Written by Junia K.R. Lindsey of Tamil Nadu National Law University
Edited by Noor Deewan
Combative, Gore, Violent, Nasty, Bloody, Non-existent, Shooting, Killing…. These are some of the words which can be used to aptly describe the kind of games people play these days. Gone are the days when bounce, Snake II, space impact were the kind of games that were addictive yet joyful and for the sole purpose of entertainment or when someone was bored and now have come the days where games have become super addictive that a kid spends almost majority of their time playing video games and only spends time with family or outside world when they feel bored because of that game. To top it all, adding insult to the injury, games which are harsh and brutal are loved and enjoyed by many people, games which include guns, killing, threatening are emerging rapidly among pre-teens and teens. 97% of kids between the age groups 12 and 17 play video games and two-third of them play adventurous and action video games.
VIOLENT GAMES = VIOLENT MINDS?
So, the question here is does one become a tool of spreading violence because of playing too much violent video games? There can never be a perfect for this question because one cannot completely blame the video games for the violent behaviour of a kid or an adult but we can prove that violent video games tend to make a human aggressive. This is because video games directly affect the brain of a human, they tend to cause various and severe neuropsychiatric illnesses. Obviously, nothing is at harm when one plays a video game for causal and entertainment purposes but when it becomes a habit or an addiction, it takes a toll on our mental health and ruins our brain which eventually will affect our day to day lives. When one plays a video game, their mind and thoughts are formulated in obedience to it, this unquestionably exerts major influence on how that person conducts oneself in reality. Not today or yesterday but the violent actions because of violent entertainment dates back to the Victorian era. Killing for fun, murdering actors on live stage for the accurate effect etc. The difference here is, violent video games are more influential and exploit the population in a very abysmal way. Video games let people overpower their thoughts, actions and their conception that they can do anything and everything. It makes them think, ‘Ah, this is possible? totally yes!’ The high-level graphics, loopholes and schemes in the video games triggers the human brain cell and makes them think it is completely practical and achievable in real life. There are many examples of mass shootings by school children in America where it is proven and shown that the accused has played violent video games before the traumatising incident. These video games apparently give the gamers the thought of fighting and robbing as an easy and advisable task. This shows even though not completely but partially at least violent games in still the thought of acting violently in the minds of young kids in reality. This will become a worst-case scenario for people who supper from any mental illness or sickness, because playing these video games only trigger their already nervous, anxiety filled brain cells and pushes them to act violently as they might find comfort or solace in the particular violent act. Playing these violent games have also proven that those who plays such games addictively or continuously tend to portray anti-social behaviours. The person tends to become more aggressive, violent and short tempered. This is because one is highly prone to be tired, pressurized, mixed up, illogical, lost, delusional and many other confusing things which puts them in a state of trance and makes them forget on how to react to their surroundings and forces them to act vigorously. Media, television also shows many violent things but in a video game the gamer is the boss, they can control however they want the actions to be, which makes them think the similar act is possible in reality.
WHO IS TO BLAME AND WHY?
One thing that has to be accepted here is, for kids, parents are the main reason to be blamed. The freedom they give their children to download any game they want and letting them play for hours which eventually leads the kid to their passive aggressive behaviour. Freedom is a must, but parents must keep a check on how their kid behaves and the kind of game they play, especially for pre-teens and teens. Games like blue-whale were circulated on WhatsApp and other social media which ended up taking many children’s lives. Therefore, it is highly important to keep a check on the kind of games kids play.
LAWS AND RULES WHICH KEEPS THE GAMING WORLD IN CHECK
There are many laws passed in India and in other countries which helps in regulating the kind of video games produced and released. For example, Section 292 of Indian Penal Code, 1860[i] talks about how one cannot produce or showcase any obscene content on books or any other form of media or communication and if found to be guilty shall be punished. Many committees with respect to cyber-crimes have been formed to check the web for the kinds of games posted or released and If they are appropriate or not.
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF VIDEO GAMES
After analysing everything one can say that video games do have its positive effects too. It is not imperative that people who play video games are violent in reality, but this depends on the time, energy and space given for the particular video game. Video games do have their own pros. They are goal oriented, this at times can be bad too because to complete the certain level or task the kid is put into extra force and pressure, but when seen positively it has a major impact on their logical skills, helps in hand eye coordination, relieves stress at times. All these when the correct video game is played at the correct quota.
To summarize succinctly, various studies have shown how a person becomes extra aggressive and tensed after playing a violent video game. Studies reveal that video games do affect a human and their thoughts, but there is no proper research study which thoroughly and perfectly manifest that only video games contribute and cause the violent behaviour of a person, it can be their state of mind, the kind of entertainment they watch and absorb other than playing video games, it can be their surroundings or it can even be their day today activities. However, video games do play a major role when it comes to the changed aggressive behaviour of a person who plays too much online violent video games. Therefore, Play prudently and stay serenely.
[i] INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860
Image courtesy: The Conversation