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Violent Video Games Only Affect Some People

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the money-was-spent-to-figure-this-out dept.

Games 236

An anonymous reader writes "The media would have you believe that violent video games will be the downfall of our civilization and the cause of moral decline in young people. A recent study suggests that most people aren't so easily influenced by the violence; instead, just a few bad apples are likely to react poorly, with everyone else showing little or no effect from playing these games." The American Psychological Association has posted the academic paper (PDF) as well, in addition to a few related studies. One examines how games can be a force for good (PDF), and another looks at the motivations behind children playing such games (PDF).

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It's not violence (2, Interesting)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508752)

It's sex people get really pissy about.

Re:It's not violence (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508806)

If you imagine sex as pissy, then I think we've got a problem here.

Re:It's not violence (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508864)

I'm German, you insensitive clod!

Re:It's not violence (5, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508894)

Bemusing really, isn't it. To objectify the taking of life is commonplace in cinema and literature, but its creation is taboo.

Someone bring back common sense.

Re:It's not violence (2, Informative)

NoZart (961808) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509060)

Depends on your location.
Here in Austria, Sex is a perfectly normal topic on TV while violence gets cut out even after 2200.

Re:It's not violence (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509350)

How do you handle violent sex?

Re:It's not violence (4, Funny)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32510010)

With a whip and handcuffs, just like everyone else.

Re:It's not violence (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509096)

Bemusing really, isn't it. To objectify the taking of life is commonplace in cinema and literature, but its creation is taboo. Someone bring back common sense.

It's the really small minority of people who are uptight up that stuff that as it as a taboo . I find that most people who are uptight about sex are the most repressed.

Re:It's not violence (4, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509104)

Bemusing really, isn't it. To objectify the taking of life is commonplace in cinema and literature, but its creation is taboo.

Put like that it sounds a bit silly, but the reality is that most people are more affected by watching sex than by watching violence. All other things being equal, there is a higher chance of you feeling like wanting sex after watching people doing it than the chance of you getting bloodlust after watching violence.

I'm not saying that the reaction is a basis for banning one over the other, but I think that you are over simplifying.

Re:It's not violence (4, Insightful)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509368)

Bemusing really, isn't it. To objectify the taking of life is commonplace in cinema and literature, but its creation is taboo.

Put like that it sounds a bit silly, but the reality is that most people are more affected by watching sex than by watching violence. All other things being equal, there is a higher chance of you feeling like wanting sex after watching people doing it than the chance of you getting bloodlust after watching violence.

Agreed. I don't think either topic in general reaches the level of 'taboo'. That said, claiming that 'creating life' is the taboo subject ignores both that the content we're talking about is casual sex that doesn't result in reproduction, and that the intent is to limit childrens access to the content (since it's undesirable physiologically and financially for 14 year olds to be pregnant).

That said, at least we KNOW sexual content affects people and makes them want to engage in sexual activities (as anyone who has seen pornography will attest to), while we also know that violent content does not make the vast majority of people want to engage in violent activities (as all of us who played Doom but didn't go on a violent rampage can also attest to). At least if we're going to regulate who can view a type of content, it might as well be the one that actually affects our behavior.

Re:It's not violence (3, Interesting)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509530)

All other things being equal, there is a higher chance of you feeling like wanting sex after watching people doing it than the chance of you getting bloodlust after watching violence.

While if you sucumb to "feeling like wanting sex" doesn't usually harm others, sucumbing to "getting bloodlust" is highly likelly to harm others.

The GP point still stands: sex (which harms nobody) is taboo while violence (most definitely harmful) is commonplace in cinema and literature.

Even if seeing sex in movies is more likelly to make you want to have sex than seeing violence is likelly to make you want to go on a rampage, that is not a reason to not show sex on movies while still showing violence since even frequent mass-orgies after movies would harm less people than a single individual going on a rampage.

Re:It's not violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509902)

The GP point still stands: sex (which harms nobody)...

You've obviously never seen someone who's lost a relationship that was sexual, or seen the stress of single motherhood...

Re:It's not violence (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509948)

Sex doesn't necessarily "harm nobody." While the harm with violence is much more direct (people injured/killed) the harm from sex can be quite large and unpredictable. I'm talking, of course, about pregnancy... though I'm sure that you could argue for other "harms" of sex.

Re:It's not violence (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509322)

Follow the money? Babies cost a lot, but dead people don't? Except for all the legal and prison fees associated with death, of course, but that's money the lawyers can get behind.

IANAL ;-P

Re:It's not violence (1)

ALeavitt (636946) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509352)

It's simple: the US is run by a shadow government of Malthusians.

Re:It's not violence (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509804)

If makes sense if you consider that our species isn't currently threatened with extinction but is beset by overpopulation.

