Skip to comments.'Dialogue' Required for Violent Video Games
Posted on 02/23/2013 4:34:29 AM PST by Kaslin
The Obama administration's assault on the Second Amendment in reaction to Newtown is not a serious solution. It's a Band-Aid on cancer. The NRA's call for armed guards in every school also misses the point. When is anyone going to get serious? The problem is violence, a violence of monstrous and horrific proportions that has infected America's popular culture.
The Hartford Courant reported on Sunday that during a search of Newtown grade-school killer Adam Lanza's home after the shootings, "police found thousands of dollars worth of graphically violent video games." Detectives are exploring whether Adam Lanza might have been emulating the shooting range or a video game scenario as he moved from room to room at Sandy Hook Elementary.
In California, 20-year-old Ali Syed went on a carjacking and shooting rampage, killing three before turning the gun on himself. Syed was a loner and a "gamer" who spent hours holed up in his room, Orange County authorities said. "He took one class at college, and he did not work, so that gives him most of the day and evening, and most of the time in his free time he was playing video games," reported county sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.
After Newtown, President Obama and other officials insisted the country needed a "dialogue" about "gun violence," but there's been remarkably little exploration of the role of video games and even less of movie and TV violence.
Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia requested a study from the National Science Foundation and was disappointed that Obama's State of the Union only focused on gun control. "While I recognize the potential constitutional issues involved in tackling media violence, mental health parity and gun control, I am disappointed that mental health issues and media violence were left out of the president's address," Wolf said.
The NSF report acknowledged that a link between violent media and real-world violence can be contentious, but explained, "Anders Breivik, who murdered 69 youth in Norway, claims he used the video game 'Modern Warfare 2' as a military simulator to help him practice shooting people. Similarly, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who murdered 13 fellow students in Colorado, claimed they used the violent video game 'Doom' to practice their shooting rampage."
No, Virginia, not everyone who has ever played a violent video game is an assassin in training. "However, a comprehensive review of more than 381 effects from studies involving more than 130,000 participants around the world shows that violent video games increases aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, physiological arousal (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure), and aggressive behavior."
As researcher Brad Bushman of Ohio State University stated in a "PBS NewsHour" story on violent video games, "correlation doesn't imply causation," but the correlation is disturbing enough. Does it make sense for policy makers to go around suggesting that gun makers be held liable for school shootings, but fail to suggest the same for say, Microsoft Game Studios, which makes "Gears of War" series, spotlighted by PBS as especially bloody?
Neither gun makers nor video game makers mean for their products for mass shootings, but politicians like Obama have singled out the gun makers and gone soft on their entertainment-industry campaign donors. Somehow, Democrats isolate the inherent evil of a gun almost as if it's self-shooting, while denying our violent media has any influence on these under-21 shooters.
Even the mildest restrictions on the sales of violent video games -- like a California law forbidding minors from buying games rated M for Mature ("Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up") -- were rebuked by the Supreme Court.
In 2010, Obama appointee Elena Kagan mocked the law and the entire controversy by insisting that the game "Mortal Kombat" was "an iconic game, which I am sure half of the clerks who work for us spent considerable amounts of time in their adolescence playing." But "Mortal Kombat" was a pioneering ultraviolent game when it debuted in 1992, with scenes of decapitations, electrocution and ripping out the still-beating heart of an opponent with bare hands.
I wonder if Justice Kagan would still argue in public that these games are blameless, and the Adam Lanzas of the world are never influenced by these "iconic" works. She actually suggested, "You could look at these games and say they're the modern-day equivalent of Monopoly sets." No one ever practiced for a school shooting by buying hotels for Park Place and Boardwalk. But Kagan was hailed by USA Today's Supreme Court reporter as bringing a "practical twist" to the high court. The kids aren't playing "Monopoly" any more. Three of the four top-selling games on Amazon.com in 2012 were "Halo 4," "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" and "Assassins Creed III" -- rated M, M and M.
The people who want to conduct a Newtown "dialogue" really need to broaden their gabby horizons.
The Hollywood lobby has done a great job. No one even considers movies or TV.
More than that....everyone is looking for a reason.
Sometimes the reason is the person is crazy and evil. Bad things happened well before video games and violent movies.
Politicians are not going to turn against the people that supply their money to them,
Kagen is no more qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice than I am, she is simply a political animal placed there because of her liberal views.
Certainly violent movies and video games have an effect on weak minds. Weak minds think up the plots to these violent games, and films.
Dorner has become a hero thanks to a black violent movie Django unchained which will probably get an Oscar.
> Bad things happened well before video games and violent movies.
That’s true, but not this often, and not on this scale, and not with 24/7 hyperventilating coverage.
Perhaps it’s an artifact of the massive population increase in the last 20 years.
