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Violence in Video Games Debate Continues to Rage

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 9 years ago | from the results-driven-by-agenda dept.

Games 411

ubermiester writes "The Washington Post is reporting on a newly released study by the American Psychological Association, claiming that 'exposure to violence in video games increases aggressive thoughts, aggressive behavior and angry feelings among youth.' This partly contradicts another study released a week before by a University of Illinois Professor claiming that 'game violence does not prompt players to project violent tendencies into real life.'"

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Sun continues to rise daily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367632)

What else is new?

Re:Sun continues to rise daily (3, Funny)

Gherald (682277) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367672)

> Sun continues to rise daily, what else is new?

Ah, the old rise/set debate. Scientists continue to invistigate which happened first...

With headlines with those sorts of wordings... (-1, Redundant)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367638)

...who's surprised?

Re:With headlines with those sorts of wordings... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367683)

claims that , , however, claims that this is simply not true.

This bullshit can go on until the end of time, bottom line is nobody knows enough (or cares enough, or whatever) to ban them outright. So all these people who think they're gonna shock the world with their brand new insight can go fuck themselves on a bench in switzerland, because nobody gives a shit.

Just wait... (5, Funny)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367797)

One day I'll get my hands on the person who started this debate and KILL THEM!

Re:Just wait... (3, Funny)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367914)

No doubt after a marathon session of Pong I'd imagine...

Should Expand To Violence In The: +1, Heroic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367818)

War in Iraq by the world's most dangerous and illiterate "leader" [] .

Remember, friends don't let friends vote Redubyacan.

Thanks in advance,
K. Trout, C.E.O.

How about a study on the parents? (5, Insightful)

bobsacks (784382) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367644)

How about someone does a study on the parents of the kids who commit crimes that are supposedly caused by video games. I bet you would get some conclusive results from that one.

Re:How about a study on the parents? (4, Insightful)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367729)

Yeah, whenever someone blames parents for the crimes their kids commit, they point their fingers at the video game industry. A debate on whether or not parents should take some responsibility turns into a rant about video games and music and violent movies. Whats up with that? I mean supporters of video games would never try to turn the discussion on the impact of video games into a debate on whether or not parents should be blamed.

What were we talking about again?

BLAME CANADA!!!! (4, Funny)

infonography (566403) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367844)

Sheila: Time's have changed
Our kids are kids are getting worse
They wont obey their parents
They just want to fart and curse!
Sharon: Should we blame the government?
Liane: Or blame society?
Dads: Or should we blame the images on TV?
Sheila: No, blame Canada
Everyone: Blame Canada
Sheila: With all their beady little eyes
And flappin heads so full of lies
Everyone: Blame Canada
Blame Canada

Ok, I won't any farther with these lyrics but I am sick of these distracting campaines. What's Next on the calender? Meth? Rock Music, Dancing? Pool Halls? Bowling?


Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367894)

It's our children that are at stake. Canadians have more guns then we do, they could invade at any minute.

Re:How about a study on the parents? (4, Informative)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367737)

> kids who commit crimes that are supposedly caused by video games

I guess you were in such a hurry for an early post that you forgot to read the article... It doesn't have anything to say about crimes "supposedly" caused by video games. It deals with how violent video games make players more violent. Regardless of their parents.

Re:How about a study on the parents? (5, Informative)

neo (4625) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367796)

Freakonomics [] does a pretty interesting job of explaining crime rates and a direct connection to parental investment.

Basically if you wanted the kid and care about them, they commit less crime than if you didn't want them or care about them.

Re:How about a study on the parents? (5, Insightful)

Crixus (97721) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367895)

How about a general study on family environments?

  I used to be a very angry person, but due to an unusual epiphany 3 years ago, I've learned to deal with it. But what this experience taught me is that there are a LOT of angry people in this country.

    I think a better study would try to get to the bottom of that. I saw a film that touched on this topic briefly a year or two ago, but didn't delve deeply enough.

    That being said however:

    Angry people are going to commit acts of violence whether there are video games or not.

    This sounds like another time when we're treating the symptom, and not the disease.

Yes, they keep saying this. (4, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367645)

And it make sense, because it explains why the rise of videogames correlates with a drop in violence among teens.

Er...wait a minute...

