Opinion: ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ is not the cause of violence in society

Opinion: Grand Theft Auto V is not the cause of violence in society

Cory Spiers

With the recent release of “Grand Theft Auto V,” the argument about the effects of violent video games on young players has once again entered the media.

“Grand Theft Auto” is notorious for its violent, gang-related, murder-happy gameplay. Over the years, parents, stores and states have banned “GTA” and games like it from the shelves.

The argument is that kids who play these games are subject to violence and become desensitized to real violent acts. Thus, children will go out into the world and perform the acts they see in GTA.

As a gamer, I am living proof that the argument about video game violence translating to the real world is invalid. Video games have been a huge hobby of mine, and I have played everything from “Viva Piñata” to “Gears of War” and I have never shot, maimed, beaten or killed anyone (in real life).

But, I may be the exception. I could have learned right from wrong and realized that I’m just playing a game. Other children could be susceptible to the influence of “GTA” and it’s horrible gameplay.

However, psychologist Vaughan Bell wrote in British newspaper The Observer that, “violent video games cause a reliable short-term increase in aggression during lab-based tests.”

“However, this seems not to be something specific to computer games,” he wrote. “Television and even violence in the news have been found to have a similar impact.”

Bell said another psychologist, Christopher Ferguson at Texas A&M International University, “has examined what predicts genuine violence committed by young people.”

“It turns out that delinquent peers, depression and an abusive family environment account for actual violent incidents, while exposure to media violence seems to have only a minor and usually insignificant effect,” Bell wrote.

It is the lifestyle and moral teachings with which these children are raised are what perpetuate violence in young children and adults.

“GTA” does not turn people into criminals.

Story: MALIK RAHILI, Production and design editor