By: B. Sapoznik
As we all know, videogames are a popular topic nowadays, as our entertainment, or maybe as a bad influence on those around us. However, a common trend is that popular (and unpopular) videogames are getting more and more violent/inappropriate to its audience. Right now, you might think that videogames have proper age restrictions. Although, those restrictions are not followed by the entire audience and end up exposing content that should not be seen. Furthermore, the violence demonstrated in videogames can certainly affect the audience’s (mostly kids/teens) mental health, and their actions.
A common reference to use is the largely spoken game, Fortnite. Fortnite is a game which presents a “Battle Royale” with groups up to 4 players a team. Fortnite has been expanding since 2017 and was created by Epic Games. Apart from the game modes, Fortnite also enables a “Battle Pass” for players (paid), which gives players exclusive rewards as they pass up levels. Battle Passes change each season, which is a theme for the game that endures about 4 months each. Fortnite is a great example for a game that might affect mental health. A person’s mental health might be harmed due to the exposure of violence and weapons - especially when underage. Through this aspect, the game makes you get hooked by the new season, which each include new surprises for the players. This game became famous worldwide and has over 350 million players registered in 2022.
Another example of this effect was a very serious incident in New Zealand about three years ago. A 31 year old man named Brenton Tarrant lead an armed attack to a religious building, which led to the death of 50 people. In an interview, the murderer claimed that videogames “trained me to be a killer”. This just goes to show the power of influence that videogames might have on their users.
Moreover, videogame users might experience bad behaviour when affected by videogames (as seen in the paragraph above). It is scientifically proven that videogames might cause serious mental illnesses, especially to teenagers, which could scar people for life. Through addiction to videogames, some teenagers are maybe kept isolated from family, healthy lifestyles, school, and exercise, just to name a few.
On the other hand, it is scientifically proven that videogames in general might help with current health issues for certain players. Some gamers have natural mental illnesses, and sometimes videogames can be seen as a hobby or a distraction from the pain they suffer. Also, videogames may help with social interactions. By playing with other (trusted) people, you may construct deep, important relationships. After all, playing with other people is much better than playing alone, but cooperation is key for interactions online. Additionally, videogames enhance some skills such as hand eye coordination, instant problem-solving/strategizing, etc.
In conclusion, videogames are a powerful industry that has become more and more relevant in our lives. Overall, I would say videogames have a neutral (or maybe even good) effect if used in moderation. May this be a horrible influence to kids? Or might they just be the cure to diseases, or a tool to enhance practical abilities?