Virtual Violence

Article by Breanna Johnson. Media by James Menk.

Children can be very easily influenced to do good and bad things, but video games alone don’t make children violent or lead them to turn to crime later on in life.For a child to become so violent and dangerous, they would have to witness it firsthand, from their parents or their peers, for example. Babies and little kids are pure and don’t know right from wrong, and as they get a little older, they do learn and grow a lot, but I don’t feel that kind of evil is in them, and it’s a little hard to believe playing a shooting game every weekend will send them over the edge.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas(2004). Media by
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (2013) Media by

When I was a preteen, I used to sneak in to my older cousin’s room whenever he was gone, and play Grand Theft Auto on his playstation. Now, everyone who knows of Grand Theft Auto video games knows they are riddled with violence, sex, and drugs. Should I have been playing it at 12,13 years old? Of course not. Yes, I was a child, but still knew right from wrong. Did it affect my behavioral skills and the way I treated my teachers, peers, and parents? No, it didn’t. Even if I didn’t know better and thought the game represented an appropriate way to act in society, and something that I should try to copy in my own life, the way I was brought up and raised, I wasn’t going to turn violent and end up going down the wrong because of a video game. Now, maybe if there were no role models or good figures in my life, and if I had no guidance in my life, seeing people on this game with a lot of money and nice cars might’ve made me rethink. But, basically, something else has to be wrong in a child’s life for them to play a game and for that game to change their mindset. Honestly, how often to do you hear kids or even teens talking amongst themselves saying they attacked someone they didn’t like and they got the idea from Call of Duty?

Even with these recent incidents where schools have been shot up and many innocent people have been killed for no reason by troublesome gunmen – often, others things are blamed for these murderers committing the crimes, like bullying, childhood, or mental illnesses, etc, not because they played violent video games as little kids. It’s often said that the murderer had a mental problem or was being bullied or even struggling in school, which led to them losing their mind, killing other people and sometimes, themselves.

My older cousin, my childhood friends, and I have all played not so age appropriate games, and not one of us turned out to be violent or led a life of crime, and there’s many more out there like us. It starts at home with children.



  1. While I will agree that a game alone is probably not to blame for most of these types of incidents, I hold them partially responsible. The games lessen the shock and horror of violence and make them more easily acceptable. To have a longer timeline and how exposure over time can affect us, let’s look at the original 1960 movie Psycho. It was a new level of violence for that time. Many people were shocked, sickened and fearful of the pure feeling of evil it made them feel. Today’s audience would watch this and hardly feel any fear or suspense. That’s because as time has passed the level of violence has increased to the point that yesterdays Psycho is now nothing. Constantly barraging yourself with something bad makes the act itself seem more normal because it becomes a part of every day life.

  2. So, by your logic, is it safe to say that constantly watching images of or re-enactments of an act or series of acts results in a sort of mental or emotional numbness to that act? And if so, then is it safe to say that putting a gun in the hands of a child who has been actively playing violent video games for years and telling him to merely shoot at a target downrange, he/ she will do it without blinking an eye?

    • I believe that it contributes to a child’s probability to be able to shoot another person. I will concede that other contributing factors also increases that probability. If a person is constantly exposed to certain situations it will condition them to respond accordingly. A violent video game encourages a violent response. When faced with a situation that pings the brain as a similarity to something in the violent game, it could very well cause a response that would have been performed while playing the game. Do I think every person is susceptible? No, but I think it would be foolish to think that constant exposure to violence doesn’t promote violence.


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