Re:Yes, they keep saying this. (1, Insightful)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367752)

Got any research that support that statement ? I mean, real research as opposed to that crap webpage where some amateur without knowledge of statistics selects data to prove a point ?

Didn't think so.

Re:Yes, they keep saying this. (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367824) support the statement that teen crime has gone down every year since 1992?

Re:Yes, they keep saying this. (5, Informative)

Shky (703024) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367831)

Does the U.S. Department of Justice count? Because it appears that youth crime has been declining since 1993 [] . But I suppose I'm an amateur without knowledge of statistics...

Re:Yes, they keep saying this. (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367839)

Well, you have a reply linking to a supporting source. Now, let me turn the question around - do you have any research to support your implied assertion that ucbockhead was incorrect, and teen crime rates have not been falling?

Re:Yes, they keep saying this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367874)

Take that bitch!

Re:Yes, they keep saying this. (1)

Xyrus (755017) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367814)

Say that again, and I'll kick your ass.


*Yes, I'm joking.*

Not only that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367915)

... but these studies never have a valid control group.

Here's a hint: the control group shouldn't just consist of kids that aren't playing video games. It should consist of kids that are playing dodgeball, football, and "Cowboys and Indians." Otherwise, you aren't proving a damned thing because you can't differentiate play in general from play that happens to involve a CRT.

Basically, these studies fall into the category of studies that prove that studies without alarming findings don't lead to further research grants. Just more junk science. Move along, nothing to see here.

of course, (1, Troll)

inmate (804874) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367653)

sending them to Iraq will most certainly have a calming, spiritually-enlightening effect...

Stats. (5, Insightful)

Shky (703024) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367655)

A further study, released some time ago, suggests that there are "Lies, damn lies, and statistics."

Re:Stats. (3, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367838)

A further study, released some time ago, suggests that there are "Lies, damn lies, and statistics."

Well, in this case, I'd say the study released today is closer to the truth than the study that it supposedly "contradicts", because this study is a study of studies. It's a look at the preponderence of evidence in all studies done up to this point.

It would be analogous to saying violent crime is down 10% this year, although this is "contradicted" by the fact that there was a murder just down the street last night. Well, no, there's nothing contradictory about that. That murder goes into the set of statistics that are then compared with the same set of statistics from last year. One does not contradict the other, because one is the whole truth and the other is just a part of the data.

The study that's being talked about today went back and examined the findings of all the studies done up to that point, and found that the vast majority of them indicated that violent games lead to an increase in aggression. They did note that "a few" said the opposite. The point is the prevailing view provided by all the research that's been done is that violent games do lead to increased aggression, irrespective of a few individual studies that came to different conclusions.

I know what people here want to believe, but at some point you have to look at it and say "well, 85 or 90% of all studies say one thing - doesn't that probably indicate that something's there?" I mean it seems like a stretch to suggest that all of the studies that indicate increased aggression were somehow flawed while all of those on the other side were not. There are probably flaws on both sides, but if you toss out the flawed studies the total result would likely be exactly the same.

Keeping it in there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367657)

I've played violent games all my life, and it lets me vent my frustation of the world into the game. 50 frags is better for me then a cigarette.

Re:Keeping it in there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367766)

50 frags is better for me then a cigarette.
You frag and then you have a smoke? I prefer to smoke while I play even if it's more difficult for most FPS.

With every study they do (2, Insightful)

nlawalker (804108) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367658)

...they refine the answer we've had for years, which is:

"It depends on the individual, which means the responsibility falls on the parents or guardians to ensure that their children aren't being exposed to something that is going to alter their behavior in a negative way."

Figure it out, people.

Re:With every study they do (1, Insightful)

colmore (56499) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367810)

It's not quite 100% fair to put all the blame on parents. It's impossible to keep pop culture away from kids, unless you want to live like some conservative christains do and move to a rural area and homeschool your children. Even if you refuse to allow them GTA, half of their friends will have it.

I'd be much quicker to defend the games industry if they gave any indication of being remotely concerned about the effects of what they sell on their customers.

We of course get pissed, because as adults its inconvenient to have red tape around the products we like, but the tone around here seems to be pretty knee jerk in the assumption that there can't possibly be any harm to the games we love, so it's a pretty dumb debate with one side looking for an easy scape-goat and the other refusing to hear any arguments they don't like.

