Yesterday, The Today Show in Australia posted a god-awful segment about how it is proven that games like Fortnite increases lack of empathy and aggressive behavior. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Be wary, with the emergence of esports and gaming on the global stage, there will be “experts” and other sorts that promote all kinds of ideas and agendas. Additionally, many people will use the violence in gaming as an excuse for other issues. After the Marjory Stoneman shooting, Donald Trump tried to distract us from the gun debate by shifting the focus to games. Trump’s brother, Robert, sits on the board of ZeniMax Media, one of the largest video game developers and publishers in the world. Trump knows this and that video games are not the issue. He just chose to use video games as a scapegoat instead of focusing on guns. Long story short, be wary and find trusted sources. There are a lot of snake oil salesmen out there.
Today, I would like to tackle one of the issues brought up in the Today Show video, desensitization.
I always shied away from violent things. I don’t like guns. I was never one to get into a fight, and I don’t like war movies, war games, etc. So, I didn’t play too many violent video games growing up. It was not until I was in my late 20s that I started to play Wolfenstein, DOOM, and the more aggressive shooting games. As I said, they are not my cup of tea, but they were the games I was assigned to work on, so I had to dive in. I remember the first time I played Wolfenstein; I was such a baby. At first, the violence was jarring and made me feel uncomfortable, I had to play small sections at a time, but as I played more, I stopped seeing the enemy as “people,” but more as an “obstacles” that I had to navigate around. The more I played these types of games, the more I cared less about what I was shooting, and I became more focused on objectives. Many shooting games have the same goal; you must clear a room of enemies to progress or win the game. Over time, if you play enough games, you do the same thing again and again. Clear the room and advance, clear the room and advance. The more games you play, the more shapes enemies take (Aliens, Nazis, and Zombies are common), but the objective remains the same. What became clear to me is that over time, it wasn’t about Nazis, Aliens, or Zombies, those were just what the developers chose to create as my obstacle, it was about clearing the room to advance. I can see how someone who has never played games before can watch a kid play Call of Duty and repeatedly shoot “people” and feel as though they are desensitized to violence. However, in reality, it is merely that the kid has a deeper understanding of the process. While the parent or game novice sees just the violence on the surface, the gamer is looking past the violence and is focused on completing the objective and progressing.
One of my biggest issues with the Today Show segment was how they used kids as props while the adults talked. This is one of my most significant problems. TALK TO YOUR KIDS. ASK THEM QUESTIONS. I have been to a number of seminars where desperate parents attempt to understand their kids by asking an “expert” what they should do…TALK TO YOUR KIDS. ASK THEM QUESTIONS. You may not understand video games, but if you ask good questions, you may be able to understand the larger picture.
Peace and Love,
Would love your thoughts!