Re:It's not violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509876)

How often does sex in movies result in life?

Re:It's not violence (1)

LatencyKills (1213908) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509946)

This has always been one of my hot buttons. Put bluntly, I can make a movie in which a guy hacks a woman's breast off with a machete and that's NC-17, but a couple having sex, oooh, can't have that - that's X rated. WTF?!?! Jumping Jesus in a chariot what message does that send to our kids?

Re:It's not violence (2, Funny)

sharkey (16670) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509212)

It's sex people get really pissy about.

Whiny fuckers.

Re:It's not violence (2, Informative)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509620)

Watch True Blood and you get both!

(Season 3 starts this weekend)

Duh (4, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508766)

Violent video games only affect the kind of people who kill small animals just to see what it feels like. It's a similar rush, just from different things. If you're predisposed to this kind of violence, watching Robocop probably has the same likely hood of pushing you over the edge as a videogame does. As much as people talk about how we're desensitized to violence from movies and videogames, the second a normal person sees someone shot or seriously injured in real life their stomach usually turns.

Re:Duh (5, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508924)

That is such a heap of bullshit, I've killed plenty of small animals and I'm definitely a well adjusted individual. Take back your fucking retarded comment or I'm gonna come over there, rip your spine out and use it to literally beat you shit out of you, then make you eat it, then beat it out again and make you eat the shit made out of the shit you already had beat out of you. You have 20 seconds to comply.

Re:Duh (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509128)

You have 20 seconds to comply.

Congratulations Slashdot. Your 'slow down cowboy' message just killed the grandparent.

Re:Duh (4, Informative)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509036)

Kurt Vonnegut once made an interesting comment regarding the Vietnam War. When he went to Europe in WWII, everyone just hoped that they wouldn't have to kill anyone. When kids went off to Vietnam, all the movies and media from the previous wars gave them very different expectations.

It was either in this interview in The Paris Review [theparisreview.org] , or this one from Playboy [vonnegutweb.com] . I can't remember which. Seems applicable, though.

Re:Duh (3, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509182)

When kids went off to war in Europe in the 40s, a good portion of their parents or grandparents were from the countries we were fighting in, they grew up in German or Italian neighborhoods, and were basically fighting family. Fighting in Vietnam is a more like fighting the Japanese (pro tip: they used Japanese-looking dolls to train bayonet tactics, even for the kids going off to Europe). Not saying its right, just saying its easier to rationalize killing people you have less of a connection to, and it always has been for all of human history.

Re:Duh (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509278)

Great how we seem to have moved from basic training ie
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DShDaJXK5qo [youtube.com] (part one of six)
to getting kids with computer games as a public relations/recruitment tool.
Be interesting to see what the next study would be like ... showing ?? from playing these games and going into basic training.

Re:Duh (4, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509130)

Indeed. Although part of the problem is that supporters of censorship laws already use the argument "Even if it only affects some people, even if there's only a small chance, we should ban it ... even if it only saves one life". (This isn't a straw man - e.g., it was an argument made by the UK Labour Government recently when criminalising adult images, and also by supporters of that law, Section 63.)

It's a poor argument of course. One can easily put out the opposing hypothesis that at least some people might be less likely to turn to violence as a result, claiming that no matter how small the chance is that it's true, it's worth it if it only saves one life. There's also the opportunity cost of passing and enforcing such laws - money that could be spent on hospitals, and therefore we could save just one more life by not spending money on dubiously made laws.

Unfortunately, reason and logic doesn't rank highly on supporters of such laws, in my experience.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509502)

Violent video games only affect the kind of people who kill small animals just to see what it feels like.

Ah good. I don't really like the feeling, but there are many kinds of small animal that are quite tasty.

Not in control (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508776)

If you can't separate the violence in a video game from real life then maybe you shouldn't be playing the game in the first place and should be looked at by someone. At least that's what I think, then again I'm no doctor but come on how does shooting an alien translate to shooting a school? The problem has never been the video games, it's the kids who are to screwed up in the head to figure out that life and video games are two very separate things.

Wait, what? (3, Funny)

Noitatsidem (1701520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508778)

So does this mean I can't use GTA as an excuse as to why I robbed my neighbor anymore?

Don't worry. (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509126)

So does this mean I can't use GTA as an excuse as to why I robbed my neighbor anymore?

There's always Heavy Metal Music, Porn, and the internet to blame. Why, Ozzy just came out with a new album. That's a few robberies worth of excuses right there!

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509752)

No worry, you can always load an earlier save file if the cops arrest you.

Warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508780)

To buy this game you must be 37 agreeable or above.

