September 2018 – Do violent video games have an adverse effect on American teens? Does a graphic television show about suicide alter the mental state of its viewers?
Culture critic Robert Knight believes the answer to both is a resounding yes, labeling the current situation a “culture war on children.”
“The military uses violent videos to train people to kill,” Knight argues. “So it seems reasonable to assume that violence-laden video games may make some kids numb to real violence. …”
Knight referenced a game called “Active Shooter.” Players in this game can carry out school shootings from the comfort of their living rooms, with the game keeping tabs onscreen of how many people the player has killed.
Knight also cited the Netflix hit show 13 Reasons Why, a drama centered around the suicide of a teen named Hannah. Following season one, a 26% increase was seen in the Google searches for how to commit suicide. Season two aired in May with sex scenes, rapes, homosexuality, pornography, and gun violence.
Knight acknowledged one opposing statistic, which claims 80% of mass shooters reveal no interest in video games.
However, he raised this question: “If viewing has no effect on behavior, why do merchants invest billions of dollars on ads to influence people’s buying choices?”