From petty crimes to school shootings, average people and politicians are pointing their fingers at violent video games as the culprit for the criminal’s behavior instead of blaming the culprit themselves and it is time society stops playing the blame game and holds the criminal accountable for their actions, no matter what age they are.
With the recent record breaking sales of Grand Theft Auto V and the new installments in the Battlefield and Call of Duty series on the way, video game violence and the effect it has on young people are once again making headlines. When recent crimes have involved minors and either car theft or violent acts, video games are often blamed for influencing the young person. Even things as tragic as the movie theater shooting at the batman premier and the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre had many people pointing at violent video games as the motivation and influence for these acts. If this was the case however, why is this not happening on a daily basis? With just Grand Theft Auto V alone, 16 million people purchased it within its first week of sales and there has not been a massive spike in murders committed by youth since its release. Those who do commit these horrible tragedies are mentally unstable or possibly just psychopaths but because of their age, people do not want to label them as such.The average person, or in this case gamer, is not going to play Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty and think that it is okay to mimic the games in any way. A mentally stable person can divide reality and the virtual world in which they play. Someone who is mentally unstable may play these games and feel like the thoughts they have about killing or stealing are being justified by the game but that is because of a very skewed viewpoint by the person, not what the game is portraying. Most games do a great job of making the player feel emotionally uneasy when committing crime, making sure the player knows it is unrealistic, or making sure the gamer knows that the character they are playing is mentally disturbed, in order to portray that the crimes are not okay in reality.
Those who commit crimes like the Sandy Hook massacre or the cases of kids as young as 8 killing their parents are not doing these things because they played a game where they could shoot someone. They committed these acts because they are mentally disturbed in one way or another. Age has nothing to do with mental stability, absolute horrible acts can be committed by the youth and there is no outside source, in this case video games, that is the problem. The person who commits the crime should be held accountable and while prison is not always going to work, serious psychiatric help is necessary. This scapegoating of video games needs to stop. We, as a society, need to help those who are mentally ill, instead of blaming something else so that we do not have to label a child as a murderer.