Re:With every study they do (4, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367892)

I think you're missing the point - it's not that you ought to be keeping your kids away from pop culture or violence in games, or whatever. The point is you ought to be being parents! No-one said it was going to be easy...

*You* have a responsibility to raise your kids. It's *your* values that they will start with, if you can be arsed to get off your backside and teach them. Sure they'll rebel (it's part of growing up), but what is learned early is learned best. Give them freedom to choose their actions from an early age, and give them the consequences of their actions as well. That simple lesson is what is missing in most kids that have "gone off the rails".

Actually I think it's just as negligent to keep the kids away from bad influences (to a certain degree anyway). If you don't let them make mistakes when the consequences are small, they'll make the same mistake when the consequences are large, because they'll know no better.

It's a bit like when children grow up in antiseptic conditions - smothered by well-wishing parents, they never cut themselves, never get dirty, etc. They grow up with a significantly-impaired immune system, subject to allergies for the rest of their lives. The time put-aside by nature for "learning" things was wasted, and the nascent adult suffers because of it.


Re:With every study they do (1)

Lord Pillage (815466) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367916)

Nice contradiction. Last time I checked the game industry had a rating system in place to warn parents about the content of the games. If you did move to a rural area and homeschooled your kids, then yes, you have done what you can to censure pop culture. But then you go on to point out that half their friends have the violent games (GTA in this case), which makes the fault lie on child's friends' parents.

So I'd have to disagree and say it is the parents' fault that kids are exposed to this. It is up to the parents to raise their children, and if they do a shitty job of it, they shouldn't go looking to play the blame game.

Look at what this says and you'll see.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367660)

that it's not exactly contradictory... If one study say it leads to aggressive thoughts, behvior and angry feelings, then it's not necessarily contradictory if the other says that it doesn't increase violent behavior. Aggressive behavior isn't necessarily violent behavior. That's how they could be both right. And at the same time, any psych major knows that the studies could be severely flawed to say the least. Flame away.

this is BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367663)

this is complete BS. anyway.. i gotta go.. busy day ahead of killing cops, jacking cars, banging hookers, and doing drugs...

(and i was doing all that WAY before i played mario btw.. smashtv did it :(

Re:this is BS (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367746)

No, no, no. You're meant to kill the hookers, otherwise that nice Mrs Clinton will be all sorts of upset.

who cares.... (0, Troll)

aqsv49 (894530) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367666)

I dont care if a kid plays GTA one day and does car jacking the next. I dont care if parents blame the game and see there son repeatedly convicted. Fry u compensation seeking bastards!

It probably does (4, Insightful)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367667)

But can they prove that "agressive thoughts" are harmful? Porn increases "sexual thoughts". Could watchin Bill O'Reilly increase my "complete asshole thoughts?"

Yes everything you see and do influences you to some degree. Unless you're crazy to begin with, you won't act on them.

Re:It probably does (2, Insightful)

uighur (818297) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367687)

I completely agree. Being inundated with violent behavior through TV/video games could definatly increase violent thoughts. But until there is some link between video games and an increase in actual violence, I could care less.

Re:It probably does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367886)

How about those who use 'bots to pounce on others' characters in MMORGs to take their booty for sell to other players in the real world?

Not a micron will get through this screen!

Re:It probably does (2, Insightful)

Avast Yee (906209) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367777)

How do psychologists control studies like this? It seems to me that video games would score fairly low in influencing kids as opposed to being inundated with real-world violence. Example, from the article:

Showing violent acts without consequences teaches youth that violence is an effective means of resolving conflict.

Not to bring politics into this too much, but isn't that exactly the example that the President of the United States set, violence as an acceptable means to getting your way?

So, do the psychologists study violent behavior in a group that does not have access to violent games and then compare the levels of aggression between the two? I guess parents should grow some spines and set acceptable boundaries for their kids. Another poster said it right, study the parents and you'll find conclusive results.

Also from the article: Williams and Skoric also concede that because their study didn't concentrate solely on younger teenagers, 'we cannot say that teenagers might not experience different effects.'

Do psychologists ever come up with hard facts about behaviour, or are their careers built around speculating about what may or may not have an effect on people? All I ever see in the media is a group of psychologists publicly speculating on research that contradicts what another group spoke about last week.

Re:It probably does (1)

The_Incubator (819401) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367851)

Could watchin Bill O'Reilly increase my "complete asshole thoughts?"

