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Views on Violence in Video Games

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the what-day-isn't-complete-without-this-debate? dept.

Censorship 626

CBS News' GameCore site is running a series of articles discussing the ever recurring debate about video games and violent behavior. They start with prominent anti-gaming lawyer Jack Thompson. From the article: "The heads of six major health care organizations testified before Congress that there are hundreds of studies that prove the link. All the video game industry has are studies paid for by them, which are geared to find the opposite result. Lawyers call such experts 'whores.'" Tim Buckley, of the webcomic Ctrl+Alt+Del, had the chance to put forth an opposing viewpoint on the subject. According to the site there will be more coverage on this topic next week from other gaming community members.

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Virst Vost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846753)

A Very Valuable Vision of Varied Video Game Violence Views.

I just took a hit of AMT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846757)

I wonder what it will be like.

Re:I just took a hit of AMT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846876)

i hear it's like LSD but with less mind trip...

Re:I just took a hit of AMT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846989)

The Alternative Minimum Tax sucks rocks!

violent games (2, Interesting)

dmf415 (218827) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846758)

Here's a study that was done...interesting?

Recent medical brain scan studies at Harvard, Indiana University, and elsewhere prove that adolescents' brain functions are damaged by a steady diet of violent images. The heads of six major health care organizations, including the American Medical, Pediatric, and Psychiatric Associations have all testified before Congress in June 2000 that violent entertainment contributes to teen violence. Video games are literally "murder simulators" teaching our kids how to kill.

Re:violent games (5, Insightful)

crunk (844923) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846861)

Ya lets get rid of the video games, and movies, and boxing, football, and all other "violent" activities and live your pie in the sky dream.

You are always going to have people who cannot distinguish between make believe and reality. We should commit these people, not punish the sane people.

Re:violent games (4, Funny)

DarkMantle (784415) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846882)

Another recent study shows that 90% of Serial Killers ate a bread product within 24 hours before commiting murder.

Therefore, eating bread leads to murder.

Re:violent games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846885)

It's not interesting without references.

mister obvious here (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846894)

so if games do all that.

what does real world war coverage do to people?

those are REAL people dying. not just pixels on a screen.

We better ban war too. its violent.

Re:violent games (5, Insightful)

Cheirdal (776541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846938)

Video games don't teach kids how to kill. Absent parenting combined with social retardation (as in the case of Columbine)lead kids to kill. Bad parenting or no parenting is behind most if not all teen murderers.

Re:violent games (0, Flamebait)

PoopJuggler (688445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846951)

Recent medical brain scan studies at Harvard, Indiana University, and elsewhere prove that Jack Thompson has a brain the size of walnut. The heads of six major health care organizations, including the American Medical, Pediatric, and Psychiatric Associations have all testified before Congress in June 2000 that Jack Thompson is an idiot. Jack Thompson is literally an "idiot" teaching our kids how to be idiots.

Re:violent games (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846961)


And we aren't programmed by nature to be confrontational? You've never seen little kids shouting at each other/their parents?

'Monkey see, monkey do' applies more to reality than video games. Kids do what they see their parents/peers/teachers doing long before they do what they see on a video screen.

Which isn't to say that there's no link whatsoever between observed violence and real violence, but the factors are much larger than just the video games/movies.

We are, by nature, confrontational. Never forget that. Some of us spar with words, some with horseplay, some with guns. Do not pin societal problems on specific symptoms of those problems.

Instead, ask why we enjoy killing people on video screens. Ask why kids bring knives and guns to school. Ask why people live in fear of things that will likely never happen to them. Ask why we've created violent black markets and glorified them in various forms of media.

Video games are a drop in the bucket...

Re:violent games (2, Insightful)

halber_mensch (851834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846994)

And you're literally a "fact simulator" teaching readers to believe unidentified information with no sources or references.

New Study, More Time (4, Interesting)

moofdaddy (570503) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846759)

As time goes by the studies concerning video games and violence will get better and better. We are finally reaching a point where video games with real detail have been around long enough that major studies can be done on them. Studies that have been done in the past are amazingly accurate because the sample size and length of the study can only be so long.

A new study was released yesterday by Tulane Medical which tracked video game users over a 8 year period testing how much the video games they play affect their tendency toward violence. The study found that among those who played games 8% went on to have some form of violence conviction while only 6% of the non-gamers did.

The head of the project though did say that this is something that need a lot more data before any major conclusions can be drawn.

Re:New Study, More Time (5, Insightful)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846798)

And to sound like a broken record, but it must be done, that is correlation, not causality.

Re:New Study, More Time (2, Insightful)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846972)

Exactly. These 'studies' are the equalavent of saying that breathing causes heart attacks or riding in a car increases your risk of being in a fatal accident.

