With the release of Grand Theft Auto V this week, the age-old question of violent video games and their impact on society has once again been raised. As video games get more and more realistic, the concern of their impact keeps growing. GTA V is one of the most detailed and realistic games in recent memory. While it is being praised for being one of the greatest video games of all time, it is also receiving criticism for a storyline that features robbing banks, having sex with hookers, stealing cars, and using a psychotic character to torture someone. People love the game because it is everything that we want to do in life but without the real life consequences. But does playing such a realistic game translate over to trying these things in real life? That is where the controversy lies.
My personal opinion is that violent video games on their own do not make someone more likely to commit a violent act. Cases have been brought up where kids who shot up schools were also playing some of these violent video games, but it was also discovered that they have severe mental problems as well. Everyone who is mentally stable knows the difference between a video game and real life. I have played plenty of violent video games and I would never commit a violent act in my life. There is evidence that shows that violence in video games desensitizes us to violence, but it does not make us more violent as a person. Playing violent video games is just one of many things that a mentally disabled person should not be allowed to do. Attention should also be paid to the rating a game receives. GTA V is obviously rated mature (17+) for many reasons. You need to be mature to play this game. If you are 10 or 11 years old, you are too young to understand the consequences of what you are actually doing.
I previously mentioned the clear difference between video games and real life, but that line is slowly starting to fade. With technology such as Oculus Rift and other virtual reality video games, it is almost as if you are in the actual video game. This brings things to the next level, because instead of controlling a character in a video game, you are the one actually doing the actions even if it is just virtual reality. It will certainly be interesting to see how video games evolve and if there is any solid evidence that violent video games are having a negative impact on people who play them. As for right now, I think common sense prevails. Don’t let mentally unstable or underage people play intense games that they cannot handle. The majority of the population could play Grand Theft Auto V and it will not be a big deal.
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