Newsflash: people who play violent games like them (1)

gravos (912628) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508788)

We found that boys and girls who regularly played at least one Mature-rated game title were signicantly more likely to endorse four reasons for play: to compete and win, to get anger out, liking to “mod” games, and liking “the guns and other weapons”.

The only thing that's weird is the game modding link, but my guess is that that variable is confounded with some other facto that they didn't correct for. They also noted men like to mod much more than women.

Re:Newsflash: people who play violent games like t (2, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509050)

There just aren't enough "Harvest Moon" modding communities out there. That's the real problem.

I always say.. (3, Interesting)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508792)

...something like a video game cannot turn a normal person violent. The tendency has to be there already. You could argue that without violent games and movies these tendencies would not be realised, but I think that is a very naive notion. I think violent games for adolescents/adults are a good thing for society. In this castrated western world where two dudes wanna get drunk and fight each other are both reprimanded, and all kinds of contact sport gets softened up and dumbed down, it is natural to seek other means of expressing a competitive/violent yearning.

I don't have children, but when the time comes I will not ban them from all violent games (like my parents did) but rather let them play them as long as I am satisfied they understand the context, that there is a difference between movies and games and the real life.

Re:I always say.. (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509002)

...and all kinds of contact sport gets softened up and dumbed down,....

Softened up - yes. Dumbed down? I think that's always been the case.

Re:I always say.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509618)

Listen you game playing dirtball, if you research it you'll find that humans never, ever, ever murdered each other before the invention of video games. It's been a plague on mankind ever since.

- Jack Thompson

[insert stimulus here] Only Affect Some People. (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508800)

I feel like we have this same discussion at least 100 times a year. In the end, its generally different strokes for different folks, and at the end of the day it is the extremes that the lobbyist argue, while reality is a grey area. The thing is, grey areas don't pass bans and don't suffice as lobbyist ammunition. One study will be inconclusive, the next will be clear and cut confirmation of correlation. The title really summed it up best "[insert stimulus here] Only Affect Some People." Now can somebody tattoo this on every think-of-the-children-ban-crazy-iron-fist congresslobbymancritter.

Re:[insert stimulus here] Only Affect Some People. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509376)

Different strokes for different folks, is something that gets discussed here most days.

islamic radicals (1, Flamebait)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508802)

i bet those islamic radicals in the middle east and east africa never played a video game in their lives and they are among the most barbaric and violent peoples in the world.

Re:islamic radicals (1)

Darfeld (1147131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508880)

Well, I think those terrorists of 9/11 played Flight Simulator... But somehow I doubt it was what made them violent.

Re:islamic radicals (2, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508974)

i bet those islamic radicals in the middle east and east africa never played a video game in their lives and they are among the most barbaric and violent peoples this century.

Don't forget that 900 years ago we did the same thing with the Crusades, the Ottoman's did it, the Byzantine's before them, Holy Roman Empire before any of them... Holy crap, you'd think that humanity had been killing each other in the name of religious ideals for millenia!

It just so happens that we're apparently civilised now, and no longer foist our religion upon others. Give the Middle East a few more hundred years and they'll expand, stagnate, and be destroyed like the rest were. Then they can start with a civil civilisation. God knows where the Western world will be then, though.

Re:islamic radicals (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509078)

It just so happens that we're apparently civilised now, and no longer foist our religion upon others. Give the Middle East a few more hundred years and they'll expand, stagnate, and be destroyed like the rest were. Then they can start with a civil civilisation. God knows where the Western world will be then, though.

By then, the western world will be a hot-bed of radical fundamentalist Scientologists hijacking planes and blowing shit up.

Re:islamic radicals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509156)

A strong argument, but I'm still not joining them.

Re:islamic radicals (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509328)

It just so happens that we're apparently civilised now, and no longer foist our religion upon others.

True. Which is why in the 20th century, which arguably saw the worst wars in history, almost all of the bloodshed was for reasons other than religion.

Re:islamic radicals (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509662)

it saw the largest wars in history, because the 20th century had the largest population by far, and it had global travel and communications.

Re:islamic radicals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509554)

Don't forget that 900 years ago we did the same thing ...

Don't forget it isn't 900 years ago anymore. It is right now right now.

Give the Middle East a few more hundred years and they'll expand, stagnate, and be destroyed like the rest were.

Just a bit over half a century ago a couple of societies got to feeling frisky and ended up getting pulled up on a short leash and bitch slapped into submission by somewhat more "civilized" societies.

If some other societies fail to modernize and become more tolerant, and persist in attacking the more "civilized" societies they may well get the same treatment.

Re:islamic radicals (1)

bit01 (644603) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509646)

It just so happens that we're apparently civilised now, and no longer foist our religion upon others.

Actually we do. The religion is called capitalism and unsolicited marketing is foisting it on others.

