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Do video games cause/encourage violence?
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28 / F / Michigan, USA
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Posted 1/5/07
Many people have many complaints against video games and the supposed morals they promote within them, but when a child does something wrong who is to blame?

Personally, I think more responsibility should be placed on the parents as opposed to the game. As a good parent you should ensure your child can distinguish well between reality and fiction. While I don't like or enjoy games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, I don't think that the game would cause someone to go act out in relation to the game. Even if a child did think "Wow this makes me want to steal a car! I think I'll go do that now." as the parent I think before you let your child play the game you need to remind them, that it isn't real, and if you were to do those kinds of things in real life there'd be huge consequences.

As for promoting violence, if some one decides to let's say... shoot someone. I don't think it was the video game that made them do it. It might give them the idea, but they could just as easily looked at the news, or somewhere else with violence, and thought of it. In my opinion, if someone has the mind to shoot someone, they had a tendency toward violence before the video game, or obviously have other mental/personal problems.
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28 / F / Michigan, USA
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Posted 1/5/07
1. Because parents are oblivious and don't check ratings before they buy the games, or see the rating, but don't take the time to see what the game really is like
2. Some stores don't even check to see if the kid is old enough to buy the game. I had a friend go into a GameStop, shes 16, and even though they knew she wasn't 18, let her buy a rated M game.
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F / Japan
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Posted 1/5/07
Depends on the personnality of the player. Some people are influenced very easily so yea I'd say it's highly possible. But that's why games have ratings... I hate hearing parents complain about violence in video games. I laugh when I hear "i bought my 12 year old grand theft auto and it's a terrible game." Why did you buy it then? T.T Parents need to be informed on the personnality of their children and know exactly what they are playing.

A lot of games arent targeted at children...
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28 / F / Michigan, USA
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Posted 1/5/07
I might overestimate the resistance people have to influences like video games and such, but I really think it's the parents responsibility to gauge the level of maturity the kid has. So I agree parents getting to know their child is important too.

Side note: I like your avatar a lot ^^!
Ronin
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30 / M / California
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Posted 1/5/07
A few kids were influenced to hang themselves after watching Saddam Hussein's execution. Some people are just idiots.

Society and bad parenting are to blame but everyone wants to look for a scapegoat so that it's no longer their problem. If these minority of kids arent being heavily influenced by video games, it'll be something else.
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29 / M / US
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Posted 1/5/07
I think the esrb rating are generally quite good, and if parents and stores would follow them, that would help quite a bit.

I agree with most of you guys in that the blame should go more on the parents/kids. Heck I remember when I was 10 or so one kid I knew power choped (power rangers) his brother and caused him to go to the hospital. Tv, movies, its all dangerous to some extent. What do surveys typically show, before the avg kid enter collage they have seen 10,000 murders on tv or (something like that.)

People have been saying whatever is new is dangerous for a long time. Even with books. When some kind of VR full immersion thing comes out, they will say the same thing, even if its no more dangerous then games now.

Videogames are protected under the First Amendment and deserve treatment no different than film and literature.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_in_video_games#United_States
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22 / M / the darkness
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Posted 1/5/07
no its just politicians who need to rant during election years so they choose games because its a easy target. Gamesare also something parents don't fully understand so they are easy to convince. I mean if you look back politicans have attacked comic books in the 60s, television, now games. In otherwords things young people enjoy, that they can use to create panic.
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Posted 1/5/07
This is the same thing that happened with Jazz, metal music, and comic books.
Cultural lag time is the time it takes for the culture to return to "equilibrium" following the introduction of something new either material or non material; such as stem cell research, gay marriage, and video games that are becoming more and more realistic in terms of graphics and the number of actions a character is able to do.
If you're a responsible parent you would know what games your kid is playing and that "argument" about video games promoting bad morals is kind of weak. How many video games do you think are sold worldwide? just because the media decides to focus in special cases like the Columbine School shooting where one of the shooters happened to play Doom, people start making correlations that while they might look reasonable considering some people are more easily influenced than others; they are weak correlations and there have been studies that have failed to directly link video games and violent behavior as a cause and effect situation.
Violent games and junk food sell for a reason, the whole society is to blame, every social institution works inter-dynamically with each other, you can't just say "my kid is violent because of Hollywood and video games" How come there is more controversy about a game named bully than a game made by a religious videogame company where you are a soldier in the end of the world that "saves" believers from the atheists and the demons that threaten to take their evangelical souls?
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29 / M / US
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Posted 1/5/07
Super Columbine Massacre RPG.
Enjoy!
http://www.columbinegame.com/
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Posted 1/5/07
Oh the humanity, and then we wonder why Bush is our president
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40 / M / CT,USA
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Posted 1/5/07
Well about kids playing games i dont think that they encorage violence but the do encorage lazyness.I mean when a super bloody cool games comes out kids to go anywhere but their TV.
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27 / M / Toronto
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Posted 1/5/07

mauz15 wrote:

Oh the humanity, and then we wonder why Bush is our president


good thing he's not ours
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31 / M / California
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Posted 1/5/07

reikiaddict wrote:


mauz15 wrote:

Oh the humanity, and then we wonder why Bush is our president


good thing he's not ours

You lucky Canadian, you...
-------------------------------------------------------------
I agree that a lot is dependant on the parents. Regardless of what they are exposing their children to, parents need to take an active role in children's interpretation of what they take in.
A month or so ago, I was in EB, and there was a parent there buying The Warriors for his seven-year-old. The employee at the counter said, "This game contains strong language, nudity, and graphic depictions of violence and gore. Are you sure you want to purchase this game for your child?", and the guy wasn't even listening! I can only hope the guy at least went home and played the game with his kid. It seems that a lot of parents really don't care anymore, and that worries me.
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28 / F / Michigan, USA
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Posted 1/5/07

BasouKazuma wrote:

A few kids were influenced to hang themselves after watching Saddam Hussein's execution. Some people are just idiots.


Was it proven that this was the reason for them hanging themselves? Something tells me if they were willing to hang themselves just after watching that video, they had other reasons for wanting to end their life.


mauz15 wrote:

Just because the media decides to focus in special cases like the Columbine School shooting where one of the shooters happened to play Doom, people start making correlations that while they might look reasonable considering some people are more easily influenced than others; they are weak correlations and there have been studies that have failed to directly link video games and violent behavior as a cause and effect situation.


I agree that a lot of this could just be a perceived correlation. The situations that happen to apply are pointed out, but all the other teenage violence isn't shown as not being caused by video games/movies/etc.
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Henry Jenkins is a professor of Humanities and co-creator of the MIT comparative media studies program
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Jenkins

He wrote an article called: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked

1. The availability of video games has led to an epidemic of youth violence.
According to federal crime statistics, the rate of juvenile violent crime in the United States is at a 30-year low. Researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes than the average person in the general population. It's true that young offenders who have committed school shootings in America have also been game players. But young people in general are more likely to be gamers — 90 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls play. The overwhelming majority of kids who play do NOT commit antisocial acts. According to a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General's report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure. The moral panic over violent video games is doubly harmful. It has led adult authorities to be more suspicious and hostile to many kids who already feel cut off from the system. It also misdirects energy away from eliminating the actual causes of youth violence and allows problems to continue to fester.

2. Scientific evidence links violent game play with youth aggression.
Claims like this are based on the work of researchers who represent one relatively narrow school of research, "media effects." This research includes some 300 studies of media violence. But most of those studies are inconclusive and many have been criticized on methodological grounds. In these studies, media images are removed from any narrative context. Subjects are asked to engage with content that they would not normally consume and may not understand. Finally, the laboratory context is radically different from the environments where games would normally be played. Most studies found a correlation, not a causal relationship, which means the research could simply show that aggressive people like aggressive entertainment. That's why the vague term "links" is used here. If there is a consensus emerging around this research, it is that violent video games may be one risk factor - when coupled with other more immediate, real-world influences — which can contribute to anti-social behavior. But no research has found that video games are a primary factor or that violent video game play could turn an otherwise normal person into a killer.

3. Children are the primary market for video games.
While most American kids do play video games, the center of the video game market has shifted older as the first generation of gamers continues to play into adulthood. Already 62 percent of the console market and 66 percent of the PC market is age 18 or older. The game industry caters to adult tastes. Meanwhile, a sizable number of parents ignore game ratings because they assume that games are for kids. One quarter of children ages 11 to 16 identify an M-Rated (Mature Content) game as among their favorites. Clearly, more should be done to restrict advertising and marketing that targets young consumers with mature content, and to educate parents about the media choices they are facing. But parents need to share some of the responsibility for making decisions about what is appropriate for their children. The news on this front is not all bad. The Federal Trade Commission has found that 83 percent of game purchases for underage consumers are made by parents or by parents and children together.

