The article "Do Video Games Kill?"

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Karen Sternheimer's post "Do Video Games Kill?" explores a contentious topic about the impact of video games on teenagers. Sternheimer suggested that if we want to understand why young people, especially those from the middle class, commit murder, we should start by looking at the results of the games they play (Sternheimer, 2007). The author begins the essay by citing Doom, a computer game that became a focal point of the crisis. This is not the first game of its kind in which the gunman is in the first person, but it raises concerns that it would teach children how to kill. The game became well known and had the most substantial sales in the industry whereby it surpassed all another public fanning. The school shootings that happened in Paducah, Springfield and Littleton were mostly triggered by the game as emphasized by the press (Sternheimer, 2007). Sternheimer sticks to this explanation since different opinions arise from the political background, the media and various strata of people.

A report issued by the FBI indicated that the only liberal explanation for the youths getting involved in committing ridiculous decisions and demonstration aggression is because of playing video games (Sternheimer, 2007). The politicians, since they are fixers and need to fix this problem, quick point a finger and try to scapegoat the issue by blaming the video games. The politicians are seen as if they are helping the children with this kind of propaganda, but on the other hand, they are drifting away from the main causatives.

Video games were created to signify various social anxieties that include youth violence, advanced computer technologies and the capacities of adults to control the actions and behaviour of young people (Sternheimer, 2007). The rise of new technologies has instituted panic for the youths and degradation of shared culture. For instance, the politicians have criticized radios, movies, music and scientific books as the ones that lead the teenagers to immorality and violence.

The politicians and the FBI are not the dominant groups that blame the video games. Newspaper articles have focused on them plainly indicating their contribution to the shootings that occurred in Paducah, Springfield, and Littleton (Sternheimer, 2007). This form of communication significantly creates a platform for fear in schools as shootings and insecurity could occur anywhere video games were played. Various headlines such as Days of Doom, Think Again, and Virtual Realities Massacre developed a perception that blamed the creation of video games (Urban, 2013, Jan 12). Some of these newspapers went ahead and posted that people died at the expense of devoted doom players.

The research that focuses on finding the relationship between media violence and aggressiveness has been highly divisive (Sternheimer, 2007). For instance, one study nurtured claims that the visual media had brought about many assassins in the US and Canada (Urban, 2013, Jan 12). This kind of studies only relies on a correlational analysis that fails to avail all the associations between media exposure and behaviour.

Other stories that came up during these incidences of massive killings insisted that video games deserve partial blame (Urban, 2013, Jan 12). The shootings were not an isolated occurrence and should be handled with great care since it shows a culture that is changing where violence is shown on television, movies and in video games (Sternheimer, 2007). Hollywood is backing a culture that supports violence. The ambassadors of morality should accelerate the campaign to ensure Hollywood a more responsible entertainment company.

There were other explanations besides the issue of video games that were believed to influence the shooters. The shooters were purported to be socially rejected, alienated at school and depressed (Sternheimer, 2007). Majority of the reporters assumed these other reasons and drawing much attention to the issue of video games, and often discussed them at the end of the articles. Much attention has been seen to be on a video game where also prominent persons termed them as murder simulators as they provide equal training as the military (Urban, 2013, Jan 12).

By concentrating so much on the video games, the reports undermine the contribution of the society (Urban, 2013, Jan 12). Despite the researcher's perception of the effects of guns, poverty, family and the structure of the school on youth violence, they continuously base their research based on the concerns of the media suggesting that video games are the fundamental cause of immorality, violence, and aggression (Sternheimer, 2007).

It is more likely also for the aggressive persons to seek out violent forms of amusements. These kinds of entertainment change the emotions and behaviour of the person in a broader range but not always equal to violence (Sternheimer, 2007). Aggression in media- effects may arise from simple issues as watching children playing with inanimate objects. Almost all the media-violence articles published produce findings that are inconsistent and contradict thus indicating the presence of actual violence.

