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Violent Video Games

By Ethan Hu

Over the past several years, there has been a sudden increase in the release of violent videos games. Along with the growing production rate of games, there has been a surge of players, especially among teenagers. Many people have come to believe that the cause of youth violence lies within these games. However, nationally collected data and statistics, legal cases such as the Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Associations, as well as my own personal experiences suggest otherwise.

From 2000 to 2010, crime rates have seen a severe drop, from 1.4 million to 1.25 million offenses per year. On the contrary, video game revenue has increased by as much as 20%, 1.4 to 1.8 billion dollars every year. Based on these numbers, it is evident that rated M games have no bearing on youth violent behavior. In the Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Associations case, the Supreme Court ruled that the first amendment does not allow a state to restrict the selling of violent video games to minors: “Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas…through many familiar literary devices…and through features distinctive to the medium that suffices to confer First Amendment protection.” Video games are no different than books and movies in that they are both ways to express ideas. Therefore, the government cannot restrict the distribution of this medium.

I have been playing games similar to Halo and Call of Duty for about a year. Even playing these violent games, I have shown no signs of becoming more violent, nor do I ever resort to violence. Games offer only pure entertainment and, while I may assume the roles of the characters from time to time, cause no aggressive ideals.

The comparison of crime rates to video game revenue exhibits that games do not have an influence on teenage decisions. Additionally, even the Supreme Court rules that video games, like books, are used to express ideas, not to incite violent actions. Finally, my personal experience, though limited, provides evidence to how playing violent video games do not cause aggressive behavior. Therefore, the common belief that games such as Assassin’s Creed and Black Ops cause violent behavior in teenage players is false.

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