4. Almost no girls play computer games.
Historically, the video game market has been predominantly male. However, the percentage of women playing games has steadily increased over the past decade. Women now slightly outnumber men playing Web-based games. Spurred by the belief that games were an important gateway into other kinds of digital literacy, efforts were made in the mid-90s to build games that appealed to girls. More recent games such as The Sims were huge crossover successes that attracted many women who had never played games before. Given the historic imbalance in the game market (and among people working inside the game industry), the presence of sexist stereotyping in games is hardly surprising. Yet it's also important to note that female game characters are often portrayed as powerful and independent. In his book Killing Monsters, Gerard Jones argues that young girls often build upon these representations of strong women warriors as a means of building up their self confidence in confronting challenges in their everyday lives.

5. Because games are used to train soldiers to kill, they have the same impact on the kids who play them.
Former military psychologist and moral reformer David Grossman argues that because the military uses games in training (including, he claims, training soldiers to shoot and kill), the generation of young people who play such games are similarly being brutalized and conditioned to be aggressive in their everyday social interactions.

Grossman's model only works if:

* we remove training and education from a meaningful cultural context.
* we assume learners have no conscious goals and that they show no resistance to what they are being taught.
* we assume that they unwittingly apply what they learn in a fantasy environment to real world spaces.

The military uses games as part of a specific curriculum, with clearly defined goals, in a context where students actively want to learn and have a need for the information being transmitted. There are consequences for not mastering those skills. That being said, a growing body of research does suggest that games can enhance learning. In his recent book, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, James Gee describes game players as active problem solvers who do not see mistakes as errors, but as opportunities for improvement. Players search for newer, better solutions to problems and challenges, he says. And they are encouraged to constantly form and test hypotheses. This research points to a fundamentally different model of how and what players learn from games.

6. Video games are not a meaningful form of expression.
On April 19, 2002, U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr. ruled that video games do not convey ideas and thus enjoy no constitutional protection. As evidence, Saint Louis County presented the judge with videotaped excerpts from four games, all within a narrow range of genres, and all the subject of previous controversy. Overturning a similar decision in Indianapolis, Federal Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner noted: "Violence has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low. It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware." Posner adds, "To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it." Many early games were little more than shooting galleries where players were encouraged to blast everything that moved. Many current games are designed to be ethical testing grounds. They allow players to navigate an expansive and open-ended world, make their own choices and witness their consequences. The Sims designer Will Wright argues that games are perhaps the only medium that allows us to experience guilt over the actions of fictional characters. In a movie, one can always pull back and condemn the character or the artist when they cross certain social boundaries. But in playing a game, we choose what happens to the characters. In the right circumstances, we can be encouraged to examine our own values by seeing how we behave within virtual space.

7. Video game play is socially isolating.
Much video game play is social. Almost 60 percent of frequent gamers play with friends. Thirty-three percent play with siblings and 25 percent play with spouses or parents. Even games designed for single players are often played socially, with one person giving advice to another holding a joystick. A growing number of games are designed for multiple players — for either cooperative play in the same space or online play with distributed players. Sociologist Talmadge Wright has logged many hours observing online communities interact with and react to violent video games, concluding that meta-gaming (conversation about game content) provides a context for thinking about rules and rule-breaking. In this way there are really two games taking place simultaneously: one, the explicit conflict and combat on the screen; the other, the implicit cooperation and comradeship between the players. Two players may be fighting to death on screen and growing closer as friends off screen. Social expectations are reaffirmed through the social contract governing play, even as they are symbolically cast aside within the transgressive fantasies represented onscreen.

8. Video game play is desensitizing.
Classic studies of play behavior among primates suggest that apes make basic distinctions between play fighting and actual combat. In some circumstances, they seem to take pleasure wrestling and tousling with each other. In others, they might rip each other apart in mortal combat. Game designer and play theorist Eric Zimmerman describes the ways we understand play as distinctive from reality as entering the "magic circle." The same action — say, sweeping a floor — may take on different meanings in play (as in playing house) than in reality (housework). Play allows kids to express feelings and impulses that have to be carefully held in check in their real-world interactions. Media reformers argue that playing violent video games can cause a lack of empathy for real-world victims. Yet, a child who responds to a video game the same way he or she responds to a real-world tragedy could be showing symptoms of being severely emotionally disturbed. Here's where the media effects research, which often uses punching rubber dolls as a marker of real-world aggression, becomes problematic. The kid who is punching a toy designed for this purpose is still within the "magic circle" of play and understands her actions on those terms. Such research shows us only that violent play leads to more violent play.

Original link: http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/myths.html
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