That's in large part what many middle-east and other terrorists are objecting to.

---

How many million man hours has the advertising industry cost today?

Re:islamic radicals (2, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509132)

i bet those islamic radicals in the middle east and east africa never played a video game in their lives and they are among the most barbaric and violent peoples in the world.

They probably have a high level of exposure to violence though.

Re:islamic radicals (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509154)

replying to those that replied, guess what? violence is a part of human nature, to blame video games is like blaming firearms for murder, "guns dont kill people - people do" if not for firearms, people would use knives or swords, or bows & arrows, or sticks & stones,

dont think you yourselves are above this, because i know damn well each and everyone of you would resort to violence if you found it necessary or justified, i know damn well i would too and i would enjoy it.

Let me guess ... (2, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508822)

... the people who react poorly to violent video games are the ones who are likely to exhibit violent behavior even without any video games?

old media is dying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508824)

read my subject... i've gone too tired of this to continue...

or wait...

virtual reality has more chances to offer for young people than physical reality which is controlled by the political class... now they try using the old media to bitch their way into virtual reality too because they come to realize that it is the place where the youth these days is hiding from them and their zeitgeist..

thats funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508840)

Here in South-Africa violent crime is a major problem.
wonder how many robbers, murderers and rapists spend their days fragging geeks and their nights robbing, murdering and raping...?

Re:thats funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509170)

As a fellow Seffrican, I would like to point out that most of the people who commit [non white-collar] crime in this country are computer illiterate.

Stop legislating for society's fringe elements (1, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508850)

You don't universally ban/restrict alcohol because SOME people will become alcoholics.
You don't universally ban/restrict violent video games because SOME people will become more hostile.
You don't universally ban/restrict hand guns because SOME of the population breaks the law.

etc...

We could add the same common sense reasoning to other recreational drugs, like tobacco and marijuana, or to books, and on and on.

Eh? But we do (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508872)

All underage people are banned from drinking alcohol because some have problems with it.

All unrated games are banned in Australia because some have problems with it.

All handguns are banned in the UK because someone went on a killing spree with it.

AND the last one has worked because nobody has used a handgun since to go on a killing spree. The next one used a shotgun. The one before the handgun used an automatic rifle which have also been banned and since then nobody has used one either.

Hard to argue that it doesn't work, when it does.

Don't confuse the issue with facts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508910)

This is a great demagoguing opportunity.

Re:Eh? But we do (5, Insightful)

Midnight's Shadow (1517137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509016)

All handguns are banned in the UK because someone went on a killing spree with it.

AND the last one has worked because nobody has used a handgun since to go on a killing spree. The next one used a shotgun. The one before the handgun used an automatic rifle which have also been banned and since then nobody has used one either.

Hard to argue that it doesn't work, when it does.

Actually I'd argue that what you described shows that banning guns doesn't work. One guy used an automatic rifle, so they banned it. The next guy used a handgun, so they banned that. The next guy used a shotgun, so they banned that. What's next a guy using a butcher's cleaver so they ban that?

You can always find a way to cause physical harm against another person ranging from string, table legs, anvils to guns. Should we ban all those when a single person miss uses them? Washington DC has one of the strictest gun control laws in the US, and one of the highest crime rates (not counting political crimes, which would really skew the numbers). I'd say at least in the US, banning things when a very small subset of people miss use them doesn't work. If you want a historical example, look at prohibition which caused more harm then good to the country.

Re:Eh? But we do (1, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509150)

The next guy used a shotgun, so they banned that. What's next a guy using a butcher's cleaver so they ban that?

If he'd used a butcher's cleaver, he'd have been stopped earlier. Three police officers saw him kill, but didn't do anything because police batons don't stand much of a chance against someone with a firearm. They'd have done fine against someone with a cleaver, however.

Re:Eh? But we do (4, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509184)

Too bad parent poster is wrong.

http://www.breakingnews.ie/world/12-dead-in-uk-killing-spree-460161.html [breakingnews.ie]

This guy would have lasted about 3 minutes in my neck of the woods, where quite a few *law-abiding* citizens have legal concealed carry permits. Do you realize how many times you have to reload to kill 26 people with a standard 12ga shotgun?

Re:Eh? But we do (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509318)

If the police had guns he wouldn'tve got very far either.

Re:Eh? But we do (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509428)

But as they say,

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

And I'm not sure you want to live in a world where the police are always only seconds away.

Re:Eh? But we do (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509464)

You're not entirely correct. The reason why he wouldn't have lasted long in the US is that all our police are armed with firearms. The fact that he was seen by police committing the crime and able to walk away is evidence that there's something entirely fucked up about police officers not being properly armed. Sure criminals get away from time to time here, but law enforcement does have the tools necessary to deal with it on the seen.

