeping the children off the street. Katherine Newman, PhD, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, wrote: "Millions of young people play video games full of fistfights, blazing guns, and body slams... Yet only a minuscule fraction of the consumers become violent."
That's not to say that some people don’t turn out to be violent when playing video games. However, tests that seek to find if video games make children violent are flawed in many ways. Some researchers forget to take into account the family life or physiological trauma suffered by a child prior to their tests. Then there is the actual test to see if the child is violent or is acting differently than when they started gaming. These tests usually happen after the exposure to the games, and they will document reactions to various things that happen to the child none of which are preplanned. Sometimes this kind of observation doesn't work because the child will act differently in front of adults than they will by themselves.
There have been cases of violence, but this same thing with games has happened in previous generations, and look how they turned out. Many people who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s stayed inside and read comics a lot. Parents of these children thought that the violence that was shown in a page of a Batman comic was going to turn their kid into a vigilante themselves, but as we have already seen that is not the case. I think that over the generations we have seen a consistent change in what is acceptable for children. I look at it like this: I play “violent” video games and run around as a soldier and shoot at people; yet, in a real life, I hate seeing blood. Maybe we won't know for sure what the impact of video games has on people, but from what we know, violent video games don't make all children killers.