In 8th or 9th grade, ages ago it seems, I wrote a paper on videogames and whether or not they cause violent behaviour. Do violent games really make us more aggressive?
There are a lot of people that can be listed on the negative scale in this question. Concerned parents, certain politicians, some scientists, etc. These people will argue that the younger generation is growing up learning that violence is okay. However, as far as I know there isn't any legitimate evidence that this is the case. In order to fail to make the distinction between beating someone with a bat on screen and doing so in real life (a scenario which has happened in real life), one must suffer from a mental state even before starting to play any videogames at all.
As an example, think of school shootings. These have frequently been blamed on videogames. But do you really think the killers were perfectly fine before they started to play videogames? And if they were, wouldn't it be more likely that the cause of the problem would lie outside the world of gaming?
While there are some studies that do point towards increased violent tendencies among those who play violent videogames, there aren't really any - to my knowledge - that prove the actual violence in the games to be the cause. Yet this is what people tend to put the blame on: the violence seen on screen.
We see violence in the movies we watch and hear it in the music we listen to, yet it's videogames that take the heavy blow. The difference is that videogames are interactive and competitive, resulting in a stronger state of focus and an easier way to actually feel like you're a part of the game.
What I'm trying to say is that visually there isn't any major difference between for example movies and videogames, and neither can be proved to cause violent behaviour. However, a reason for videogames to be a villain in this matter is, the way I see it, the sense of competition. Even if there's less blood on screen, it's the element of competing - against the computer or other human players - that can cause a problem. We get so into it that the emotions can stick with us even after we stop playing.
Yet, in defence of videogames, it is very important to remember that competing lies within the human nature. We simply can't exist without competing against each other. And, when you look at other things involving competing against others, physical sports aren't any better. Why do you suppose those football or hockey players always seem to fight? It's a fierce, adrenaline-packed and fast-paced battle, and on that point videogames and physical sports are quite similar.
So yes, perhaps videogames do cause violent behaviour, but what I want people to remember is that it isn't the presence of violence in the games that's a problem, but rather the element of competition. And the element of competition exists everywhere, not only in videogames. Thus, it's without valid support that videogames in particular are blamed, as they're only a small part of the problem. So if you want to ban a certain videogame for its violent content, you might just as well ban the sport of ice hockey while you're at it.