Besides, most gun deaths in the US are suicides. That and the people that are handling the weapons aren't exactly guaranteed to be emotionally stable. Nor are the guaranteed to have been through any sort of class or for that matter had to sit through the waiting period. That adds up to a potentially volatile situation where people can and do get killed as collateral damage.

Re:Eh? But we do (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509584)

No, I'm pretty much correct about the area where I live. Seems like every other person I know has a concealed carry.

Re:Eh? But we do (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509194)

Actually I'd argue that what you described shows that banning guns doesn't work. One guy used an automatic rifle, so they banned it. The next guy used a handgun, so they banned that. The next guy used a shotgun, so they banned that. What's next a guy using a butcher's cleaver so they ban that?

Well, a meat cleaver is a lot harder to go on a killing spree with than a gun. If you tried attacking a crowd of people with a meat cleaver chances are a lot of them would simply run away from you with a few possibly jumping you from behind, "massacre" over. You stand 30 ft. away and empty a few clips in their general direction and the situation is a bit trickier from their point of view.

You can always find a way to cause physical harm against another person ranging from string, table legs, anvils to guns. Should we ban all those when a single person miss uses them?

  • String - Plenty of everyday uses.
  • Table legs - Are generally used for holding tables up, can also be used as a hammer in an emergency.
  • Anvils - Fairly specialized and not exactly easy to use for randomly attacking people in the street (well, you could chuck it from a building but good luck retrieving it and doing it again)
  • Guns - Gee, I guess I could shoot out light bulbs like Homer Simpson but other than that it's either for recreation (hunting is recreation these days, even in rural parts of the civilized world) or violence...

Basically, guns are a tool for hurting others or target practice, most places (even here in commie y'urp) allow people to keep guns for target practice, it's just that they try to discourage the macho idiots from getting guns by making the paperwork and requirements surrounding gun ownership a PITA.

Re:Eh? But we do (3, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509436)

Well, a meat cleaver is a lot harder to go on a killing spree with than a gun.

You mean like these [telegraph.co.uk] ?

Re:Eh? But we do (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509482)

Guns are only used for destroying things. Anybody who says otherwise doesn't know a damned thing about them and certainly shouldn't be handling them.

Re:Eh? But we do (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509944)

There's a lot of power both ways with the threat of violence without even using the tool though.
Police do actually get people to stand down by drawing a gun and telling them to give up.

Restricting arms in any way really only stop random acts of violence with those kinds of arms.
Premeditated acts can still be done with them because if someone wants it enough they're not going to abide by those laws so much.

You don't ban guns to stop an organized criminal organization because they'll still get them and then your defensive force is under armed to handle that threat.

Re:Eh? But we do (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509052)

All underage people are banned from drinking alcohol because some have problems with it.

Alcohol has negative affects on the developing brain. [samhsa.gov] In reality, we probably shouldn't allow people to drink alcohol until they're 25 - when most people's brains mature fully.

Re:Eh? But we do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509124)

AND the last one has worked because nobody has used a handgun since to go on a killing spree. The next one used a shotgun. The one before the handgun used an automatic rifle which have also been banned and since then nobody has used one either.

Glad to see that your killing sprees are now just limited to shotguns, definitely worthwhile legislation.

Re:Eh? But we do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509536)

No it doesn't - what about all these kids being shot (think Liverpool, London) with handguns (a lot are simply converted firing pistols - converting them is banned btw).

Just because we haven't had anyone on a killing spree with a handgun *yet* - it doesn't mean the ban is working. I'm sure I'm not the only person in the UK who could go out - and after asking in the right places - find myself a handgun.

As for alcohol, since when has the under-18 ban ever stopped *anyone* underage from drinking?!!

Re:Eh? But we do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509980)

Glad to see you're having such success with banning things. Why not just ban murder? That'll cover the shotgun murders as well as any future ones with meat cleavers, baseball bats, falling anvils, etc.

Oh and you're saying automatic rifles were legal in the UK before that particular murder?

Re:Stop legislating for society's fringe elements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32508940)

"I want my own nuclear weapon!! Goverments around the world, even the UN, don't let me have one 'cause they think I can explode it but it's not true!!
UNFAIR!", said Mahmud Ahmadineyad

A Closer Analysis of Your Axioms (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509028)

We could add the same common sense reasoning to other recreational drugs, like tobacco and marijuana, or to books, and on and on.

So I think the key difference with your analogy here is whether or not there is a victim. And by 'victim' I don't mean any of that protect-the-citizen-from-themselves-crap but instead someone who suffers a loss of life, liberty or pursuit of happiness without participating willingly in it. So let's start with an easy one: murder. Murder is banned pretty much all over the United States except in very special circumstances (capital punishment). The reason is obvious, someone's dying and they almost always don't want to.

