How Drugs are Depicted in Global Video Games

One of the most debated and currently ongoing arguments regarding global video games revolves around their effects on children. Some argue that video games do not influence people, whereas others argue that the effects of the games are profound and in many ways.

A player in the game GTA V cooking crystal meth in-game.

For today’s blog, we will assume the position that games do have an effect on people, and we will be exploring how drugs are depicted in video games and what that might do to the public.

The social cognitive theory argues that anything that you are exposed to frequently enough and for a certain minimum period of time is bound to have its effect on you. If we go by this theory, we would really need to worry about how people, especially children, are seeing drugs according to how they are depicted in video games.

We all know the negative side effects of drugs such as meth and cocaine on the health of a user. We know these mainly from films and TV shows, by drug junkies being depicted as unhealthy people and criminals. Simply said, they are shown as the ‘bad guys’. However, nowadays, video games are changing this stereotype of drug users and making them seem somewhat appealing. Games such as GTA V allow you to play as a drug dealer, and during the process to consume many different drugs. After turning a big profit from selling all types of drugs such as Meth, you are able to live a lavish life and buy expensive cars and buildings in-game.


I believe such a positive representation of drugs in video games has a profound negative consequence on people, especially children. It gives them the illusion that drugs are not as bad as they were always told since their favorite video game characters consume them. It might even go so far as encouraging people to deal drugs because of the illusion that they enable you to live a happy and prosperous life.

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