No, but it will make you want to shove a falafel up your ass.


Re:It probably does (1)

Frumious Wombat (845680) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367855)

To paraphrase a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, "does exposure to violence desensitize us, sure, does it increase our tolerance and lower expectations, sure, but does it *cause* it, well, that's not clear." it's all in the questions you ask.

I knew people in grad school who played Doom, and nobody shot their advisor. Before that, Moria in undergrad, and the number of my classmates who decided it was ok to whack people over the head and go through their pockets doesn't seem to have increased over baseline noise. On the other hand, nobody is asking, "today in Miami there were two carjackings, 29 muggings, and a random murder. Do you still care?"

Ideally, you'd pick a reasonably sized sample of individuals who don't currently play GTA, make half of them spend an hour or two a day at it, and take samples (i.e. ask questions and do blood tests) of how many started having more violent thoughts afterwards, or engaged in antisocial behaviour. A study done a few years back indicated that minor social slights raised adrenaline levels for southerners more than new englanders. This was done with Med students, and the ones from the northeast would barely be perturbed by being bumped, while the southern ones would have a more aggressive response. Something like that should be done in this case, so that we have some hard evidence, and a baseline to compare to.

Btw, in answer to the Bill O'Reilly question, a strictly non-scientific sample of Fox-viewing coworkers would indicate, "yes".

Sports=Death? (3, Interesting)

spineboy (22918) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367858)

Well, then what about sports - i.e. football, lacrosse, hockey. They all involve hitting people, fairly hard too. I can think of many more high school/college jocks that beat up people, than other people who were playing vid games. Let's ban football - oh wait, that would be "unAmerican".

Ill KILL the bastards!!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367668)

If they try to take my violent video games away, i will throw barrels at them until they run out of lives!

Video Games or Real Life (1)

DigitalDwarf (902246) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367671)

I rather kill Pixis all day than just lose it, get a gun, and take out my co-workers. Sorry, if I can get my fustrations out in a game I think that game is good for it. You can only take so much Mario before just losing it.

exposure to violence in life increases ... (1)

bushboy (112290) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367673)

exposure to violence in life increases aggressive thoughts.

In other news, it is reported that cats need a heart to live.

Re:exposure to violence in life increases ... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367730)

In other news, it is reported that cats need a heart to live.

I have my reservations, I'll set up a test series.

Makes sense to me (4, Funny)

nmoog (701216) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367680)

After a couple of hours of GTA I always want to punch someone. And I'm a reasonable, dweeby, pacificist nerd.

Re:Makes sense to me (1)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367731)

After a couple of hours of GTA I always want to punch someone. And I'm a reasonable, dweeby, pacificist nerd.

Not me...After a couple of hours of GTA, the only effect I've noticed is I come really close to running red lights when I drive.


Re:Makes sense to me (1)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367817)

GTA just makes me want to jump out of moving cars and run around the streets in circles with my gun drawn.

Re:Makes sense to me (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367849)

Same here. Some of those missions just make me want to strangle the person who designed them. Instead of studying if videogame violence increases aggressive behavior, we should study how idiotic and irritating game design increases aggressive behavior.

I'd like to see the actual study (3, Insightful)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367685)

The media is notorious for reporting things like this completely incorrectly.

The thing I most want to know is whether or not there were controls in place to weed out the influence of children who are more likely to be violent anyway (e.g. kids from broken homes). If not, then there's no way to separate causation from correlation.

I also have to wonder about possible bias. The APA funded this study, and it wouldn't exactly be surprising if an association of psychologists (i.e. people who get paid to cure insanity) wanted to suggest that a fairly popular hobby like playing video games turns children into sociopaths.

Oh, and what video games did they play? The GTA series most certainly portrays consequences for violent behavior, for instance.


Re:I'd like to see the actual study (1)

superyanthrax (835242) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367786)

The media will report in a way that sensationalizes the issue, whether it is liberal or conservative. They don't want boring mundane stories. They want interesting groundbreaking stories. So they have to exaggerate. The American media is run by big business, so its intrinsic purpose is NOT to report news like in some places, or be a mouthpiece for the government in some other places. Its purpose is to make money, like all big businesses do, and they do it by reporting news and generating ad revenue. So one should not be surprised when issues are exaggerated in order to seem more important. This is certainly the case here because this study is being blown up to something it probably doesn't actually mean.