Handguns are a bit trickier. When the case of handgun related murders or injuries rises to a high enough point then places like DC, NYC, Chicago, LA, etc do have to universally ban or heavily restrict handguns. Rifles and shotguns seem to be another issue as they're not exactly designed to be concealed and used at short distances but I know in DC you must have a permit for a handgun and you must store it field stripped. If you have a handgun stored assembled in DC, you're breaking the law.

Alcohol saw a similar situation during prohibition. Drinking to destroy your liver minimally harms society if you don't have good health insurance. Drinking and getting behind the wheel can very much injure members of society. Drinking and going home and beating your wife or child again very much so scars them and halts their pursuit of happiness. So what are the true frequency of these things? If it's too high, you need to look at universally banning or restricting alcohol. Or the populace will run fear campaigns and demonize them like they did and have done with absinthe.

Now on to violent video games. Okay, so I don't agree with this but it seems that in Australia the majority of the populace (or a few very fascist leaders) have the opinion that violent video games provide too much of a harm to society in too high of a frequency. I could claim my teddy bear collection told me to go on a shooting rampage but that's not going to get teddy bears banned because the frequency is one in four hundred million (and if you start counting historically the number of people exposed to teddy bears is much much larger). You know, in the United States this would never fly but your set of "you don't universally ban/restrict" axioms is a bit unresearched at least in the states. We have had those experiments and we continue to have those experiments with handguns in very high population areas. DC used to be the murder capital of the world ... and it's gotten much better since the 1990s. You can't say that the handgun laws were the only factor in this but I think a lot of residents do believe this.

Re:A Closer Analysis of Your Axioms (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509248)

I know in DC you must have a permit for a handgun and you must store it field stripped. If you have a handgun stored assembled in DC, you're breaking the law.
 

Not since 2008.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A60034-2004Sep29.html [washingtonpost.com]
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/02/learning-from-the-dc-handgun-ban/ [washingtontimes.com]
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/26/AR2008062600615.html [washingtonpost.com]
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/09/AR2007030902416.html [washingtonpost.com]

"The year after the Supreme Court struck down the District of Columbia's handgun ban and gun-lock requirements, the capital city's murder rate plummeted 25 percent. The high court should keep that in mind today as it hears oral arguments about a Chicago handgun ban. "

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/02/learning-from-the-dc-handgun-ban/ [washingtontimes.com]

Re:A Closer Analysis of Your Axioms (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509410)

There's a whole slough of laws still in effect. They keep talking about it [washingtontimes.com] but there's always a ban of some sort. For instance, here's a high profile case for you [cnn.com] . But you said that the ban on handguns was repealed? That you can store them without being field stripped? You should talk to Gilbert Arenas about that. The set of laws in place is staggering.

Your quote is also hilarious. Hint: The Washington Times is one of the most conservative paper you'll find. They can't even give it away in DC. Not surprised to find them looking at one year's drop for the most extreme law being repealed. I also find it convenient that they don't look at the 45% drop in violent crime in the capital through the years gun control went into effect [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Stop legislating for society's fringe elements (-1, Flamebait)

Anci3nt of Days (1615945) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509056)

You don't universally ban/restrict child porn because SOME people will become paedophiles.
You don't universally ban/restrict drink driving because SOME people will cause accidents.
You don't universally ban/restrict race hate propaganda because SOME of the population breaks the law.

etc...

We could add the same common sense reasoning to other material known to cause harm for some, like violent video games, and so on.

Re:Stop legislating for society's fringe elements (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509158)

> You don't universally ban/restrict child porn because SOME people will become paedophiles.

You do universally ban child porn because ALL children are incapable of legally consenting to it.

> You don't universally ban/restrict drink driving because SOME people will cause accidents.

You do universally ban drunk driving because ALL people who are legally drunk have impaired reflexes.

Smoking is banned in some specific public or semi-public locations because ALL people in the immediate area would have no choice but to breathe the fumes. The same restrictions would be likely if marijuana were made legal.

Re:Stop legislating for society's fringe elements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509140)

We do.

Sometimes . . . (1)

spamking (967666) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508866)

I really have to remind myself I'm not playing Burnout when I'm stuck in a traffic jam. You know, since a video game is so close to how it is in real life.

Parents? (1, Troll)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508886)

What happened to blaming the parents? I don't believe you can send a child out to do anything independently and expect them to just turn out ok. Someone with the ability to reason (not all parents) should be interacting with the children to ensure they are developing desirable social and behavioral skills. This should be true for whatever children are doing, not just video games. Think about the children!

