Watch out! Video games could breed our own Breiviks

Published: September 27, 2012
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Games are being used to promote something which could subliminally seep through the human mind and produce a few ‘crazies’ like Breivik, every now and then. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Norway’s mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, in an effort to ‘desensitise’ himself before going on his shooting spree, spent a total of 130 hours playing the video game “Call of Duty”, as revealed by the judge who sentenced him.

This reminds me of my own 15-year-old brother and several other people I know of, who are not just fans of this game, but play it religiously.

Is there a possibility of any of them turning out to be something like Breivik?

It would be a sweeping generalisation if I say yes.

But the idea of these games helping in the desensitisation of someone cannot be entirely ruled out.

Having a gamer in my own house, I have seen that every other popular game these days is about gangsters, wars and killing people. With the graphics improving more each time, the visuals, can at times, become severely gory to watch.

Yet, it does not seem to affect any of the gamers and instead helps them boast about how ‘hardcore’ they are.

I would not hesitate in saying that I do not just want mere age restrictions on violent games but would in fact want them banned completely, because certain things become so deeply rooted in our lifestyles that they become difficult to just be restricted. I say this because I know that I myself cannot stop anyone from playing these games either by words or by force.

Some friends even thought I was trying to put a ban on a ‘form of art’, by calling for a ban on violent video games, but I don’t think killing people falls in the category of ‘art’. I appreciate the improvement in technology and the realistic graphics, but at the same time, I believe that they can be used in much better, constructive ways, than to be associated with violence.

Games are meant to be healthy and conducive to the mental growth of human beings, giving them an edge over others when it comes to logic, IQ, tactics or even just speed. It is disheartening to see how various forms of games are being used to promote something which could subliminally seep through the human mind and produce a few ‘crazies’ like Breivik, every now and then.

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Ema Anis

The social media editor for the web desk at The Express Tribune. She tweets as @EmaAnis (twitter.com/EmaAnis)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.