Modern society likes to blame video games for violent player behavior. There is a wide variety of video games that put the player in control of a character who chooses to be violent for various reasons. Because video games can be extremely violent, they are often used as a scapegoat for violent behavior, even though it has been debunked.
The American Psychological Association wrote a 2019 article on the link between video game blame and violent crime. Lead researcher Patrick Markey, Ph.D., said, “When an act of violence is committed by someone who doesn’t fit the racial stereotype of what a violent person looks like, people tend to seek an external explanation for the violent behavior. When a white suburban kid commits a horrific act of violence, like a school shooting, people are more likely to wrongly blame video games than if the kid were African American.”
In a CNN article, Andrew Przybylski, associate professor at Oxford University, discussed scapegoating media that older generations don’t understand. “Society is concerned about new technology, parents or policymakers get involved, and maybe the researchers themselves don’t have much experience with the technology, and so the first attempts to study the thing are pretty poorly done,” Przybylski said. He further insisted that “the evidence has become quite clear that where there are correlations, it’s probably due to a third factor.”
Przybylski also pointed out that while gamers vary widely around the world, the trend of blaming violent behavior on violent games tends to come from the US, where mass shootings have become a serious problem. If these patterns only appear in the States, but video games are played everywhere, how could they be the cause?