Re:New Study, More Time (0, Offtopic)

kaellinn18 (707759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846973)


These people never cease to amaze me. No one seems to understand the difference between correlation and causality anymore (or did they ever?). Not to mention that these days you can prove pretty much anything if you throw enough money at it. Hell, given a few billion dollars I could have several scientists testify before Congress that the world is flat(1).

(1) Only true for certain definitions of flat.

Re:New Study, More Time (2, Insightful)

darthv506 (571196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846821)

So what were the error bars from these studies? Anything more than 1% is going give totally meaningless results ;)

Re:New Study, More Time (1)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846844)

How many people were studied? Depending on sample size, is a 2 percent difference statistically significant? What of the fact that some with violent tendencies may have sought out the games, rather than being influenced thereby? Are these "video games" in general, or was some class of "violent" games studied?

Sloppy studies of this annoy me, partly because it stigmatizes an activity that I enjoy, and partly because I really want to know the extent of effects, if any, that exposure to violent media has before I'm having to guide children of my own.

Re:New Study, More Time (5, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846978)

I am wondering why these studies are not done in Japan? A place with zero crime rate and an overwhelming dose of video games.

Ooops... could it throw off their theory/lame hypothesis etc etc.

Re:New Study, More Time (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846862)

Can you provide a link to that study? I searched for it and couldn't find a references to it.

Re:New Study, More Time (5, Informative)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846872)

Correlation, not causation. If video games could so drastically affect behavior, where are all the Pac-Man addicts who should be running around eating everything in sight? Where are the vast numbers of Halo and UT who should be sniping at people off of rooftops?

Most people can play videogames and not think that the room-mate who refuses to do the dishes needs to be fragged. It's those sad sacks who can't, and their parents (who in all likelyhood are just as responsible for Junior being a clue-impaired moron) who should be held responsible, not the game companies.

Parents need to actively involved in raising their kids, not letting the TV or the X-Box do it for them. Buckley hit the nail on the head with that one.


Re:New Study, More Time (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846891)

There is a reason that the armed services are looking at video games to desensitize soldiers to pulling the trigger on a human being. As far back as the 1930's, the armed forces have known there is an innate reluctance to pulling the trigger on another human being (in most cases), and this resistance has to be overcome by training. Therefore, whereas the first targets were simply targets, modern targets have become more and more realistic, culminating today in video games that are more immersive. When I did the USMC ROTC bootcamp a dozen years ago or so, we had serious serious training to react, react, REACT! when confronted with an enemy target. This training is deeply ingrained so that at what is called "the moment of truth", you will not hesitate.

There likely is a small but significant correlation between video games and increased violence, but this will likely not be any greater than if they properly controlled for other means of aggressive expression, like playing football or rugby or simply getting into fights. Properly controlled studies will also have to control for drug and alcohol abuse.

Re:New Study, More Time (1)

jocmaff (714526) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846911)

and as always with statistics are we sure that those that play video games aren't simply more prone to violence with or without the video game. all BS.

it's like saying more relationships fail when the couple isn't married than when they are. well shiat how many gazilion more relationships are there that aren't marriages vs. those that are marriages.

for all we know those that don't play video games could include all of amercia... why include those 60 years and older??? simple they don't commit violent crimes so as always with stats it's often bogus.

screw this crap anyway... it comes down to a parenting issue period. only in America can the blame be placed so easily on somewhere it doesn't belong.

Causality versus Correlation (1)

BrianMarshall (704425) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846944)

I see this in the media all the time...

How can they separate causality from correlation?

It certainly would not be surprising if violent people play more violent video games.

The number of rapes in public parks goes up with ice cream consumption; obviously we should ban ice cream.

They can debate this to death... (2, Interesting)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846763)

But not much can be done about it. Games make money. Lots of money. When there's that kind of power behind an industry, the most critics can do is get warning labels on the boxes.

Re:They can debate this to death... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846849)

And they can more-or-less vigorously enforce the intent of these warning labels; in my area it was actually pretty difficult to see "Eyes Wide Shut" when it came out; I don't see why video games would necessarily be different.

Re:They can debate this to death... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846984)

Not to mention that silly little amendment [cornell.edu] .

There was no violence before video games... (5, Funny)

k3v0 (592611) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846777)

Violence must be caused by video games. There was no murder or violent crime before Grand Theft Auto came out and tainted all of the children!!

Re:There was no violence before video games... (4, Funny)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846881)

Yeah, and now I hear there's a crime with the same name! Who can deny that the game affected our culture negatively?

Re:There was no violence before video games... (2, Funny)

crunk (844923) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846899)

Video games do not fucking make people violent! What the fuck is wrong with you people! I'm going to thump the skull of the next mother fucker who says it!!!

We are a silly nation (2, Insightful)

gosand (234100) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846912)

Violence must be caused by video games. There was no murder or violent crime before Grand Theft Auto came out and tainted all of the children!!

