(2025) Video Game Violence: The Indoctrination of Aggressive Behavior and Gun Violence in American Youth This communications study will analyze the affect of violent video games in the indoctrination of aggressive behavior in youth populations. The social context of video game usage defines the underlying affect of “first person shooter” (FPS) games as a gateway to violent behavior. These video games define a violent culture of militarism, mayhem, and death that is perpetuated in this type of popular cultural phenomenon.
Many young people have a tendency to be indoctrinated into an isolated virtual world that encourages aggressive behavior in social environments. The issue of parental non-supervision is another aspect of the dangers that violent video games present in terms of isolation and anti-social behavior. Violent video games area a medium of communication that allows young people to become indoctrinate into aggressive behaviors. In essence, an analysis of the medium of violent video games defines the social influence of “first person shooter” games in the indoctrination of aggressive behavior in youth populations.
American society has increasingly enjoyed the benefits of video game technology, which has provided a new medium of gaming for young people. The current trends in video game culture often revolve around militarism and violence through the popularity of FPS games. In these games, the individual is able to become a soldier or criminal that views a gun (being held in their hand) that can shoot any moving target in the video frame. In many cases, these games encourage the strategic killing of an enemy on a battlefield), or within the context of an urban crime center.
Games, such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and other video games often project these ultra-violent environments that single player or multiple players can socially interact. These aspects of violent video game culture provide a context to analyze the social context in which young people engage each other (and their opponents) in American society. FPS games have become a domesticated type of game, which has popularized violence to a greater proportion of American youth: FPS games have been domesticated.
By doing so, FPS games have become popular entertainment that actively contributes to the militarism and exceptionalism pervasive in American society (Call et al, 2012, p. 67). This video game culture is a major part of the indoctrination of militarism and violence that have become social norms in American society. These are important aspects of the cause and effect relationship of the video game medium in the FPS style, which has become a part of aggressive behavior in youth populations.
Although the influence of FPS video games may not be an absolute cause for violent behavior; they define a medium that facilitates violence and death as part of a popularized gaming culture. More so, the medium of FPS gaming provides a context for aggressive behavior in the study for violence in American society. Certainly, the FPS video game industry provides a propagandistic and popularized method of indoctrination in the role of sensationalized violence in the behaviors of young people.
One of the most serious problems in American culture has been the increasing number of mass-shootings in the United States. The connection between American gun culture and FPS gaming provides a context for aggressive behavior in adolescents. In the 2000s, the rise of games, such as Grand Theft Auto, provided a context in which a player could commit violence in an artificial criminal urban environment. The player could imagine finding or purchasing a gun, knife, and whatever weapon they could imagine, which could then be used to maim, murder, or threaten the virtual opponent.
More so, the popularity of this game eventually led to ultra-violent FPS games, such as Call of Duty and Fall Out, that utilize a “commando” style of gaming with Special Forces military units. Additionally, Grand Theft Auto provides a type of “urban warfare” style of sensationalized violence, which caters to murder and mayhem as a form of interactive entertainment. Smith et al’s (2004) study of Grand Theft Auto and other adult-based video games played by young people define the correlation with video gaming and aggressive behaviors:
Overall, the results from Study 2 reveal that there is a distinct pattern to video game gun aggression. In response to the first research question, video games – just like television shows – feature some elements that may heighten or suppress the risks of harmful effects. The template for gun violence in video games seems to be adult. White, male perpetrators engaging in repetitive, serious, and justified aggression that results in some harm to the target and no punishment to the instigator.
Some of the time these depictions are presented in contexts where rewards are present and humorous incidents occur (p. 599). This “template” for violence is the key component in the gateway to aggressive behavior that is found in these types of violent video games. The indoctrination of youth into the criminal underworld or to military operations provides a context to validate and desensitize the individual into accepting murder, mayhem, and other visually graphic forms of violence.
The disconnection between reality and the FPS virtual world is a major link in this formation of aggressive behaviors in the player’s mind. Smith et al’s (2004) study provides a clinical examination of the aggressive behaviors that are formed through the causality of video games as a gateway to violent behavior in American society. The issue of anti-social behavior in youth gaming culture is another facet of aggressive behavior that allows the player to become indoctrinated through violent video games.
Historically , the rise of FPS games arose in the late 1990s, but the increasingly realistic digital programming techniques of the gaming industry created a more virtual setting for violence. FPS became a larger phenomenon in the gaming industry, especially in a culture that embraces gun ownership and the use of guns as a form of protection or aggressive acts of violence. These real life settings in these games induced many young people to become digitally indoctrinated into the “online” Internet culture as a social connection to other players in a virtual reality:
The potential for use of interactive violent content to influence aggression, as Anderson and Dill (2000) pointed out, is quite high, given that game players actually engage in aggressive activity in a fantasy context. Similarly, use of Internet sites that are violence oriented may be of particular concern because they can provide social support for aggressive tendencies and interests (Slater, 2003, p. 652). These multiplayer online communities define the growing culture of violent video games in the context of militarism and criminal culture, which is often combated with guns or other weapons that may be utilized.
However, a lack of direct connection with other individuals often reinforces the isolation of the individual player to the real world. These are important aspects of the mind-altering effect of violent video games that indoctrinate the young person into the desensitization of violence in the medium of video gaming. Certainly, the video game isolates the player into accepting gun violence as a means of resolving conflicts between themselves and “the enemy”, which increases the tendency towards aggressive behavior in American society.
Another form of validation of violent video games as a tool for indoctrination is based on the educational premise of video games, such as FPS games, as a way to learn about real world scenarios. Often, games, such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, provide an environment in which the individual must survive crime and other dangerous aspects of life in an urban warfare environment. These spatial environments provide a context in which murder and mayhem may be “experimentally” used to provide the player with a context of reality in terms of gun usage.
In many cases, the ‘educational” platforms for video gaming are an extension of the violent film industry’s promotion of violence in the projection of re-enacting violence for an observer/audience: Although many first- and third-person shooter games reiterate the popular genre of the violent action film, the outspoken critics of these games are overlooking the possibility of turning these games into learning environments—media that can be used to engage the procedural rhetorics of media stereotypes, identity creation in virtual environments, and causal relationships between material and digital interfaces (Farman, 2010, p. 06).
The educational platform of video games does provide some instances of learning, which can be used as a platform of understanding conflict and militarism. However, the predominance of gratuitous violent acts in games, such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, provide the FPS with opportunities to vent and explore different forms of aggressive behavior. These violent behaviors can often transform into socially deviant behavioral activities in the real world.
Of course, the link between high school mass shootings, often involving young people, is a major concern on the relationship between FPS games and behavior that is outwardly manifested in the real world. These aspects of American society define the effect of excessive and gratuitous violence that may not be as educational as determined by proponents of these games as a form of indoctrination into American culture.