Re:I'd like to see the actual study (2, Insightful)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367850)

"The American media is run by big business, so its intrinsic purpose is NOT to report news like in some places, or be a mouthpiece for the government in some other places. Its purpose is to make money, like all big businesses do, and they do it by reporting news and generating ad revenue."

Are you trying to imply that non-"big business" media outlets (like for instance /.) never sensationalize news?

Re:I'd like to see the actual study (2)

superyanthrax (835242) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367860)

No, I'm not implying that. Everyone reporting news has his own agenda. For example, a totalitarian state will warp battle reports to seems like its army was winning great victories every day. Slashdot has its own agenda of promoting technology and "freedom" (this can apply in many senses so I'm leaving it in quotes), and so it may for example sensationalize stories of people getting prosecuted for IP/DRM violations. However, it is clear that the American media is driven by profit, so its reports will be sensationalized to make more money.

Re:I'd like to see the actual study (1)

Your Pal Dave (33229) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367826)

TFA (which seems to be a opinion piece) says it's a study, but the link in TFA leads another article which talks about an APA statement [] which does contain a fair number of references in the linked PDF.

Nothing really new here, as far as I can tell. It looks like it's just APA reiterating their previous stance on video games.

Re:I'd like to see the actual study (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367847) []

Not exactly the actual study, but at least closer to the source. Assuming this and the post article are appealing to the same research (its difficult to say for sure since the article never says anything specific about the actual study, which is strange because I was under the impression that it was considered good journalism to cite your sources), it does appear certain parts were left out of the article, including

children and adolescents who are attracted to the violent content in the games are likely to be more vulnerable to the effects of that exposure
Both Nicoll and Kieffer say that the recent changes that put age limits and rating systems on games make it more difficult for young children to purchase and play these video games. But, say the psychologists, "future research needs to explore why many children and adolescents prefer to play a violent video game rather than play outside, and why certain personalities are drawn to these types of games."

"I also have to wonder about possible bias. The APA funded this study, and it wouldn't exactly be surprising if an association of psychologists (i.e. people who get paid to cure insanity) wanted to suggest that a fairly popular hobby like playing video games turns children into sociopaths."

Well I don't see anything about them funding it, just publishing it. But if true, wouldn't that make them want to play up the other more complex causes of human behavior? I mean if problem children can be cured by taking away their video games, they would be out of business.

Apparently there was no study... (1)

ShadowBot (908773) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367864)

just a consolidation of previous conclusions.

Basically they are saying, since we know that violent media inspires violence, and video games are media then violent video games must inspire violence.

This seems to be the actual document they are all referring to nce.pdf []

Re:I'd like to see the actual study (1)

Lagurz (908275) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367875)

These studies often establish there is a correlation between variable A (playing violent video games) and variable B (agressiveness), but the study seldom establish A implies B.

The result might be interpreted as: agressive kids like to play violent video games.

aggressive thoughts? (3, Insightful)

Blaaguuu (886777) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367686)

I read a study previously taht came to the same conclusion, that playign violent video games led to more aggressive thoughts and tendancies... while, and immediately after playing the games. thre was nothign to show tht these effects continued mroe than a few minutes after playing the game. which is pretty pointless. ofcourse people are going to have agressive thoughts while killing people in a virtual world. but that doesnt mean those thoughts will continue through the day.

Minority Report (1)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367688)

Some could argue that voilent video games could be used as a law enforcement tool. Law enforcement researchers could perform studies where prisoners play a game vs a normal control group. Using neural nets or some way of generating a player's profile, a model is made to differentiate how violent criminals play vs normal players. Once the game is released to the public, if a player gets flagged as a potential criminal, the police are dispatched.


Re:Minority Report (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367758)

Minority report? Try Ender's Game - sounds a lot more like the Battle School computer than anything from Minority Report (film or short story).

Where's the actual paper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367699)

I would insist on seeing the actual journal article to check the sources of funding and methodology for this research.

Statistics tell us exactly what they want them to (2, Insightful)

thatedeguy (896452) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367703)

Anyone who has taken even a beginners course on statistics knows that statistics can be distorted to tell any tale that you want. This follows the same line as the whole bit about how gun owners are more likely to commit a gun related crime. Well, shiver me timbers. Thats a novel concept. Whats the numbers on knife owners? All construed to tell us the tale they want to tell. And where are their parents?

