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The video game industry is forecasted to be a $23.

5 billion industry in 2017 and
exponentially grows each year. The growth of the industry is helped by the ease
of video game consumption with phones being able to play anywhere you would
like and how games have evolved to be pieces of art with stories and content
that rival modern cinema. Videos games are becoming more realistic and vivid as
modern technology advancements open. One of these advancements is the
further development of virtual reality, wearing gaming peripherals to put the
gamer in the desired world. With this sense of being immersed being so
prominent in modern gaming, tragedies have been linked to the aggressive and
sexual nature of 18+ rated games. The American Psychological Association (APA)
have research into the link between aggression in video games and aggression in
real life and concluded there is a risk of creating a link between the two. Studies
showing that 80% of children, between 10 and 16 years old, play video games
rated higher than their age. This shows a potential issue with young children and
teenagers being exposed to this level of aggression and violence.

One example this is the tragedy of the Columbine Shootings and the links to
video games. It is said that the two murderers in the crime were addicted to the
violent video game ‘Doom’, a game where the player picks up guns and shoots
human like demons and monsters. The American Medical Association considered
adding video game addiction to its list of mental illnesses before deciding on
“more study” and a call for parents to watch their children more closely. One
question that was raised from this was concerns around how people would react
when they “lose their fix”. Jerald Block, a researcher and psychiatrist in North
America, has concluded that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on their shooting
rampage at Columbine High School after their parents took away their video
game privileges. In the findings, Jerald Block says that the two teenagers “relied
on the virtual world of computer games to express their rage and to spend time,
and cutting them off in 1998 sent them into crisis”. With this view not being fully
supported, and possibly very opinionated, the executive director of the
International Game Developer’s Association replied by saying: “There’s no
denying the concern for someone that does something on an extremely
excessive basis (be it gaming, watching TV, doing exercise, working, etc.). In
most cases, this has more to do with the person than the thing: mental stability,
depression, social anxieties, low self-esteem, whatever. Let’s find better ways to
help the people and worry less about the things”.

This is one example of media panic, finding something to blame for an event that
has happened. With media being so quick to blame with no regard is a growing
issue in today’s society, with the term ‘Fake News’ being thrown around as the
trust of news journalist and distributers slowly decline with active consumers.
The problem lies with the Passive consumers that openly accept the maybe
unreliable information they are consuming and worryingly relay that information
without accessing the validity of the source.

One major franchise of video game that has been victim to most of the media
panic over its existence has been the Grand Theft Auto series, also known as
GTA. A report from the Daily Mail, a somewhat controversial news tabloid, bashes
GTA stating: “Teenagers who play Grand Theft Auto 'more likely to drink, smoke
and have unprotected sex”. This is according to a study of 5,000 US teenagers
by Dartmouth College finding a distinct correlation between the frequency that
they played violent games and their behaviour. The study, published in the
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, follows a 2012 Dartmouth study
that suggested that such video games may lead teens to drive recklessly and
drink and drive. There also have been news stories linked to GTA, for example,
‘Grand Theft Auto Drives 8-Year-Old to Murder His Grandmother’. This news story
blames GTA for influencing an 8-year-old to pick up a gun and murder his
grandmother. They 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.”. With this being said,
there is no mention of why the child is being exposed to content aimed for adults
a decade older than him and why the grandmother was okay with this
happening. This bias of media controls the way the passive audience view the
news story by using the Hypodermic Needle theory. Using this theory to inject an
opinion in the aim to persuade the audience and trigger a desired reaction, in
this case the reaction being hate towards the violent video games.

There is hardly any exposure on the health benefits of playing video games from
the media, reinforcing the bias that they have and their obvious ploy to attack
something to make money. Five benefits that video games give are Boost in
memory, with 12% higher mental ability in some individuals. Increase in
coordination, improving cognitive ability, reducing stress and depression and
sharpening decision making. Comparing this to a statement from the Daily Mail:
“Separate research published yesterday by Oxford University suggests that
playing video games for less than an hour a day can lead to children becoming
better adjusted.”, the statement seems such a contrast to the benefits that you
can gain from the video games.

This argument between the two parties of video games cause and doesn’t cause
violence is still undergoing, but the most sense comes from, “There’s no denying
the concern for someone that does something on an extremely excessive basis
(be it gaming, watching TV, doing exercise, working, etc.). In most cases, this has
more to do with the person than the thing: mental stability, depression, social
anxieties, low self-esteem, whatever. Let’s find better ways to help the people
and worry less about the things”.