Right. And there were no evil corporations before Microsoft, no lawsuits before that lady spilled coffee on her lap at McDonalds, etc.

Personally, I think there is a link to violent behavior and how we as a society have come to accept it as "normal". Video games are a part of that culture, but they are by no means something you can point at as a single cause. We have a US President that is a war monger. You can see people getting killed all over television, but show a bare breast and the entire country freaks the F out. Over the last 20 years or so, we have been propagating the message that violence is normal and OK. We are a very silly nation.

Re:There was no violence before video games... (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846914)

Now that's an unreasonable statement that oversimplifies reality. I am willing to accept that there may be a correlation, but proving causality is going to be tougher. I think games could be a bad influence, but humans are a far greater influence.

Personally, I want to see these studies that show there is or isn't a link between game violence and real violence. I've never heard of such a study either way.

Among Adults (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846955)

There has always been violence among adults. I think their point is the effect of watching violence on children. I don't remember as much child based violence when I was a kid (all I had was an Atari).

That being said, I think most of the blame for the increase in child based violence should be on the parents. They're the ones who use video games and DVD players as babysitters.

Re:There was no violence before video games... (1)

jdreed1024 (443938) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846975)

Violence must be caused by video games. There was no murder or violent crime before Grand Theft Auto came out and tainted all of the children!!

We all know that's not true. What would be an interesting study though would be one that focuses on people up to, say, age 25. Human violence has been around since one caveman kicked another caveman in the balls for no reason, but I wouldn't be surprised if video game content led to an increase in violence among people age 12-25, or resulted in first offences being committed at earlier ages.

It's stupid to say that video games are responsible for violence, but it's equally stupid to say that since violence existed before video games, video games cannot possibly be responsible for any violence. Those are both false statements. Video games are more realistic than ever, there's no denying that. And there's no denying that children are heavily influenced by their surroundings and environment, even well into their teen years. Is there a connection? Clearly more study is needed.

Re:There was no violence before video games... (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846985)

That's like saying, "Well there was domestic violence before fathers became raging alcoholics, therefore there's no way that alcoholics cause violence."

The matter is, it's not necessarily a matter of direct cause, it's the added effect. There is no way for you to peer into some magic crystal ball to see what your lfie would be like if you hadn't played violent games. That's what studies and papers are written about, and if you are arguing based on pure emotion instead of reading the research and deciding for yourself if their methods were sound, then you're no better than any other FUD spewing person.

So while I'm not really taking a side here, because I haven't read the research, I'm imploring you to do the same, and keep an open mind about things. Just because something doesn't happen to you, doesn't mean there isn't a discernable effect in the entire population.

Re:There was no violence before video games... (1)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846993)

Your statement is a non-sequitur.

Just because the results of the study aren't mentally convient, doesn't mean they are true.

While, personally, I have played may a violent video games, I know the difference between reality and games, as do most adolescents, I do see a point in the argument.

Psychologically, it boils down to desensitization. Same thing happens with movies, TV, jokes, news, you name it. With video games, it becomes much more personal. It's not someone else doing the killing, it's you.

I can't remember the reference, though I do recall it being a comedian, it can help shed light on it. The example given about violence and movies talked about all the kids leaving a kung fu movie kicking and punching at each other. It is worth noting that pretty much none, if any at all, went on to break someone's neck because of any movie they saw. One movie (or pick your random media) at a time, people have become emotionally less sensitive to seeing people die or hurt.

Re:There was no violence before video games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11847011)

You are aware that there were still violent GAMES before video games, and that they did indeed make kids more violent?

You're of course right that there was violence before video games. And there will of course be violence even after video games.

But that doesn't mean we should glorify it and reward people for acting out virtual acts of violence. Just because violence is not a new problem doesn't mean we should ignore the problem video games represent.

If the experts are whores... (4, Funny)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846779)

...what does that make Thompson? Seriously, this guy has his head so far up his ass, he makes Helen Lovejoy sound rational.

Re:If the experts are whores... (1)

theVP (835556) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846924)

and prominent? He's lost nearly every case he's tried against the video game industry. How the hell is this guy considered to be "prominent"?

Woah (4, Funny)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846784)

These people are retarded. If they want to stop violence then they should just ban killing people instead.

Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846800)

Legalize the killing of retarded people.

Re:Or... (1)

jocmaff (714526) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846980)

or at least Anonymous Cowards

Lawyers & Whores (3, Insightful)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846786)

I find it funny that Jack Thompson is calling the experts that don't agree with him 'whores'. Seems like that's a pot-kettle-black issue to me.

Violence (2, Insightful)

blahlemon (638963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846788)

I'm sorry, I don't understand people who think that you can expose yourself to hours and hours and hours of violence and not become, at least, desensitized to it or, at worst, enticed to it.