Currently, the research of video games has increased, and their reviews have also mixed. An investigation that was carried out recently concluded that aggressiveness will grow as a result of video games. Contrary, another study was done in the same year and developed finding that widely differ from the previous analysis (Center, 2014). They concluded that video games improved knowledge, reaction time and understanding of a person but indicated that these games could not boost the level of aggression in someone.

According to an article by the New York Times, the majority of the recent research indicate a direct relationship between the contact of media violence that is now included in video games to be promoting aggression (Urban, 2013, Jan 12). Watching television programs with violent content makes the children more aggressive. The article predicts that children who play video games are more prone to high levels of aggression as compared to violence seen in televisions.

The media effect researchers challenge contextualization of violence which is a most significant issue of concern (Center, 2014). Most of them fail to address factors such as poverty, neighbourhood intolerance, unemployment and family violence in their studies but typically puts more concentration on chances of a person being mentally ill rather than addressing such real issues.

News reports from newspapers focus on video games and ignore all the other relevant research based on the reaction of the audience when they read their articles (Urban, 2013, Jan 12). They may rely on qualitative findings to ensure that it is difficult to overturn the results. The newspapers are primarily attracted by the dispensation that they will obtain from the general public once they develop public debates that carry the day.

Majority of the adults condemn the media as a way to generate distinctions in their cultures and position themselves higher than those that have popular literary cultures (Urban, 2013, Jan 12). Other people who believe their political knowledge is more senior than everyone's is more likely to deduce that media violence has a more considerable influence on others. Both of these scenarios whereby a community is trying to become superior to others and some viewing themselves as all-knowing might also be a possible reason for violence (Sternheimer, 2007). Similarly, those viewers who enjoy watching violent programs on television have a higher affinity of propagating violence in the society.

Nevertheless, no matter how sincere those violent video games might have effects in the communities, news reports alone, dramatic, debatable or repetitive cannot build harmony to the general public that these games lead to youth violence (Urban, 2013, Jan 12). Politicians who are used to blaming others frequently isolate a large number of people and their way of solving such disputes might end up dragging new players in the games despite their ages.

The rate of crimes has reduced according to statistics, but the opinion of the community is that there is an increased violence. The US Bureau of Statistics indicates that rape and assault have shrunk by 40% in a span of 10 years from 2001 to 2010 (Center, 2014). Equally, the rate of murder has declined by almost half between the ages 1991 to 2009 (Center, 2014). The famous Doom was out in 1993; in a decade after the release, the rate of homicide arrests among the youths reduced by 77% (Center, 2014). Currently, school shootings are sporadic; those periods when fears of violence in schools were high, there were equally small chances of such a criminal act to occur. When the game was released, it became so popular among the youths, few of them will ever get involved in violence, let alone murder (Sternheimer, 2007). This statistical proof speaks levels up all claims that video games are the actual cause of juvenile killings.

In my opinion, we all have a task to play, and we should not point fingers at one another. The parents, self, teenagers and young children have a role to play, and no sooner we stop blame games and pointing fingers at others than we will be able to manage this menace. Sternheimer maintains that there is no sense in blaming the producers and manufacturers of items that have promoted harm to the others. The problem rests with the people, not the video games (Center, 2014). The author explained the need to look deeper at the causes rather than coming up with a lame conclusion by blaming video games. Some people have presented the case suing the producers but have never succeeded (Sternheimer, 2007). Therefore, the dispute over video games being the only contributors of violence in our societies is null. We can conclude that no matter how violent a video game might be, media violence is similar to all the other risk factors that may promote aggression. The researchers, politicians, security agents and good ambassadors should focus on alleviating and eliminating all the risk factors that pose a threat to the lives of the young people. Media violence is pure for parents to control as compared to the other factors such as bullying, mental illness or poverty (Center, 2014).


Center, M. (2014). Do Video Games Kill?. [online] //MC. Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2017].

Sternheimer, K. (2007). Do Video Games Kill? Contexts. 6(1). Winter 2007. pp. 13-17. Retrieved from:

Urban, D. K. M. (2013, Jan 12). Violence in video games. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. Retrieved from

January 18, 2023
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