Re:Statistics tell us exactly what they want them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367792)

Well, it's always been my understanding that the inferences one gains about sampled populations using statistical methods are fairly rock solid. The "statistics" themselves cannot be distorted.

What is frequently distorted, however, is the pollster's and/or news organization's reporting on what qualities of those populations were actually being tasted. Studies can also be methodologically flawed. In political polling or sociological research, for example, researchers will ask leading questions, getting an answer they wouldn't have if they'd used more nuetral wording

Re:Statistics tell us exactly what they want them (1)

SumDog (466607) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367854)

I can't remember who it's from, famous mathematician, who said, "All models are wrong, but some are useful."

A corrolation in data doesn't mean causation. Even an 80% corolation isn't enough to say A causes B. And even if you get 98%, you still haven't explained why.

GTA and driving. (5, Interesting)

neo (4625) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367708)

I remember vividly the first time I played a marathon session of GTA and then got behind the wheel of a real car. I had to force myself to acknowledge red lights when there were no other cars around. This was after training myself NOT to stop for them in GTA because the cops didn't care.

Now this is a small example of how you can train or untrain yourself to certain stimulus, but I never beat anyone with a bat, or rigged a bomb to anyone's car. Perhaps because no one was offering me the jobs.

We are obviously affected by what we see and hear. We learn from our environment and observations what is acceptable and what isn't.

Movies, books, conversations, music and games are all ways that ideas get past from person to person. The message can sometimes get confused by the messenger. How many people have refused to read Lolita because they think other people would think they were pedophile?

As a parent, it's your job to isolate your children from input that might alter their psyche. You don't show 3 year olds Faces of Death.

Should the industry have some part in that? Yes. They should certainly give a relatively detailed list of the content. But should games be MORE responsible than other industries, like Movie Makers and the Book Industry? No.

Re:GTA and driving. (2, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367819)

I've never played GTA, but I did play Carmageddon for a while and noted the same tendancy to want to crash into other cars if I got behind the wheel just after a game. It can take a few hours to let your habits go back to normal.

The Times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367711)

I wrote a letter to The Times about this (the en-GB one, not the New York one). Let's hope it gets published.

Make Love, not War! (4, Funny)

HRbnjR (12398) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367713)

Heh, well, maybe if they put more sex into video games, all those kids would instead decide they want to make love, not war :)

Re:Make Love, not War! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367901)

Spoken like a true slashdotter, trying to get any chance at all!

There are far too many busybodies in this world... (4, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367718)

There's a line from Latin Quarter's "America for beginners" that's more in reference to right-wing politics, but it fits pretty well here -
The vigilantes are on their way back, with prime-time fight the good fight

I've been playing role-playing games since I was 11 (D&D, AD&D, Runequest, MERP, Traveller, etc..). I can't say I've ever tried to translate those fantasies into reality. Because these are social games, I know a *lot* of other people who play them. Not any one of those people has turned out to be a non-productive member of society... Some now work for the M.O.D, some for NASA, some in government, some in companies, some are lawyers, the list goes on... I would say I know (personally) well over 70 people who role-play. All of them are model citizens.

Perhaps the vigilantes ought to choose a different fight... For every perceived problem ("violence in games"), there is a solution ("ban them") that is simple, obvious and wrong. (With apologies to whomever's quote I've just mangled).


Re:There are far too many busybodies in this world (2, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367779)

Not any one of those people has turned out to be a non-productive member of society... some are lawyers

I can't help feeling that there's something of a contradiction here...

Re:There are far too many busybodies in this world (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367821)

[grin] perhaps... The lady I'm thinking of is Queens Council. Perhaps barrister would have been a better term.


Re:There are far too many busybodies in this world (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367783)


Re:There are far too many busybodies in this world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367848)

Well, duh. Of course he is. You have seen the title of the site, yes ? "News for Nerds", all single-syllable words, you ought to be able to understand them...

You seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that calling someone a 'nerd' is somehow derogatory... That may be true in the schoolyard my fine redneck friend, but once your balls have dropped, it's pretty useful! We get all the great (as in: fun) jobs, we get paid *really* well, we drive flash cars, and live in beautiful houses. Life is good.