Re:Violence (1)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846932)

I would disagree. It's those who can't tell the difference between reality and entertainment that have the issues with this. I've played plenty of violent video games, and watch violent movies. I may see a car crash or something in a movie and be entertained by the explosion or something, because I know it's all hollywood special effects. But in real life, when I drive by an accident with firetrucks and ambulances, I always feel sad because I know someone got hurt and may have died.

If people cannot make that distiction, it is their problem, not the result of the entertainment. People constantly make choices that determine their actions and not knowing that what goes on in a video game or movie is not acceptable in the real world have a serious problem.

Re:Violence (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846942)

Why not? If you're a centered, adjusted individual you can be exposed to violence (fictional or not) and not resort to it in real life. People that will resort to violence have problems - videogames have as much to do with it as an action flick or a shotgun picture in a magazine.

I enjoy bloody games - FPSs specially. I love action / gore movies. I practice kickboxing. And you won't see me killing people a-la-GTA3 any time soon.

Re:Violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11847010)

Define "violence". Where do you draw the line? Is it Mario, jumping on people and hitting them with hammers and fireballs? Was it Wolfenstein 3D, because it was an FPS? I'll bet you just about everybody has a different definition. I'll also bet you that people have been toting this line about "violent video games" ever since the first videogame involving a gun. GTA and others of their irk are just the latest flavor of the month.

Knee jerk reaction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846793)

Post hoc ergo propter hoc... NOT!

If the view that videogames/television/homosexuality/eating prunes causes violence, then there must be a causitive link. Explain the link. Without an explained link there is no merit for even debating this.

Nonsense (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846799)

I play violent games all the time and I sick an tired of all the winnies blaming games for violence. If I could just get my hands on one those #$%^ I'd show him what violence really is and it will be nothing like a video game. - BTK

The overly simplistic comment threw me off (3, Insightful)

dcarey (321183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846810)

From the article: I'm sure that at one point or another a golfer snapped and beat someone to death with a 7-iron.

Let's ban golf, shall we?

Wow, how witty. I completely saw past the simplisticness of the allegory there. My mind sure is made up after that comment! Now just throw in a catchy slogan, and I'm hooked!

Re:The overly simplistic comment threw me off (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846943)

I'm sure Thompson would agree to ban golf. After all, it involves hitting objects which reinforces violent pathways in the brain. Only whores would golf. Golf bad.

Re:The overly simplistic comment threw me off (1)

jbarket (530468) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846999)

I agree that it's ridiculous to combat how people pass off personal responsibility by giving a similarly oversimplified example of the exact same thing, but it still remains somewhat valid.

I've been playing horribly violent video games since I was 10. I had Catacombs 3D, Wolfenstein, and Spear of Destiny on 5.25"s. I spent time memorizing fatality codes for the original Mortal Kombat, and at one point knew the blood code for the Genesis version. I used to watch B-grade slasher flicks every weekend.

I'm 6'4" and have shoulders like a freakin Ox. I'm built to kill people with my bare hands; but I've never been in a real fight, and don't intend on it. Violent video games do have an effect--I'm moderately desensitized to violence--but it has in no way driven me to kill somebody. Even if these chances were 1/1000, considering the many LAN parties I've thrown and attended, surely I'd know somebody who was a mass murderer.

The statistics of number of gamers over number of violent crimes based on video games is enough to piss all over this arguement. It's sad that no one is willing to compile that kind of data and present things in a scientific manner.

Age is the key (5, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846811)

That violent games can translate to aggression in young boys I think is fairly easy to illustrate. I don't think that means there needs to be wholesale bans or anything but there should be ratings and limits. We don't allow 12 year olds to see rated R movies (okay, we've all snuck into a movie that aside...). We don't allow them to view porn. We shouldn't allow them to buy violent video games.

Re:Age is the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846875)

Yes, because we need another way to let the parents remain uninvolved in their children's lives. And because all 12 year olds are the same, so sweeping laws like this are a perfect fit. I look forward to the day when all parenting can be replaced by laws.

Re:Age is the key (1)

LaPistola (813411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846931)

Ages.. sure.. but parenting is the real issue here...

This is nothing more than a ploy to place the blame off of parents that don't teach their kids how to live.. and the difference good and bad.

This tactic is not new.. I am a Christian.. but I have a real problem with the Christian argument that says that when we took prayer out of school is the reason that our schools are so bad. Its parents! Its them being irresponsible! I don't agree that prayer should be taken out of school.. but the reason that schools are so bad is kids not knowing how to behave.. The kids have some responsibility too.. but the parents go first.

Re:Age is the key (3, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846963)

No. Even this is incorrect.

