Violence in video games, movies and such forth is the fictional representation of someones imagination. For most people, there is an inherent inhibition in the conscious mind, that prevents us from doing heinous things and for some, the outlet for those not-so-pure thoughts is to channel it into fiction or role play or various other mediums that today’s society use as outlets. Now the idea is there for both the person deemed ‘sane’ and the person deemed ‘insane’, it’s how that idea is interpreted into reality that separates those we would term as having mental health issues and those we wouldn’t. How big is that gap really? Inherently, most children wouldn’t drown a kitten or batter a puppy with a sadistic motivation or to abate their own anger, but for some people those natural ‘barriers’ are just not present. Most mothers wouldn’t harm their children but there are cases where due to chemical imbalances in the brain, personality disorders and other organic reasons, harm their own offspring, sometimes with fatal consequences. An external form of media can’t be responsible for that. I would venture that there are more likely to be social reasons responsible for the difference in what one persons sees as permissible in his (or her) minds eye and what a larger collection of people would call a terrible act. A friend recently said to me that all his middle aged friends were addicted to facebook and his theory was because we are yearning for a sense of community. I watched a documentary the other night about a number of ‘crazed’ elephants who were killing females on a reserve, in Africa I believe. The eventual theory for their behaviour was that the architecture of the elephant society had been destroyed through the poaching of adult males some years earlier. These young elephants had grown up without the larger, stronger male bull elephants to act as role models. The elephant society needs those bulls to behave as barriers to bad behaviour. As a society, we have somewhat devolved the ‘family’. Instead of living within streets of one another, we are now scattering – over counties and continents. Single parent families are more common and in most families, every adult present must work to provide a level of lifestyle that is regarded as comfortable. The extended family that children used to belong to has disappeared (people don’t socialise with their neighbours as they used to). I think it is this ‘desocialisation’ is more likely to be responsible for some of the terrible things that have come to pass than violence on our screens.
In contrast though, I’d like to point out two things; 1) when a person plays xbox or such like for a long period of time, their mood, attitude and behaviour is altered (try it yourself) and 2) everyone that has watched television or movies, has been influenced by it. When was the last time a movie cheered you up? Or the last time you cried at a movie, or an advert…. so perhaps the gap isn’t that far to jump from a sane interpretation to an insane one….