The relationship between violent video games and real-life violence is an old one. You can go back several decades, looking to the glory days of Nintendo and Sega in the 1990s, to find some of the first significant examples of parents, lawmakers, and other individuals trying to hold violent video game manufacturers responsible for the real-life violent acts caused by their players.
Do these parents, lawmakers, and other individuals have a point? Should violent video game manufacturers be held responsible for real-life violence? This is not an easy question to answer. The debate has been raging on for quite some time.
Violent Video Game Manufacturers Are Liable
In order to develop an understanding of this complex subject, the issue must be explored from both sides. To begin with, you’re going to want to look at the arguments that suggest violent video game manufacturers should be made responsible for their content.
As mentioned before, this argument goes back a number of years. Going back to the releases of such games as Night Trap and Mortal Kombat in the early-90s, lawmakers, parents, and advocacy groups have tried to establish a strong link between these violent titles, and the violent acts perpetrated by the players in real life. School shootings at Columbine and elsewhere only added further fuel to the fire. As time has gone on, the depth and realism of violent video games has only become more intricate, more engaging. As video games continue to grow and evolve, you can expect violent games to become even more elaborate, in terms of how they create opportunities for violence.
A number of studies have been conducted in recent years. These studies do seem to indicate a strong link between violent video games giving people the motivation to commit violent acts. Furthermore, these studies seek to remind people that game developers ultimately know what they are doing. According to Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyers Michael Daniel Rehm, that is a big point: They know what they are doing. They strive to make realistic games, and they strive to give kids the kinds of games they would like to play. There is no question that a lot of kids like to play violent video games.
Violent films and music have been dealing with these arguments for decades. By comparison, video games are a relative newcomer to the conversation. However, video games have been the subject of numerous lawsuits and investigations. Even so, these lawsuits have been consistently dismissed. Yet the controversy continues, and it is not expected to diminish at any point in the future.
Violent Video Game Manufacturers Are Not Liable
At the same time, it is important to look at some of the arguments that serve to explain why video game manufacturers are not liable for what their players do. Essentially, it all comes down to a matter of censorship. It also comes down to numbers.
Simply put, the vast majority of those who play these violent games do not commit violent acts. Furthermore, people will point out that if all violent media was eradicated from existence tomorrow, you wouldn’t see violent acts suddenly disappear. People would simply find new ways to motivate themselves, or they would act without any outside motivators whatsoever. There are many who put forth the argument that there are a number of other aspects in our society that contribute to violent acts, beyond things like video games and films.
Within this argument, you will find a belief that banning games, or holding manufacturers liable, would do nothing to stem the tide of violence. It would simply create a system of censorship, with games being banned or edited, in order to deal with a problem that isn’t actually going to be addressed in a meaningful way.
In fact, many people believe that violent video games provide a healthy outlet for the vast majority of the people who play them.
What Do You Think About Violent Video Games?
There is no question that certain unhealthy mindsets will use video games to facilitate dangerous, destructive thoughts. Should we focus on these individuals, in terms of justifying the need to either ban violent games, or hold the manufacturers of these games responsible? Some believe we should. Others believe that it would establish a harmful precedent, in terms of freedom of expression.
The debate is only going to continue. It would seem that there are no easy answers.