Gaming causing violent behavior is commonly known by people. In case of recent subject from my country government, I really wanted to see what is the real root cause of that violent behavior happened when games are involved.
I am not an expert on this topic. What I did here is merely searching some articles that support my argument. I even think that not a single of the articles cited in here are against my argument.
This paper shows that the violent game should have some factors to trigger the increase of violent behavior in real life. Those factors are
- The violent game should reward players that conduct violent actions.
Rewarding players with achievements when conducting violent actions is very common in action, RPG, or adventure game. Some games even make it as a requirement. Well, how can we play CS if we negotiate to our enemy team? Or perhaps another example when you played as a hero for your clan, violent action is surely is exists as a choice. In my opinion, this cause was exists because the gamer, who played those action game cannot correctly distinguish the difference between things that could be easily done by characters in game and reality.
There is a manhwa that shows the correct effect called “Cursor”. I haven’t read it for long so that I do not know the ending.
- Certain level of competitiveness.
This paper also suggest that level of violence alone is not enough. Level of competitiveness is the main factor of the increase of violent behavior. Well, we all think lag does… But lag is not the main and root cause I think. I played DOTA, and when I was lagging, I became violent, curse a lot and stressed. Why? Because my lag could cause a defeat in my team’s side. Losing means decrease in MMR ranking. Things such that is certainly the root cause.
This paper shows that if violent game did not supported by bad environment, it wont increase the aggressive behavior in individuals. Environment there was family, neighborhood, and friends. Exposure to violent game in a short term did not increase the aggressiveness. While exposure to long time, would affect since there are many factors to be considered, like crime rate, exposure to family violence, etc.
To be honest, I have played game since I was very young. When the best OS is still Windows95. Means I was only about 4 or 5 years old. When I was less than 10 years old, I have played games like bomberman, brick breaker, Tetris, Exile, Diablo, Fallout, Doom, and Baldur’s Gate. Violence is surely contained in the game that I played. Well, until today, I still take violence as my last option when facing problems.
This paper shows that expectations of player to the main character also affects the violent behavior in real life. The story in the game can cause this. If the main character’s family was killed, then the player would expect revenge. What’s interesting is that the author found that those all are caused by the player’s thought, behavior, and feeling prior to playing the game. Aggressive thought and mindset that have been exists even before playing the game could trigger the aggressive behavior. Hmmm… Seems like this and the paper above is somehow related. But let us continue.
This paper shows that psychological strength is needed for someone to prevent the violence in the game from taking over. Such strong psychological strength is needed which made many factors prior to playing game can affect the result. For example it could be possible when someone was exposed to violent media like thriller movies or real physical violence.
This paper shows that to get the aggressiveness increase after playing games, the player need the sense of presence or immersion in the game to be achieved. Even though as you enjoy the game and reduce your stress, the feeling of being the main character in the game, can increase level of frustration that will also affect the sense of presence or immersion in the game.
Well, we know that mostly recent high grade games have a way to make the player feels like they are inside the game and is the main character. That time when Soap was dead in CoD I was so mad and devastated. He was a good leader for the team, and one of the main character in the series. The feeling when the Price of Persia came back only to find that he could not change his father’s destiny, I was also feeling a bit pointless.
As my response to the Indonesian government, I think that they should increase their way of enforcing age control on the game. Steam, offers a lot of options for parents in controlling the game for their children to play on. When their kid insists on playing the violence games, well, the parents can always stay on their child, guiding them.
Encouraging families about the importance of controlling their children gaming behavior is also important. Well, parents can not always controlling, but there are easy games intended for educational use. Also the parents could assist their kids when playing games. Telling them that things cannot always happen in reality as in games.
Well, because even nonviolent game can cause raise in aggressiveness as long as there is a competition in the game. This could be the main problem that could happened in every game. Right now, even Championship Manager have leader board that could increase the competition. But the correct mindset from the player is needed. It was to encourage that things could be done better, and surely it is possible, not to make you feel frustrated because you are not number one.
I have read six papers specially for this purpose only and I think it is safe to say that video game violence play only a small part of the cause for rising violent behavior in everyone. The conclusion that I can make is that the player should have a strong sense of self control to really enjoy the game. Involvement in the game and immersion of living as the main character in the game should be felt by every player so that the story line can really be felt. The correct mindset to only set the game as a way to relieve stress and fun competition is also important because that was what games are made for. They are made for fun, not to make you stress, furthermore not to make you more violent in real life.
In the end, whatever control that was placed to prevent is useless, because the game is only playing a small portion in the increase of violence and aggressive behavior. The one that was required to control is the player itself. That is why, age rating is exists, and only by enforcing it, instead of banning the game, govt can reduce the effect. Only because the kids can only learn. If they are exposed to violent or moral degrading media (NOT ONLY games, but also TV, etc), of course their mindset will also be degrading.