Violent video games have been the target for violent behavior since the release of the original Mortal Kombat, creating the ESRB and eventually ratings boards around the world. However, despite this many lawmakers have attempted to link violent video games to violent behavior with Pennsylvania lawmakers at it again to put a tax on mature and adult-rated video games.

Called the “Sin tax” games with mature and adult-only ratings will be subject to a 10% tax that will go to “Digital Protection for School Safety Account” fund where their main goal is to that aims to strengthen security measures at schools in the wake of the frequent school shootings. The irony of this tax being that violent videos game have be proven to not be a link between “violence” and “aggression” and studies that do try to find the link are often proven wrong.

In addition, a 2015 study from the American Psychological Association has further validated this claim by stating that “violence” and “aggression” can be caused by a variety of terms and not just one.

The violent video game literature uses a variety of terms and definitions in considering aggression and aggressive outcomes, sometimes using “violence” and “aggression” interchangeably, or using “aggression” to represent the full range of aggressive outcomes studied, including multiple types and severity levels of associated behavior, cognitions, emotions, and neural processes. This breadth of coverage but lack of precision in terminology has contributed to some debate about the effects of violent video game use. In part, the numerous ways that violence and aggression have been considered stem from the multidisciplinary nature of the field. Epidemiologists, criminologists, physicians and others approach the phenomena of aggression and violence from different perspectives than do psychologists, and emphasize different definitions of the phenomena accordingly. Some disciplines are interested only in violence, and not other dimensions of aggression. In psychological research, aggression is usually conceptualized as behavior that is intended to harm another (see Baron & Richardson, 1994; Coie & Dodge, 1998; Huesmann & Taylor, 2006; VandenBos, 2007). Violence can be defined as an extreme form of aggression (see Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2000) or the intentional use of physical force or power, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in harm (Krug, Dahlberg, Mercy, Zwi, & Lozano,2002 ).

This is further supplemented by Professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M University Chris Ferguson who studies video game violence and has also completed a scholarship on mass homicides says:

“There is no good evidence that video games or other media contribute, even in a small way, to mass homicides or any other violence among youth.”…”In fact, during the years in which video games soared in popularity, youth violence has declined to 40-year lows. And while it’s natural, in such an emotional time, for people to search desperately for answers, that often results in misinformation.”

This isn’t the first time video games were pushed into the spotlight to explain violent behavior in people. The Trump Administration blaming violent video games back on March 8th, 2018 following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead. Other notorious figures who attempted to use video games as a scapegoat were Joe Biden and Jake Thompson.

Until real steps are taken to combat mental illness instead of offering a simple scapegoat no real change will be made. No if you excuse me, I’m going to play Apex Legends.

About The Author

Adam S
Sr.Staff Writer

Adam is a Senior Staff Writer for GAW with over 5 years of experience in writing and is completely obsessed with video games. He holds a BA from Brooklyn College and lives in NY.