Video Games & Perception Of Reality
When I was about twelve years old, and GTA: Vice City had taken over a good six hours of my life a day, I recall I moment in my life where I was on my way back from school. I passed a motorcycle in the parking lot. My mind immediately jumped to: “Hey, I could run up to that from the front, hit ‘X’ on my controller, and I could ride it off into the distance and rob somebody blind of their cash!”
A few years of therapy passed.
And then I would soon realize this was not an actuality. Years later, the scientific community is still trying to assemble evidence that games, despite the fun they provision, actually transfer over into real life.
An example came from Medical Express in a December 2018 article. It stated that aggressive imagery displayed on a screen is perceived as less violent to those who play video games, in tangent with those who do not. This study revealed that though aggressiveness in real life does not actually stem from violent games, they still warp our minds more than once claimed.
“The scientists showed that players were better at disregarding graphic content while viewing a rapid series of images. This left them better able to see what they were asked to look for than non-players” – Medical Express.
This is very true when you think about it.
Violent imagery was shown to individuals who play first-person shooters (FPS) like Call of Duty or Battlefield, and even Fortnite. They were less affected by the violent images versus the control group, of whom were more prone to trauma when viewing the same images.
Video games do not increase aggressive behavior, and this has been proven time and time again. However, this insight does lead us to consider the ramifications of letting young children play violent games. They desensitize us to violence, especially when beginning at a young age. In fact, many games are known to “suck us into their virtual worlds” so much that we fail to realize that this is not what real life is about.
A study in 2017 found that PTSD victims are often unable to play FPS because the experiences are becoming far too realistic to handle. Take a look at Battlefield V. This game is about as realistic as it gets, both on a visual sense as well as in a combative one.
In turn, though this is an emerging science, we have to take a short beat. We need to realize that as video gaming becomes more and more realistic, and the experiences become more and more violent, perhaps it is best to let the prefrontal cortex develop in many before exposing them to violent games.
The prefrontal cortex is a part of the brain that usually does not fully develop until the age of 25. It is in control of impulse, emotion, and perception of reality. People call the prefrontal cortex the “human” part of the brain because it encompasses facets of the mind that can only be related to the human experience. This includes emotions not based on primal instincts, such as affection, the ability to avoid risky situations. IT also includes the governance of reality versus virtual reality.
With This In Mind…
So, with this all in mind, perhaps it is time for parents to start obeying that “Mature” ESRB rating. Though these games are fun to play, they do have a profound effect on those who are young.
Bringing up a topic I have discussed before in my first article with DVS Gaming, the Columbine shooting of 1999 is a great example. It was supposedly mapped out in a level designing program that turned the classic Doom video game into a live school environment. It was even stated by the two gunmen that the event would be a “real-life Doom.”
So, maybe best to research a game’s violent nature before buying it for your child. It is also best to realize that the psychology of gaming is vast. Comment below with your thoughts and share!