You made the causality error. The question you have to ask yourself is which came first - the violent tendencies or the games. It is without question that people that enjoy violent games usually grow up to be more aggressive/violent than people that do not enjoy violent games. It is even without question that people that like those games act more violent within an hour after playing them. But despite MULTIPLE attempts, not a single study has ever conclusively demonstrated that if you expose a person to violent games/tv, they will become a more aggressive/violent person.

You are right that violence is like porn, but both porn and violence are also like dancing. When you see someone dancing in a movie, you think about dancing for a couple of minutes, maybe try out a few steps. But the movie will NOT turn you into a dancer, nor will it make someone that does not really like dancing start to like it.

There is no reason to outlaw or regulate violent games, anymore than there is to regulate porn - only the people that dislike these things try to stop others from enjoying them.

P.S. I don't play ANY video games. My porn colletion is none of your business.

Re:Age is the key (1)

Crystoll (864182) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846967)

ESRB ratings are there for a reason, just like the Movie Ratings and the TV-Ratings. In fact, the Game industry itself is the only one of the above to have self-policed itself by embracing the rating system before being required to do so because of lawsuits, laws, or any of the other crap that people bring up to pass the blame.

Re:Age is the key (3, Insightful)

crunk (844923) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846987)

There is a rating system on video games, and there has been for years. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe you are supposed to be at least 17 to buy Grand Theft Auto. We need to enforce these laws that we already have. Seems to me that stores should be enforcing this policy, and that parents should get a clue as to what games (with what ratings) their kids are playing.

Re:Age is the key (1)

LaPistola (813411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11847028)

"parents should get a clue as to what games (with what ratings) their kids are playing."

My point exactly!

Much Worse then TV and Movies (3, Insightful)

moofdaddy (570503) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846813)

A lot of people compare this whole issue to television and movies. They say that violent games are no worse then the violence that kids see every day on the news and in the movie theaters. I disagree with this greatly though.

When I watch a movie it is a fairly passive activety. I sit back, enjoy the flick without much involement. When I play a game though, such as grand theft auto or the like, that is a very active thing. I look for pedestrians to run over, I look for police to beat up. Now, I don't think that this nesassarly translates into violence in real life but it is definetly worse then what you see in tv and movies.

Re:Much Worse then TV and Movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846977)

You're going to get modded down, but - you're right.

Video games make people more violent. I've witnessed this. I've witnessed someone go from being a safe driver to be a wreckless moron from playing Grand Theft Auto 3. Seriously. His driving actually got worse as he played GTA3. He actually started running stop signs on side streets in real life since he did it in GTA3.

Video games simulate an experience. It's not some random character going out and killing people over some stupid slight, it's YOU going and killing people. It's not some poor person down on their luck going to rob a bank, it's YOU robbing a bank. They place you in a scenario and have YOU act it out in an increasingly real environment.

I've felt it myself. Playing video games has made me more willing to do stupid things that I otherwise shouldn't. I've had to stop playing videogames, because I didn't like who I was becoming after playing them.

It's a clear problem, and something that should be addressed soon. It may be a million dollar industry, but so is the drug trade. Now I won't say all video games should be banned, but things like first person shooters and Grand Theft Auto have clearly crossed the line from "harmless entertainment" to causing real harm to society, and something MUST be done about it.

Perhaps they should quit attacking the authors... (3, Insightful)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846817)

and do something about the idiot parents who let their kid hang a swastika in their room and collect empty gas canisters.

Pot, meet Kettle (1)

nekoniku (183821) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846818)

Lawyers call such experts 'whores.'

Hmm... Lets switch some words around... (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846822)

The heads of six major Video Game Companies testified before Congress that there are "hundreds" of studies that disprove the link. All the health care organizations have are studies paid for by them, which are geared to find the opposite result. Lawyers call such experts "whores."

Shall we insert something on another controversial topic here and continue to use the default template or shall we find a new way to disprove the opposition.

No problem with it as long as it's applied to all (1)

MauMan (252382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846826)

I have no problem with it as long as it's applied to all media such as games, music, books, magazines, movies, TV, spoken word, etc....

Hundreds of studies? (2, Insightful)

aweiland (237773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846839)

Being an avid gamer and all, I've never ever seen a study published with conclusive evidence linking violence in games to real life. Since supposedly there are hundreds of them I'd imagine stumbling across one would be easy but it is amazing difficult.

With millions of people like myself who play violent video games, why aren't we all mass murderers?

Effects of Media Violence on Society (2002) (1)

Aaron England (681534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846846)

An excerpt:

Six major professional societies in the United States--the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Psychiatric Association--recently concluded that "the data point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children."

You know Jack... (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846850)

Lawyers call such experts 'whores.'

Takes one to know one, huh?

Re:You know Jack... (3, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846964)

As a disclaimer, I must first state that I have had no direct interaction with either profession, however it is my understanding that whores provide a pleasurable, possibly valuable, service in exchange for money. I am fairly sure that lawyers do not, and so any analogy between the two is misleading at best, and insulting to whores at worst.

