The long-debated topic do video games cause violence? This can be a very touchy subject. I have a 6yr old stepdaughter that is about to turn 7 that lives at home with my wife and me, as well as a 14yr old stepson that lives with his father and bonus mother. We also have a baby on the way. So today on Think Critic we will break down this controversial topic.

Since video games came about people have had these weird notions that they will rot the brains of the youth, cause developmental problems, or that they will cause a child to have anger issues, etc.… There, however, have been very little if any actual studies that back any of this up.

While we are focusing on violence today, I am going to talk about the benefits of video games briefly. Video games are the number one form of interactive media, one of the few where you can get hours of endless entertainment for pennies on a dollar. For example, you can easily spend $20+ going to see a movie and get a couple of hours of fun out of that, but you could also buy a game for $5 and have hundreds of hours. Sure Netflix can cause movies to be cheaper, but that is still higher in cost.Beyond cost-effectiveness, video games help significantly with hand-eye coordination. They can also help greatly with general motor skills. It can help teach vital problem-solving skills. It can even help with memory development. Video games can also help teach children how to multitask, and how to socialize with others. Let’s not forget there are plenty of educational options for games. Some of them are really good too.

But can it also teach, or train violence? I’m not going to sit here and lie and say there are no connections, but the same connections to damn video games as the cause of youth violence is the same that plague movies, and television, let alone all forms of general entertainment.

But just as it can teach violence it can teach tolerance and love. Let’s touch on that last one for a minute. Love and sex. Oh no, I said a naughty! Society treats violence as acceptable and allows it in almost all forms of media, but if you show a penis or a va-jay-jay you’ve done messed up! Why is it love and sex are bad in video games, but outright slaughter, mutilation, torture, and genocide is acceptable? This simply makes no sense.

Let’s make this perfectly clear. We are a society that loves violence. It’s shameful in a way when you are more scared of love and sex than violence. But can video games cause a child to be violent? I know you want an answer from me.

My answer is this: Only if a parent has not sat down with their child and taught them right from wrong. If you go to the store and ignore the ESRB ratings and buy your children games without caring about what may or may not be in them, you are part of the problem and only have yourself to blame.

Children’s minds are easily manipulated and are volatile. If you don’t play these games with your child at least sit-down and watch them play, explain what is going on and why some it may not be acceptable in the real world. Make sure your children know there is a disconnect in the fantasy from the reality.What this all boils down to is not the games, and not entertainment mediums being inherently dangerous but a failure on most parent parts in not being there for their children. They use television, movies, and yes video games as a babysitter. They don’t get involved and then wonder why their children act out things they see, or later do drugs, or get involved with the wrong crowd. All these things can be avoided if you follow the rating system and just simply be a parent to your children.