Most annoying urban myths debunked – part 6
There are countless urban myths floating around. Some are amusing, some are terrifying and some are just plain weird. But there are also plenty of urban myths that I just find utterly annoying. Most of them are things I’ve believed in myself in the past, but when thinking about it logically realising couldn’t be true. Which is why I find them so annoying!
11. Video games will turn you into a violent psychopath
This one is truly annoying: Apparently, playing video games will make you go out and kill your fellow citizens like some deranged psychopath. Every time we hear about some suicidal mass murderer, they always seem to have a history of playing video games. Clearly there’s a link and we should probably ban all video games to save ourselves from genocide.
No. Playing video games doesn’t make you more prone to violence.
First of all, not every game is violent. There are a number of achingly beautiful and truly creative and artistic games, like Darwinia, World of Goo, Limbo and Eufloria. But what really grabs the headlines are the violent shoot-em-ups like Grand Theft Auto, Counter-Strike and Call of Duty. Action-packed and bloody games where you shoot and kill people in a number of different and gruesome ways.
So, let’s get to the facts: what does the statistics say? Well, first of all, UK is the country with the highest proportion of gamers in Europe, with more than 50% of the population actively playing video games on a regular basis. Number of video game sales has more than doubled in the last decade. Now, what are the figures for crimes committed in the UK for the same period? As it happens, they have decreased with 23% on average*, while reported incidents of violence as recorded by hospitals has fallen by 25% during the last 10 years.
Hang on. What’s going on here? We all know that crimes have increased – we read about in the papers every day! Well, actually, not so much. News tend to report crimes more, because it is attention grabbing, and therefore commercially viable, but it doesn’t necessary reflect the true proportion of violent crimes in our society.
To be fair, there are studies of brain activity of gamers that show a correlation between violent games and increased emotional activity coupled with reduced inhibition and self-control. But even so, video gaming seem to have no negative effect on our society. If anything, the statistics would suggest that the more we play video games the more peaceful and law-abiding we become. Perhaps this has something to do with using games to de-stress after a hard day at work/school?
To summarise: playing video games (even gory ones) won’t make you violent – in fact it could have some health benefits and help you relax. Personally, I believe video games are just like books, comics, films and music: unless you’re already a crazed psychopat, they won’t make you go on a killing spree.
I know I will continue to play my video games, if nothing else to keep me sane.. (Always thinking of your safety)
12. This time, 3D television is here to stay!
* Actually, one category of crime has increased slightly: bicycle thefts. Must be due to all those violent bicycle video games we have..