However, it would be sweet schadenfreude to see ultra-liberal Hollyweird, MicroSoft, and Google whacked by regulations on how violent and salacious their effluent must be.
Watch them squirm and squeal as they whine about their First Amendment Right to purvey their obscene filth.
Maybe they’ll understand why we’re so jealous of our Second Amendment.
Just dreaming ...
I’ve been gaming my whole conscious life and I don’t have plans to go on killing sprees. This is a distraction, as usual.
Its not a distraction. The level of senseless violence our children are exposed to is off the charts, and these video games are a primary contributer.
"Dialogue" with liberal trash? Pig in the mud. We're well beyond a dialogue.
A liberal’s idea of ‘dialogue’is more like what goes on in a reeducation camp than an even exchange of ideas. It consists of one person giving received ‘truth’, and the other one repeating it.
I think we should be talking about the “Psych-med angle” before we start branding the gamers. JMHO
Sure, that's what you use your microphone and headset for, everybody knows that.
"Let's do this! LEEEEEROY JENKINS!!!
We already had this "dialogue", it's called the "bill of rights".
There is even a provision for changing it, it's called an amendment.
This is total nonsense.
I can’t think of a SINGLE mainstream video game where the murder of innocents is glorified. Even the infamous Grand Theft Auto doesn’t even come close because that takes place in an alternate universe where innocents pretty much don’t exist anywhere. Action games pretty much always involve fighting soldiers and monsters. In some cases (like in RPGS) they involve playing a bad guy who is clearly identified as a bad guy...and in a fantasy setting where such roles have meaning.
Been playing M-rated video games since I was 7 years old and I still haven’t finished grieving over the Sandy Hook massacre. In fact, I’ll probably never be able to forget it for a single day! So I definitely didn’t turn into a psycho.
Lanza murdered those children because he sank to the bottom of the abyss. That is a point of pure hollowness where a genetically human creature turns into a ravening soulless monster. The aesthetics of love do not exist in that place.
The reason why this event happened is because community members are isolated from each other. Had this been a more sane and less “tolerant” period in human history, someone would have spoke out the moment that they starting teaching this psycho how to use a rifle. By all accounts, Newtown KNEW that this guy was nuts but didn’t want to say or do anything out of a fear of appearing “unkind” or “judgmental”. That crap needs to stop NOW!
Do you know any children that are violent as a direct result of violent video games?
A bazillion people play violent video games every day without shooting up a school, mall or theater. Growing up in the ‘50s-’60s we played “cowboys and Indians” and used WWII terminology as we played “Army” and we didn’t head down to the school to off our classmates. My favorite movies, war movies and westerns, from all time are violence saturated and I still do not feel compelled to shoot people.
If we eliminate “gun free” zones then at least those won’t be conveniently easy shooting galleries for nut jobs.
There’s dialogue in “Assassin’s Creed.” My son has learned quite a bit of Italian that you don’t want to use in polite, Italian-speaking company.
The U.S. murder rate was higher before when movies were invented than after, and was MUCH higher before violent video games were invented than after.
What I learned from this article - Kagan is more of an idiot than I thought.
I have a question. I have never played violent video games and neither have my children who are now grown. What is the appeal of these games? Why would an otherwise-normal young (or old) person want to experience killing people and raping women in the most violent ways imaginable?
1) Which game involves "raping women in the most violent ways imaginable"?
2) Why did you and/or your kids play "army" or "cowboys and indians"? Were you not pretending to shoot/kill people in those games?
I bet most violent people drank mothers’ milk when babies. I think they should ban mothers’ milk.
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As for pointing our fingers at each other and saying “bang bang”, that seems quite mild compared to violent video games where you are engaging visually in sadistic murders.
I will ask my original question again - why would an otherwise normal young (or old) person want to experience killing people and raping women in the most violent ways imaginable?
This quality makes the video game industry a powerful force in many adolescent lives. However, numerous studies show that video games, especially ones with violent content, make teens more aggressive.
Part of the increase in aggressive behavior is linked to the amount of time children are allowed to play video games. In one study by Walsh (2000), a majority of teens admitted that their parents do not impose a time limit on the number of hours they are allowed to play video games. The study also showed that most parents are unaware of the content or the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating (see below) of the video games their children play.
In another study conducted by Gentile, Lynch, Linder & Walsh (2004, p.6) “adolescent girls played video games for an average of 5 hours a week, whereas boys averaged 13 hours a week”. The authors also stated that teens who play violent video games for extended periods of time:
Tend to be more aggressive
Are more prone to confrontation with their teachers
May engage in fights with their peers
See a decline in school achievements. (Gentile et al, 2004).
The interactive quality of video games differs from passively viewing television or movies because it allows players to become active participants in the game’s script. Players benefit from engaging in acts of violence and are then able to move to the game’s next level.
