I think video games get way too much flak for being negative influences on people. When there’s someone who shoots up a school? “I bet he plays Doom/Quake/Call Of Duty.” Kid runs over someone? “I bet he plays GTA.” Kid lands a plane? “I bet he plays flight simulator.”
It’s like saying, “this guy used Facebook and killed people. Facebook must be a negative influence on him!” It’s stupid. Playing video games isn’t some top-secret, super-underground pastime for social recluses. Everybody plays video games these days. Even athletes like Jeremy Lin have professed their love for gaming. It’s become part of mainstream culture for some time now.
Non-criminals play video games too. I play ultra-violent video games and I enjoy them. But I haven’t shot up a school, and neither have I any intentions to.
If a video game can convince someone to shoot up a school, they’ve probably had a few screws in their head loose to begin with and would’ve been convinced to do it by anything or anyone. Voices in their head, something they saw on TV, a passage from a book they read or just dares from their peers – it doesn’t matter what gave them the ‘instructions’ – they would have done it regardless.
However, I do believe that video games, like any other pastime or hobby can be detrimental to a person’s life if they become addicted to it and let it overtake them. This can be said about other activities like smoking, bingeing, doing drugs and so on. The only difference is that, it’s easier to obtain video games than the former. And video games usually aren’t illegal. Maybe that’s why we hear so much about them.
Why don’t we ever read news about successful town planners were driven to become one because of their love for Sim City, or successful doctors who were inspired by Surgeon Simulator or Theme Hospital? I’m sure there are some of those people who exist somewhere.