PUBG Violence on the Rise? The Link between Video Games and Aggression  Explained
PUBG (Photo Credits: Flickr)

PUBG or Playerunknow’s Battleground is an addictive battle royale game that has been ensnaring video game lovers all over the world. India isn’t too far behind with a rabid PUBG fan base in India. Since it’s a battle royale game, it involves a lot of violence, drawing concerns from parents globally. And their fears aren’t unfounded. PUBG has been the common thread in many violent crimes that unfolded in the country in the recent past, making us wonder whether the game itself has something to do with the rising trend.

In recent news, a PUBG-addicted man from Kalyan, Mumbai stabbed his sister’s fiancé after the latter took away his mobile phone charger. Some time ago, a Delhi teen who murdered his parents and sister was known to be a PUBG addict. A Kurla youth ended his life after being denied a phone that supports the game. So far, PUBG looks like pure trouble.

But do these instances of violence have anything to do with the game? Research on the topic of video game violence can give us insight. Are Video Games Bad For You? 6 Benefits of Gaming You Didn’t Know About!

It’s widely believed that violent video games promote aggression, reduce social behaviour, alter mood, interfere with cognition and increase impulsive behaviour. Playing PUBG and Fortnite Has Benefits? Expert Says Yes, But…

According to the General Aggression Model, a comprehensive framework that helps us understand aggression, situational factors and personal factors can both cause aggressive behaviour in a person.

A gamer can be influenced by a situational factor such as the persona of the game characters he or she takes on. The person may align himself or herself with the values of the character, which may be violent or hateful.

A comprehensive study on the effect of online violent video games on the levels of aggression was published in the PLOS One journal in 2014. A hundred gamers were assigned neutral video game offline, neutral video game online, violent video game offline and violent video game online.

The study found out that playing violent video games, both offline and online, increases aggression in gamers.

A 2018 study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology researched the link between mass shootings and violent video games after a nationwide debate linking the two. Mass killers like the Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza, and Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were addicted to violent video games. Lanza even took 83 thousand headshots, playing a video game, to train himself for the massacre.

The study said that the people who played violent video games were more disinhibited, stress-related factors had a more significant role to play than violent video game exposure.

The study also said that it’s not likely that unburdened violent video gamers may become mass shooters in real life.

But it also added that violent video games might affect interpersonal relationships and social behaviour. PUBG Addiction Lands a Fitness Trainer From Jammu in the Hospital After He Loses His Mental Balance.

Conversely, a 2018 study in the journal Molecular Psychiatry negated all the previous findings linking aggression to video games. The participants of the study played violent video games like Grand Theft Auto V and the non-violent Sims 3 for two months daily and found no significant changes in their behaviour.

Gaming disorder is considered a mental health problem by WHO. Spending long hours playing games and not socialising with family or friends could be a sign of trouble says psychiatrist Dr Parul Tank.

Parents should strictly limit television and video game time to one hour to one-and-a-half hours every day. Gaming addiction, like any other pathological disorder like alcoholism, should be treated with abstaining and counselling, according to Dr Tank.