Re:Parents? (2, Insightful)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508978)

Video games are baby-sitter substitutes, just like the Cartoon Network.

Depressingly obvious (2, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508920)

FTFA:

“Previous research has shown us that personality traits like psychoticism and aggressiveness intensify the negative effects of violent video games and we wanted to find out why,” said Markey.

So psychos act like psychos after playing video games? WHAT A SURPRISE!

There should be a hefty fine levied against all the "news" outlets that have whipped up this "games make people psycho" meme in the last decades. Their fear mongering is NOT harmless, and they should be held accountable.

Re:Depressingly obvious (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509348)

So psychos act like psychos after playing video games? WHAT A SURPRISE!

If you hand someone over to a psychologist, plenty of us have some sort of traits. Unless you completely lack a "fight or flee" response you probably have some aggressiveness, for example. It's a huge difference between these people being psychos before, playing the game and still being psychos and someone with tendencies to become a full-blown psycho through playing video games.

Imagine what the treatment would be for someone with trouble connecting to other people's emotions and conflict resolution without resorting to violence would be. Then realize that a FPS deathmatch where your kills is objectified to a score and where the goal is to kill everyone is pretty much dead opposite of that. Most of us just aren't very affected by that anti-treatment.

I'd seriously worry about someone who obsessed over FPS games, both for the long term effect and because you read a lot of these psychos that go nuts have been "working it up" by intensely playing for hours then go out, adrenaline pumping and play it "live". I've seen people get emotionally involved in a film but never like the rage from being pwn'd in a video game. Some really can't handle it, which si so sad for the rest of us.

Wrong correlation (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508972)

Whether someone is violent (or likely to be violent) has no correlation with his consumption of computer games. A person who has a "reason" to be violent (please don't expect a logical, reasonable reason. We're talking psychology here, or, in other terms, stuff that deals with people's emotions) will be violent. Game or no game. Do they enjoy playing those games for the same reasons they, say, kill kittens or torture their schoolmates? Most likely. Do I enjoy playing those games for the same reason that I enjoy other games that challenge my ability to react quickly and make swift decisions? That much I know for sure.

Both, that violent bully and I, play the same game. But we do so for different motivations and for a different gratification. For him, it's the blood and gore splattering across the screen. For me, it's the reward that I played better than someone else (either a real player or at least some script). Mowing down a few hundred zombies is for him a great rush because of the blood and guts spewing everywhere on screen. For me, it's the challenge that I have to get them down before they reach my character and end my game, and the rewarding experience that I could pull it off, even though the amount of enemies made it seem impossible.

But do we want to base a legislation on how someone feels about a product in question? Again? As if certain porn laws (that depend on how a judge "feels" about certain displays) were not enough bullshit littering our laws...

Carmageddon (3, Interesting)

Calinous (985536) | more than 4 years ago | (#32508996)

As someone who played it a lot said one:
"I quit because I've had a pedestrian in front of my car on a small, twisty street and for a moment I wanted to hit it".
      By what I know, he never played Carmageddon again.

Re:Carmageddon (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509872)

Everyone has thoughts about things you know are not right. You can just as well think in the car: "If I just let the steering wheel slide for a bit I will fly off this cliff and be dead...", but this realization does not mean you are willing to actually do it (in fact i'd say knowledge of consequence increases your feeling of responsibility). Most people follow up with a "Well, I'd better look out then!" thought and never think twice about it.

I've read a psychological study that suggested that people (with some pre-existing mental problems) can freak out because of these thoughts. When you weigh this too heavy you will become very afraid of actually following the thoughts with actions, and when you worry about this enough you can become obsessed. In some cases people's fear of doing something will actually cause them to do it eventually, and cause them to believe they had no control over it.

I've known someone that exactly matched this description, he freaked out because of fear for his own thoughts (for example pushing someone over the side of the cliff), his fear made him obsessed and even more afraid of himself. It's just like when he became fucking paranoid after smoking a joint (only time ever), any pre-existing mental problem can create problems with a lot of different parts of life a psychologically 'normal' functioning human would have no problem with (or not even notice it).

Problems people have with: addiction, violence, sex and other general obsessive behavior have everything to do with pre-existing problems. The games, movies and drugs are just the random drop in the bucket that makes their conditions pop up. In my opinion we should try to help people with these problems instead of trying to punish the world by limiting our entertainment. I also want to bet there is a good chance real psycho's will go on a killing spree one day because 'they were bored because there was nothing to do, so he decides to create his own violent entertainment for fun', and after that watch and laugh/weep inside as the conservative wackos try to ban procrastination. :-)

No joke? (1)

Syniurge (1550185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509014)

This is getting more and more retarded, psychology at its finest..