Health Care Orgs are Even *More* Biased in This (4, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846854)

Think about it...of course major health care organizations are going to find some sort of link between video games and violence. Think of the BILLIONS of dollars in potential revenue to be had by "treating" kids who play too many games. Now who's the whore?

English (4, Interesting)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846858)


Does age or sex play a factor in violent, aggressive behavior?

Sure, the sex and violence centers of the brain overlay one another, which is why the increasing mix of sex and violence is troubling. Armies have been known to go on rape rampages after battles because the violence stimulates sexual aggression. How lovely that GTA weds sex and violence in the same game. We are training a generation of teens to combine sex with violence, just what America needs.

Does this man not understand that in the English language, "sex" can refer to gender? What does he write on forms that ask his sex? "Yes, please?" Probably, "Goodness, no!" actually.

By the way, I'd like to know where these "sex and violence centers of the brain" are. Maybe we could just lobotomize everyone and cure all our ills.

Utterly Ridiculous (2, Insightful)

Metapsyborg (754855) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846867)

I'll stop playing violent videogames when basketball players no longer strangle coaches, the president/congress stops endorsing war and TV stops broadcasting violent movies/shows.

American football is basically gladitorial arena combat (which makes it neat), but nobody complains about the violence it induces in our children.

To the Media: Stop the perpetuation of unfounded fear! It's almost as though they want to keep humanity in constant fear...oh wait, they do.

Ever recurring, until we find another hot topic (1)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846873)

ever recurring debate about video games and violent behavior

And people will keep on discussing this, until they find another topic to blame on the declining morals of today's youth. Back in the 1950's, we had "Seduction of the Innocent", where the wave of crime that swept the nation in the 50s was blamed on comic books. We still have comic books around, but people don't seem to complain about them much, because they've moved on to different fish to fry.

As a side note, one of the things that is brought up about comic books and censorship is that comic books are often censored based upon their effects on children, even with no proof that children are the main readers of comic books. The same thing with video games: the main market of video games is arguably people who have moved out of their formative years.

Anyway, until someone invents a new shocking form of popular communication (brain broadcasts, anyone?), we are going to have to put up with this.

That being said, I am hungry, so I think it is time for me to go out and turn some monsters into fruit for breakfast.

Re:Ever recurring, until we find another hot topic (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846956)

Actually, the Comic Book Code which sprung from the "Seduction of the Innocent" era is now largely ignored. I don't think I've seen a Marvel or DC title carry the CBC tag in years.


Moot point (2, Insightful)

Lovesquid (840251) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846874)

I'm sure that many lazy parents are going to be fully in support of the causality link argument, so they can continue to not have to monitor what their children are playing and can point the finger elsewhere and say "it's their fault little Billy burned down the school".

An exaggeration, but still... people need to take some personal responsibility for how their children behave. Linking violence in games to children's actions is beside the point when they should not be playing M-rated titles to begin with.

Clips from the interview (1)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846884)

hat constitutes violence in video games?

Any M-rated game has violence levels unacceptable and definitionally harmful to anyone under 17.

What percentage of all games made would you say are violent

GTA [Grand Theft Auto series] has sold 30 million units, with San Andreas expected to hit 20 million on its own.

Is there a correlation between playing violent video games and acting in a violent manner?

Of course.

Is gaming escapism?

Yes, just as Ted Bundy escaped into pornography.

this guy isn't very smart is he?

Reversing Causality (1)

dark_requiem (806308) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846887)

Has it ever occured to anyone that perhaps people more prome to violent outbursts will be more likely to enjoy blowing people's head off in GTA? That perhaps people whose personalities are already tending towards violence are more likely to play violent games? Seems like a pretty obvious suggestion to me. Even ignoring that, these studys are essentially claiming to show that we have no free will, and are mere puppets with strings connected to the playstation.

Real vs. Unreal (1)

carcajou (862125) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846893)

If you are constantly exposed to real violence you will become desensitized to it...however if you are constantly exposed to violent video games, you will become desensitized to fake violence...this goes on and on and on...Radio, TV, Video Games...Feed kids crap, send them to boring schools, stuff them full of drugs for every little thing, give them no supervision, let them feel unloved, deserted, and alone, then blame video games for their violence...

