Social media animated!
One of the great things about the Internet is the limitless opportunity for social interaction it provides. While it always saddens me to see people use Twitter and other social media tools for the primary purpose of putting other people down, I can’t help but be simultaneously amazed at how technology today allows them to engage in this sort of douchebag behavior on such grand scale. Because of this, and my general fascination with people in general, I end up engaging with these kinds of internet tough guys quite a bit on Twitter. They tend to fart out the same mean-spirited junk most of the time (“you made something bad and you should feel bad,” “I hate you for a thing that I assume you assume about me,” et cetera), but every once in a while, they surprise you.
The fella I talked to in this video was actually not all that mean-spirited. Despite his bloody hockey mask and self-proclaimed status as an “anti fem psycho,” he was pretty darn nice, which is no small feat given how emotionally charged our topic of discussion was. We were mostly chatting about the question of whether video games can influence people to become more violent, but honestly, that topic is so tired at this point that I have trouble staying focused. I ended up talking about diabetes instead.
What’s more interesting to me is that so many people think that there is an absolute “yes or no” answer to the “do video games make people more violent?” question. It seems clear to me that the only valid answer is “It depends on the person and all the other factors in their lives.” I mean, what other answer can you give to a “does [blank] make people [blank]” question?
With video games in particular, there’s absolutely no way of knowing what effect games alone will have on a person on a long-term basis. Some studies saw that many people show a diminished capacity for empathy after playing some videogames, but other studies show the opposite. Unless science is able to gather a perfect test group that is able to be studied by the effects that video games have on them alone, it will never be able to provide us with any conclusive answers.
More qualitative, general observations aren’t much more helpful. Sure, there are more mass shootings in America now than ever before, but the violent crime rate is also down overall. It would be easy to guess that means the rise of violent video games in America gives most people a positive outlet for aggression, decreasing their capacity for violent crime, while having the opposite effect on a group of outliers who later become mass murderers, but that kind of guess would be completely silly.
That kind of guess would have to discount all the other concurrent trends in America today, like the increased levels of violence in film and movies, the increased use of thought- and mood-altering drugs (both street and prescriptions) in modern society, the drastic changes in our sociological/political/nutritional landscape, the Internet’s influence on culture in general, and so many other factors. If you know a social scientist who can isolate video games from all those factors in determining how a person has been affected by his or her environment, I’ve got a crisp $20 bill with their name on it.
Regardless, this video wasn’t meant to be a serious debate about all these issues, so I’m not even sure why I’m getting into them now. It’s just a little animated reenactment of an unusual and semi-cute interaction I had with someone on Twitter. I hope you like it.