After googling articles related to empathy and video games I quickly found out that violent video games don’t affect empathy directly, and scientist hasn’t found any differences in measures of aggression or empathy between gamers and non-gamers. There is countless of articles and studies focusing on this specific subject, but if we look around us we also see that people are pointing fingers at social media, the commercial business and the TV business, blaming them for influencing the youth in a negative direction. Parents react when their kids spend their spare time playing video games, but do they notice the music their children listen to? There are few things that doesn’t influence us today, but what matters is how we act.
I feel like the society today is out for blood. Were constantly looking for someone/something to blame for all the negativity surrounding us, and people don’t mind pointing at the video game business and pushing the blame over to them. Often when we hear about a shooting in USA or in other parts of the world they also make sure to mention that the suspect also sat at home playing shooting games at least a couple of hours every day. It´s easy to blame people who use their time playing games, since many of these people are introverts that shadows themselves from the world around. I started playing PS4 a lot after I moved as a teenager and found myself surrounded with strangers, it was a way to safely escape the real world and meet people with common interests. You stop feeling like a lonely outsider and start feeling like a normal happy teenager.
When I got home to enjoy my Easter break I noticed that PS4 store had their yearly Easter-sale, and I noticed a game that I’ve seen before but never thought about buying. Life is Strange: Before the Storm, the games plot takes place over three episodes in a city named Arcadia Bay and you play as the main character Chloe. Throughout the game you choose how to direct the plot, you take choices that affects how the game will play out. If you choose “wrong” the game will end in a specific way, so you have to think about your choices and do research while playing to choose “right”. After each episode you get to see the choices you’ve made and what other players chose. It’s a game that demands that you think and without thinking about it you start caring about the characters, and if you go to YouTube and read comments on videos about the game you’ll see many people that’s touched by the game. This is a perfect game that brings forth empathy, and all the stirred players are the evidence of this.
In America most of the science about violence and video games says that there is a connection, but if we look at research done in Norway it’s a bit more sceptic. There is no evidence that there is a connection, but the media still spreads fake news about how your children will be damaged and they will start fighting if you let them play shooting games. No one is talking about how video games actually can teach children about empathy and show them that it’s good to care about others. It seems like the media and many scientists are backing up their cause with moral and politic agenda. I feel like video games can be an outlet for bad feelings, if you’re mad and really would like to punch someone, you can use COD to shoot at virtual people and get rid of the aggression your walking around with, and this won’t harm anybody. Americas problem is that they don’t take care of their youth and if you want a gun it’s as easy to get as getting a cheese burger at McDonalds. Instead of focusing on violent games, we should be looking for more games like Life is Strange, and saluting games that teaches the player to get involved and forcing our feelings to appear.
If there is one thing video games has thought me, it’s that we use too much time in front of the screen instead of looking at our own life and fixing our own problems. It´s an easy escape, and I´m sure my parents love that I´m sitting inside playing instead of being outside escaping problems with sketchy substances. (I just feel like mentioning that I´m not a teenager anymore and I do fix my problems rather than avoiding them with games, I sadly don´t play much video games anymore, but it’s a sacrifice I gladly chose so that I could be social with friends and family).
I felt the song underneath was appropriate today:)
Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX – I Love It