All this research seems stupid to me (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509048)

The problem I find with all this research on violent video games is that it all seems to assume that video games have an effect that matters. Well, how about we study that first? Back when I learned about scientific research, especially as it applies to people, you go and do some observational research first, see if there's a trend. Only if there is do you bother with experiments.

In this case compare the violent crime rate for people who play video games as well as people who do not to the population at large. Unless you see an increase, there really isn't anything else to study. Trying to measure the effect of a videogame on an individual is going to be much harder and more error prone than evaluating statistical data. So, let's do that first. Unless there is a statistically significant difference in the rate for violent crime between the population at large and the subset that likes violent games, I don't see why further study is warranted.

Now I realize that there could potentially be other, more subtle, effects. However why do we care? Does it matter if playing violent video games causes people to get excited, or release more adrenaline or the like? Might be mildly interesting as a general psychology/physiology study, but nothing worth reporting on or making policy on. The only concern in terms of that would be if violent videogames make people more likely to commit crimes.

I'm going to say they don't just based on the fact that violent crime has been dropping for around 30 years and what do you know, video games have been increasing for around 30 years.

Re:All this research seems stupid to me (1)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509642)

There are several reasons to do such research: 1. Be able to publish a paper and make a name for yourself. 2. Make policies so you can stand behind some meaningless principle that you can con others into believing and supporting your (political power). 3. Make money with the grants you get from such studies. 4. Get on good terms with your deity. In summary: gold, glory, and god. If we can learn something about human behavior, that may be an interesting side effect.

Re:All this research seems stupid to me (1)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509966)

Anthropologists need something to study too.

nig64 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509072)

Just like.. (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509256)

...drugs sends some people schizo yet most manage just fine. I could've told them this for a lot less than this study probably cost.

No, it's clearly comic books that are doing us in (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509266)

I have it on good authority [wikipedia.org] that comic books are to blame for the decline of our youth. Did you know that since 1994 (coinciding with the comic book market downturn of the mid-90's), juvenile crime has dropped by 47%? And now, with the comic book industry returning strong, juvenile delinquency is once again on the rise [newamericamedia.org] . We must put an end to this prurient influence on our youth!

Classic Issue (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509364)

Negative effects from computer games and media are simply an extension of a classic problem. We know that certain people will suffer disaster if exposed to alcohol. It is biological and not a moral or control issue. Even tobacco is selective in who it destroys. Serve a tomato or have a bit of fish oil in a dish and a few people will die from it.
              Society has not responded well to this type of situation. Obviously the world can not be run according to the defects in individuals. And in the case of video games we have no way to crunch the numbers. Alcohol and tobacco ruin too high a percentage of users to really be allowed at all. But trying to take a guess at violence caused by games and movies is not reliable at all, not large at all, and worse yet we have no way to consider the secondary effects either. For example if murders are done it may partially rest upon the fact that other people are committing murders which can make the idea of murder more common and more acceptable. So if we were to suppose that 1% of all serious crimes related to video games and films we might find that the influence or atmosphere created by those crimes kicked off behavior in others who did not watch films or play video games.
            All in all it may be best not even to worry about things like video games as we can be certain that the run away cause of all crime comes back to drugs. Get rid of drugs and 90% or more of all crime will vanish.

Let me see if I get this right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509374)

If everyone plays, some react badly but some don't. But, on average we're worse off. Just like if some drink alcohol, some handle it badly but some don't. So the average doesn't improve.

Yes, I understand that we're not getting rid of guns, alcohol or computer games anytime soon. And I'm not advocating legislating them away, either. I'm just saying that if some are unaffected, but some are hurt, aren't we worse off on average? When do we quit thinking like we always have, and start asking what we can do to make things get better on average?

Non-violent video games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509406)

So I suppose non-violent video games only affect some people too? Only a small minority of people feel non-violent after playing Wii Bowling. The rest go to bowling alleys and kill people using only pairs of stinky rental bowling shoes.

I have to agree with the media . . . (2, Funny)

hansede (1521535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32509504)

. . . by the time I completed Barbie Wild Horse Rescue, I wanted to kill someone!

Tell that to Venezuela's government, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32509716)

... which recently passed a law prohibiting violent videogames... to anyone. Yes, it doesn't matter if you're an adult, you don't have the maturity to know that killing people is something you're not supposed to do in real life.

The "great" thing about this law is that you can get 3-5 years of prison. I'm pretty sure you'll come out perfectly fine and not violent at all after those years behind bars...

P.S: We're not sure which games are actually banned, aside from the obvious ones. Some stores are refusing to sell Mario games because they're supposed to be among those banned. Yes, Mario games, which are among the most family-friendly games ever. I guess Mario promotes goomba cruelty, or something.

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