Re:Real vs. Unreal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846916)

which version of Unreal is this? /where's my coffee

this really shouldn't be an issue (1)

ObsidianOP (864944) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846895)

Thing is, even if they can prove correlation, they havn't proven causation. Could it be that children with crappy parents who don't pay attention to them plop them in front of video games? And then, is it plausible that these same children that arn't being brought up properly by their parents are more likely to misinterpret the fictional nature of the games? Besides, even if video games MADE kids violent, you can't get rid of them. This is a basic freedom of speech issue, and our to lose the basic principles that make our country what it is, over a relatively small issue of safety, is completely ludicrous. It all comes down to some basic parental responsibility.

reframing (1)

b3s (807077) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846901)

I often wonder at the application of the scientific method in many of these studies. Kind of difficult to setup control groups, null tests, negative hypothesis, etc. Could there be bias? Did they reframe their hypothesis and test that? What about societal differences? I mean, I for one kind of like the violence in video games. It causes me to not shoot up the office :p

Good training (1)

sammyo (166904) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846902)

Certainly it is only a very few that transition for what ever nasty psychological reason from console to school cafeteria, but for those few there is no better way to train for a high body count...

hahah what now? (1)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846920)

From TFA:

Kids took guns to school for 200 years in this country without turning them on one another.

Clearly, I must have been enrolled in the wrong school district... all I got was a few lousy Pee-Chee folders and those pencils that never erase quite right. =/

The studies (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846922)

Anti-game studies tend to be "We found violent kids in urban areas, do they play video games?" (yes, duh); while pro-game studies tend to be "we took a stratified sample of kids and figured out how many were violent, how many weren't, and which were playing video games." In the end it normally comes out that most violant urban kids play video games, thus video games make kids violent; but video game playing urban kids also exist in the more docile persuasion, and thus we're lead to believe that lurking variables and confusion may be the cause of the percieved link between video games and violence.

Kneejerk attorney (4, Informative)

nathan s (719490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846923)

I found it difficult to take him seriously after the first question:

What constitutes violence in video games?

There's no real debate over that. Any M-rated game has violence levels unacceptable and definitionally harmful to anyone under 17. The industry will rue the day it accepted this labeled scheme.

Again and again throughout the interview, he basically takes an elitist stance that says "if you don't agree with me you're stupid." Here, if you don't agree that "M-rated means violent" then the implication is that you must be too dumb to accept what "everybody" thinks.

It would have been interesting to see him actually answer the question, as Tim Buckley did. Compare and contrast:

What constitutes violence in video games?

The same things that constitute violence in real life constitute violence in video games. Blood and gore, for instance...

Cause != the effect (1)

bird603568 (808629) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846936)

I think that after Columbine and the doom thing, its getting all mixed up. Ok if you weak minded maybe a GAME can influence your actions, but ultimely YOU ARE THE PERSON DOING IT. Some of these studes i feel are like lets find kids that commited violent crime. Then they see if the played violent games. Whoa they do. But what about the regular high school/ college student that also play gta, and fps. They dont commit crimes. IMO its like find serial killers and finding they eat a high carb diet. Then atkins says see carbs makes you kill.

Pot, (0, Redundant)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846940)

Lawyers call such experts 'whores.

I'd like to introduce you to kettle. Kettle, Pot would like to make a humorously ironic statement about your coloring.

Alert: Baby Boomers on the prowl! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846948)

I have let me children be raised by TV and video games! Oh no! My son has committed a crime, since I know it couldn't have been me - since I didn't raise them, let's blame everything else.

When these baby boomers get their retirement soothers and afternoon naps, I'm sure they will be in much better moods.

Remeber kids, comics and roleplaying games will turn you into a pagan devil worshipper too, avoid them at all costs!

Science is hard (1)

OccidentalSlashy (809265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846957)

It's pretty hard to eliminate control factors. For example, we are currently at war with two countries and Bin Laden is still free.

MMM (1)

Dragon Rojo (843344) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846958)

Some videogames are violent but they are not targeted to children.

Blame the parents that don't care what their children play and just buy videogames because they are cheap "babysitters"

Blame the store employees that sell the game to the children or don't say anything when the parent buys the game just to calm down the crazy kid.

But don't blame the videogames, its like blaming knives for murders.

Buckley's rebuttal was anything buttal (1)

yagu (721525) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846966)

The OP says Tim Buckley, of the webcomic Ctrl+Alt+Del, had the chance to put forth an opposing viewpoint.

To the crux of the whole matter, here is his viewpoint:

Q:Is there a correlation between playing violent video games and acting in a violent manner?

A (Buckley): I don't believe so. I think that if someone plays a video game, and then goes out and harms another human being, or themselves because of what they just saw in the video game, they were screwed up in the head long before they got their hands on a controller. In my profession I have met thousands and thousands of gamers, all of whom have played the same type of violent video games that I have, and we've managed not to kill each other.

There you have it. Tim Buckley has rebutted the stance (backed up by various studies, by his own admission) that violent video games correlate with violent actions. He doesn't believe so.

Hopefully in the future coverage we'll get some more objective rebuttals... Perhaps, "I've never seen a case of violence related to video games...", or "Those people who think video game violence correlates to acts of violence are stupid".