Gentile & Anderson (2003) state that playing video games may increase aggressive behavior because violent acts are continually repeated throughout the video game. This method of repetition has long been considered an effective teaching method in reinforcing learning patterns.
Video games also encourage players to identify with and role play their favorite characters. This is referred to as a “first-person” video game (Anderson & Dill, 2000, p. 788) because players are able to make decisions affecting the actions of the character they are imitating. After a limited amount of time playing a violent video game, a player can “automatically prime aggressive thoughts” (Bushman & Anderson, 2002, p. 1680). The researchers concluded that players who had prior experience playing violent video games responded with an increased level of aggression when they encountered confrontation (Bushman & Anderson, 2002).
In a Joint Statement (2000) before the Congressional Public Health Summit, a number of American medical associations — the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry — caution parents about violence in the media and its negative effect on children. Their report states that exposure to violent media can elevate aggressive feelings and thoughts, especially in children. These effects on aggressive behavior can be long-term. Although fewer studies have been conducted on interactive video games, evidence suggests that playing violent video games may have a more dramatic influence on the behavior of children and adolescents (Joint Statement, 2000).
Even if some spree shooters used video games as a "training aid" -- and it is clear from their own testimony that some have -- even if a vanishingly few unbalanced individuals are induced to real-world actions in imitation of video-game violence (and I have seen no evidence that even the spree shooters who "trained" with video games were turned to violence by them), the net effect of virtual violence is to decrease the amount of real violence in society and the occasional exception is akin to a side-effect of a beneficial prescription drug.
(Truth in advertising: I'm an old-school gamer. I never got into first-person shooter or other computer or video games dependent on reflexes, but they weren't around when I was in you youth. Hex-grid wargaming, D&D, the odd turn-based computer strategy game, M:TG (before they ruined it in Mirrodin block), . . . )
So you point to hookers not liking GTA and a two-year old Japanese game that nobody’s ever heard of.
Yet you ignore the underlying issue. It’s all about feedback, is it not? The author of “On Killing” is concerned about it, but when my friends and I “shot” each other while playing “army,” we yelled and fell to the ground, giving very similar feedback. Believe me, if we could’ve used squibs for blood splatter, we would’ve.
This is the exact same logic used by anti-gun people. They think the gun causes normal people to commit crime. You think video games cause normal people to become warped, sadistic monsters. You’re both wrong.
You can say I’m wrong but that hardly makes me wrong.
If people who commit mass murders are gamers, how can you dismiss the cause and effect so quickly?
I will continue to believe that people who are attracted to violent video games have mental health issues.
I was one of the quietest teenagers you could’ve known without being socially awkward, because if you wanted to talk, I would talk.
Pointing fingers at all for the actions of a few is what Democrats do, you know this.
Again, what is the attraction to violent video games? I am trying to understand. And no one ever said that anyone who plays violent video games becomes a mass murdered. Just interested in those who do.
There’s also this interview from Scott Ian of Anthrax, talking about how things are now. It directly correlates to gaming.
If people who commit mass murders use guns, how can you dismiss the need to ban them?
More directly, I've been a gamer my entire life, so have my friends. So far, zero mass murders or other psychotic behaviors among us. The gaming community in general is quite large, so of course you're going to find people who engage in less-than-stellar behavior.
There were psychotic people long before video games, too. It's a convenient excuse, that's all.
It’s the same thing as music. I find fantasy and sports games boring, racing games somewhat interesting, and shooters very interesting, especially if they’re in-depth, have squad and communications set up, contain vehicles, etc. The series I’ve played longest has been SOCOM, which yes, is from USSOCOM, and the forces of choice were Navy SEALs for that game. You should see the hardcore following it still has, despite Sony’s apparent effort to blot out the interest and community.
I game with and against people all over the world. Japan, Russia, Brazil, the UK, wherever. None of the people I game with seem violent. It keeps us from doing nothing, because browsing the internet doesn’t always allow for social interaction.
Like with music, I listen to metal, and find rap, pop, country, dance, electronic, basically everything radio friendly to be boring. It’s simply down to preference.
They keep people from doing bad things, just like metal music does.
FSE, I see you refuse to see that violent video games could affect someone’s mental health. To use guns as a comparison is silly. Guns are often used to protect people. What is the benefit of violent video games?
I don’t understand the thinking of anyone who enjoys playing violent video games and am seeking answers. Obviously I won’t get them from you.
Couldn't agree more with you. Started with Mario at around age 6, got into Starship Troopers Online and Silent Death Online at around age 12 or so, back when you had to pay for AOL and it was the most popular internet provider in America, then moved on to SOCOM in 2003, Halo 3 in 2007, MAG in 2010, now Dust 514. I've been gaming my entire life as well, with around 10,000 hours total poured into SOCOM.
Metal music. Thanks. That explains it.
