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How Video Games Affect Morality

The industry of video games has exploded in recent years. In decades past, video games were simply something that brought fun and enjoyment, much like television. However, with video games expanding into numerous genres, pushing the boundaries of technology, and diversifying to find new fans, the industry has dominated the world, with almost everyone playing them now.

But do video games affect how we perceive the real world? Specifically, have they altered our values or morality in any way? Though this topic could easily take up an entire thesis paper, the short answer is yes.

Like other aspects of society, video games have a complex and not well-understood relationship with morality. Though most people can think of possible negative consequences, the truth is that video games bring some positives to morality as well. This article will aim to explore some of the ways that video games may alter modern morality.

Violent Video Games And Morality

The most popular video games available are ones that include shooting or killing. These have become such a norm that it is hard to find a video game that does not include some sort of violence.

Decades ago, parents worried that violent video games would make their children violent in real life. Now we know that this is not the case. Many studies have been conducted on this issue, but there is no conclusive evidence that video games make people more violent.

However, research has shown that this genre of games makes children more numb to violence and may encourage more aggressive behavior. This means that even though they are not more violent themselves, they may be more accepting of violence when they see it. This suggests they are more likely to shrug off injustices or not help out when they see violence in real life.

Online Games And Morality

Like social media, some games inadvertently offer a platform for toxicity. This is most commonly found in online multiplayer games. These games often have an option to message other players throughout the game or interact with them through a voice chat option. Though these systems can help make the experience more enjoyable and help players make friends, these tools are occasionally used to bully or harass other players.

As with social media, these video games offer some anonymity, so some players believe they can act however they want with few consequences. Though these players are not likely to act like this in real life when interacting with others in person, they may be emboldened by their anonymous status to bully or harass other players in the game. Though most players do not engage in this behavior, the increasing trend of this issue suggests that this genre of video games may hurt morality as it allows players to harm others without any consequences or remorse.

Choice-Based Games And Morality

However, there are still instances where video games may improve mortality. Another genre of gaming that has exploded in the past decade is choice-based gaming. In these games, players move through a story and are confronted with major choices. These decisions often test your morality. They can involve situations where there is clearly a “good” choice and a “bad” choice. Or they may provide the player with a situation where there is no obvious good option.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead is a well-loved choice game known for the ethical dilemmas it presents players. In fact, it was so good at presenting players with moral dilemmas that it is the primary reason this genre of video games has exploded in recent years.

There is one famous situation in the game where the player has to decide who to ration food out to. There are only four food items but ten hungry people in the group. Do you give the food to the children? Or how about the members who contribute the most to the group’s survival? Do you save a ration for yourself? Or do you let your character go hungry for a few more days? This is just one example of the decisions that need to be made throughout the emotional and morality-testing story.

These dilemmas are often hard to work through. Many players have the same emotions and physical reactions to these dilemmas as if they were happening in real life. This is most often recorded on Twitch or Youtube, where many players create fandoms and communities as they play these games. These creators very often struggle with these decisions, as they often want to choose the moral option.

Furthermore, in some cases, the dilemmas presented in these games have an obvious good choice and bad choice. When presented with these decisions, players almost always choose the good choice. How do we know this? These games often show the player the statistics of each major choice after every episode or pivotal scene. These statistics consistently show that a majority of players will choose the moral option, showing that video games uphold, if not positively shift, our sense of morality.

Bottom Line

Morality is always a complex subject and its relationship with video games is not fully studied. There is no conclusive research on whether video games are ultimately harmful or helpful for morality and common values. However, this article shows to points out that like other forms of technology, video games have both benefits and consequences to our morality.

If you want to learn more about morality and its relationship with other subjects, you can find more information here.

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Khaleel Ahmad

Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.

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