Kidding aside, I've never played GTA, but saw clips of it on a news segment on TV (the state is considering a law assigning a certain contributory negligence for crimes committed as a result of watching video games (not saying I'm for that law)). The clips of GTA left me feeling disturbed. I've seen violence in movies and had differing levels of reaction to movie violence, but there may be something to be said about the setting of a movie, and the passive nature of the viewers' interaction with a movie. On the other hand, what I saw with GTA was a young person pressing buttons, using body english and "connecting" with a brutal sequence of shootings, and then a realistic beating of a "prostitute" with a golf club (complete with grunts of exertion from the perp, to screams of pain from the prostitute).

I don't know if this kind of game does have an effect, but I believe it might, and even may have a high probability of having an effect. At least it needs to be studied. I only know anecdotally I came away from only watching clips from the game and had a much more vicarious and disturbed feeling of having experienced violence.

How about Pac Man causing raves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11846970)

"If video games really had that big an influence on kids, the generation that grew up with Pac Man would be running around munching on pills to a trippy soundtrack."

http://www.yorkregion.com/yr/newscentre/liberal/ st ory/2610552p-3026993c.html

Problem is Internal, not External (4, Insightful)

Ridgelift (228977) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846983)

I have no earthly idea, and no one can guess at that. I can tell you that some crimes would not occur but for the violent entertainment. For the families of the deceased, that is the only statistic that matters.

Francis Schaeffer once said "Art reflects culture". The fact that so many people buy and play violent video games (which is an amazing art form) tells more about who we are as a culture than will the history books. To blame the manufacturers isn't getting to the root of the problem.

I don't know what the answer is. I think there probably is some link between people being desensitized to violent and playing violent games, but I also don't think laws will do anything more than to fuel debate and make lawyers wealthy.

Video games can be a catalyst...like anything else (3, Insightful)

sl8763 (777589) | more than 9 years ago | (#11846998)

If someone has the propensity for violence, and lacks conscience or understanding of right/wrong, anything can be the catalyst for them to act violently.

Sure, they may play Grand Theft Auto and shoot at people. But they could just as easily get inspiration from the latest 50 Cent album or even a TIME magazine article detailing the Columbine massacre. Hell, there are enough wackos blaming their crimes on God speaking to them, shouldn't we point the finger at religion too?

The bottom line is that you never know how the mind of a sociopath is going to interpret something - so video games hold no more blame than anything else.

other side effects... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11847006)

Based on these "findings" (aka lies) this would show that playing a character of the opposite gender would lead to more players wishing for a sex change...

Violent Video Games Are Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11847012)

*BAM BAM* *Blood and guts everywhere* Oh, you wanted me to make that triple grande light-foam vanilla latte to be DECAF??? Alright, here ya go!!! *BAM BAM* Violent games helped me release all kinds of stress when I worked in the food service industry. Helped me face my customers with a smile the next day. ;)

Atleast children can be protected (1)

Virtual Karma (862416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11847018)

The video game ratings system will add a new category to protect children under 10 from seeing certain kinds of violence, the board that administers the system said on Wednesday. The Entertainment Software Rating Board said ``E10+'' would mark games that might contain ``moderate amounts of cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.'' Link: http://virtualkarma.blogspot.com/2005/03/video-gam e-ratings-system-adds-new.html [blogspot.com]

Statistics (1)

mattmentecky (799199) | more than 9 years ago | (#11847026)

My reaction is just to say to look at statistics. Millions upon millions of not billions of people play video games. If their was a "link" even a small one, wouldnt their be a pandemic of obvious video-game-related violence? Instead we get a couple of news pieces a year of teen's lawyers yelling "GTA made him do it!!"
So my kneejerk reaction is just to say, from a broad perspective, that it just doesnt add up.

Ahh! Game studies! (3, Informative)

davecrusoe (861547) | more than 9 years ago | (#11847027)

Despite the contentious issue of violent game playing on player health, I concur with James Gee of UWisc. I'll paraphrase one of his arguments, as I can't recollect which precise article it's in:

While game playing might contain violent aspects, the cognitive engagement is far different than, say, bullying or beating up some poor kid. How the player thinks about their experience - entertainment and fun, for example, rather than punishment or retribution - is important.

Furthermore, some of my own research asks, despite violence in videogames, what do players learn through their playing? The results have, so far, been a surprise. Younger players use the medium for socialization with older players; groups of players focus on teamwork skills (nothing amazing there) and the game environment requires active thinking about strategy for success. My own next step is to explore "gaming clans," and clan players' motivations.

Nonetheless, the question we should all be asking is, given that violence is inherant to our humanistic being, in what modes is it possible a constructive experience, and in what modes is it destructive?

Bandura's social cognititve theory might suggest that the illustration of violence begets further violent behavior. But that we haven't all killed each other, and that we don't punch random stranges on the street, despite having watched violent television programming, indicates a compromise.

More later, this is a wonderful subject! --dave
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