Have you ever watched a movie? How about a movie that had actions in it that you would personally never commit? Why? What is the benefit? Action movies are popular, so are action games. Technology has risen to the point where such big budget games are very cinematic in their scope and execution. I liked Schwarzenegger movies, now I like "Call of Duty." Your broad brush says that I have mental problems. Well, all of my actions movies, violent video games, and a 15-month combat tour in Iraq have yet to reduce me to a violent psychopath, so I'd say your statement is absurd.
I don’t watch violent movies or TV shows. And be sure to watch for symptoms of PTSD.
I wish you well and thanks for your service.
“Again, what is the attraction to violent video games? I am trying to understand. And no one ever said that anyone who plays violent video games becomes a mass murdered. Just interested in those who do.”
I wonder what “the attraction” is myself.
I _never_ saw anything of interest, value, or sense in ANY of those games.
To me, they are as repulsive as violent rap music (which I unequivocally hate).
No redeeming social value at all. None.
I totally agree, especially about rap “music”, which of course isn’t music at all!
I enjoy video games. I even enjoy certain violent video games. It’s not the violence that pulls me to a game though, it’s the content of the game itself.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare - I like
Grand Theft Auto - I hated
Both violent games but I really like one and I hate the other. What’s the difference?
To me, a game like Grand Theft Auto was all about running around and hurting/killing random people. There was no real point other than committing random acts of violence.
Modern Warfare on the other hand is all about having an objective and completing that objective while working with and competing against other players from all over the world. You are soldiers and it is a simulation of war. It is not some thug running around car jacking and killing. There’s a huge difference.
One game promotes random violence while the other promotes teamwork and strategy to accomplish directives.
At one point in time I gave up on console games and solely played PC based online games. Some were real time strategy games such as Dark Reign while others were MMORPG’s such as Everquest. It was always the online collaboration and competition that suckered me in.
I’m not crazy nor am I violent. I’m very calm and level headed even while dealing with stressful situations. Labeling all video games as “violent” and saying they impact the mental stability of a person is about the same as labeling certain firearms as “assault weapons” and saying they make normal people commit murder. People label weapons as “assault weapons” without even having a basic understanding of firearms. It is the same thing as when people apply the stigma of “violent” to video games. We might as well start calling them assault video games and get it over with!
If you haven’t tried some of these games, I encourage you to do so. It may provide you with a better understanding of what they are actually like. I recommend Modern Warfare as it is my favorite at the moment!
Do you have any idea how much variety is in the world of metal? There’s a lot of it that’s far more morally acceptable than rap and hip hop.
I’m a 60 year old woman. Not interested in violent or any other video games. I prefer books.
Violent Lyrics in Heavy Metal Music Can
Increase Aggression in Males
That’s a bunch of kuzo. Have you looked up any metal bands?
Yeah, pits get pretty violent, but not every show is that kind of show.
Individual Americans watch and play an aggregate and cumulative total of trillions of hours of movies/TV & games every year.
That a handful of people suffer a lethal snap does not indicate a meaningful correlation thereto - if anything, it proves no causality.
I like racing motorcycles off-road. The Sierra Clubbers don’t understand the attraction, so it is therefor senseless that I, as well as a large contingent of thrill seekers race motorcycles off-road wrecking their idea of a pristine desert being preserved for yet unnamed persons or whatever to enjoy without visiting. Of course, they’re OK with the climbers who drive pitons into the face of El Capitan in Yosemite. I suppose they understand the attraction.
Your “not understanding the attraction” doesn’t qualify for public policy making. I don’t care for video games at all, cannot understand the attraction, but would tend to use scientific studies with real numbers arrived at without the prejudice of an agenda to ban someone else’s idea of a good time.
When did I never mention banning any video games? I asked questions. You assumed something.
And I don’t care what you do to the desert or the mountains. They have survived worse than motorcycles and climbers, I suppose.
See my post # 26 above.
Do you understand the attraction of capture the flag? of paintball? of hunting for those who don’t like to eat wild game, but still like to hunt?
Whether you attribute it to the Fall of Man, or to evolutionary circumstances, most male human beings have an innate aggressive urge. It can be misused in violent crime, or pointless brawling (which used to not be a crime if everyone involved was cool with it, though it may be now, even if no one involved wants to press charges), or used well in self-defense or to defend innocent others or one’s society in war. Violent video games provide a harmless outlet for this aggressive urge, which our society has gone out of its way to suppress, rather than channel, and are, thus attractive.
As I noted in post 26, my own favored outlets for aggression are a bit more cerebral — simulating being the army commander rather than the foot soldier, or taking place more slowly than the reflex driven pace of a first-person shooter, but the triumph over an opponent (in hex-grid wargames or M:TG) or contrive opposing circumstance (in D&D or a turn-based computer strategy game) is still part of the charm.
Okay, now I get it. Testosterone.