A Current Affair: Violent video games, how much should kids ...
It's a long-standing debate: do violent video games increase violent or aggressive behaviour in real life?
"I don't think video gaming is the leading factor," president of the Australian e-sports association, Darren Kwan, told A Current Affair.
"We've seen it in movies, we've seen it in theatrical plays. Video gaming is the next generation of depicting art, depicting some kind of story."Parents have expressed fears about children's exposure to violent video games. (A Current Affair)
The question has to be asked - what is artistic about a game like Grand Theft Auto, where the activities are essentially committing crimes, and there are drugs and prostitutes involved?
"The art of it could be arguing how someone designed the cars in the city landscape," said Kwan.
"A recent study by Oxford university polled 2000 families and found that despite playing games like Call of Duty and GTA, most of the teenagers and families and parents and teachers reported that there was a positive outcome. No link to aggression, no link to actually wanting to go out and do those activities, but actually a better link in understanding those issues in society."E-sports association president Darren Kwan said video games were the next generation of art. (A Current Affair)
As a gamer himself, child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Hu Kim Lee says he can see both sides of the argument.
"Persistent daily habitual exposure to violence in video games can have short term and long term de-sensitisation to violence in real life and it can affect the way you think, feel, and ultimately the way you behave," Dr Kim Le told A Current Affair.
He says the 30-minute period following a game is often the riskiest.Psychiatrist Dr Hu Kim Lee said "persistent" daily exposure to video game violence could cause problems. (A Current Affair)
"Because the young person is still activated from the game and is still acting as though people are not really getting hurt, it's simulated violence," he said.
Sydney man Daniel Chapman is serving three years behind bars after stabbing his father to death because he interrupted his video game. And accused Christchurch mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant referenced a number of popular video games in his manifesto.
But violent video games are among the most popular on the market. Last year, Counterstrike GO made $400 million, and Fortnite is currently raking in $300 million every month.Fortnite is making $300 million every month. (A Current Affair)
Last year, American video game developer Valve Corporation banned a game by a Russian developer called Active Shooter, soon after a game called Standoff was also taken off the market. The industry was concerned about the game's representation of violence in real and confronting settings.
It's those concerning elements that influenced school principal Peter Bothe to ban all games at his school, and install equipment to monitor usage.
"We felt we needed to put some ban in just to help them get beyond the addictive nature of online games," he told A Current Affair.Perth principal Peter Bothe has banned video games at school. (A Current Affair)
"They would've ended up playing games all recess and lunch time rather that be out having some physical activity or relating to their friends. We actually had a gaming club and we felt it was counteractive to what we were trying to achieve as a happy school community."
Mr Bothe is Principal of Sacred Heart College at Sorrento, north of Perth. He says both parents and students supported the school's decision.
"We're not naive enough to think we're going to change every single students behaviour, and I think having seen some of those first person shooter images that resemble the online video games that we saw in Christchurch, we realised that too much of one thing is not good," he said.Mr Bothe said students had supported the school's decision. (A Current Affair)
Our experts say it's up to parents to monitor what games their children are playing and how much time they spend gaming.
"Nowadays it's normal for children to play every day and I think that's unhealthy. Because your child is playing online at home doesn't necessarily mean they're safe," Dr Kim Le told A Current Affair.
"It's a challenge for society to learn and understand and for parents at home to say 'Ok just like we turn off the TV for you to do your homework, we turn off the video game machine so you can do your homework', and have that discussion and framework," said Kwan.