Still, I'm sure there's *some* job satisfaction in clearing away in the greasy-spoon cafe. Enjoy your pitiful lifestyle as best you can.

shooting cars with BB guns (1)

E8086 (698978) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367747)

Kids doing bad things is nothing new.
I knew people who shot at cars with BB guns and threw rocks and snowballs at buses many years before GTA existed. As far as I'm concerned, make ready the tin foil hat, all the hype about GTA being the direct cause of those violent actions was a publicity stunt part of someone's plan for a big class-action lawsuit against video games, then the politicians got involved and the media circus. //end tin foil hat

It probably started with a parent or random person in some small town in the middle of no where blaming a kid's "bad" behavior on a video game(GTA), lame excuse for 'kids will be kids' to a local reporter during a slow news week. Then the comment got picked by another station/paper and got put on the AP wire and the story got loose. And somewhere it was accepted as truth and became popular and used by kids trying to get off easy for something they did, having nothing to do with the game. This could be something for Mythbusters or Penn & Teller

I can remember sitting around playing Goldeneye on random weekend nights after a couple hours of playing football or whiffle ball in the middle of the street. I'm sure playing that FPS kept us off the streets and out of trouble at night.

Guess what? Games press did some research... (2, Interesting)

stonedonkey (416096) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367749)

...And youth violence has been on a steady and significant decline since about 1997. Around when the PlayStation 1 launched, coincidentally.

Check it out here [] .

Of course, you can use statistics to say anything you want... unless the figures are as obvious as they are here. Difficult to tweak for that daily anti-GTA propaganda : /

And yet..... (2, Interesting)

Beebos (564067) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367750)

......violent crime is at all time lows, though you wouldn't know that by watching the U.S. media.

But is violence really NEEDED in games? (1)

dividedsky319 (907852) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367751)

Unless, of course, Mario throwing a turtle shell at his enemies is violent.

Frankly, at 23, I don't care whether a game is violent or not. Unfortunately, a lot of others do. If it isn't violent, or filled with sex, it's not "mature" for them.

I've had this discussion with a lot of people, who say games like Mario are only for kids. Since when is violence necessary for a fun game? Looking through my library of 26 gamecube games, the most violent one is probably Metroid Prime... but that's a sci fi game where you're fighting aliens. Unless aliens invade the Earth, I don't think that's going to inspire kids to become violent.

So, even though I've been against censorship in video games my entire life, I now realize... is it really necessary?

Oh I have agressive thoughts alright... (1, Insightful)

krazikamikaze (888506) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367759)

...and they're directed at the politicians [] who focus on the hot topic of the month instead of the important issues.

Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children -- Never gets old, especially when said in that whiny Mrs. Lovejoy voice

"Save our Children" (5, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367765)

Back in the "old days" it was the Waltz, then there was the Tango, the Charleston and then...

1950s OH MY GOD THE WORLD IS OVER, Rock and Roll... our children are being corrupted
1960s OH MY GOD, ELVIS is such a good boy, but those BEATLES
1970s TV is KILLING my Children
1980s HORROR MOVIES are KILLING my Children
1990s NIVARNA are forcing Children to top themselves

And of course now its Video Games which are forcing Children into a life of violence.

This is just another great "Aunt Sally" for politicians and "academics" to debate and get money from. If it wasn't this they'd be battering on at Cartoons for glorifying violence (there is nothing in Doom III worse than the violence of Tom and Jerry or Roadrunner). The young are ALWAYS being corrupted in the minds of the elders, and what corrupted them in their youth is now seen as innocent.

And have you noticed... its always the over 40s who start wars... something must be making them do it.... I blame mugs of hot chocolate.

And lets not forget when Marge banned "Itchy and Scratchy"

scientific method (4, Funny)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367767)

Can't we solve this debate using rigorous scientific methods?

* Expose the test group to violent videogames.
* Expose the control group to non-violent videogames
* Compel both subject groups to commit a series of brutal murders
* Autopsy the brains of both subject groups.

The answer should be right there, in the brain autopies.


Re:scientific method (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367887)

Mod parent as funny. LOL

Bad science... from the article... (1)

clambake (37702) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367772)

I'm not saying some games don't lead to aggression, but I am saying the data are not there yet.

I'm not saying that apparant plant growth is caused by invisible gnomes that rip up all the plants in the world every few seconds and replace them with slightly larger ones when you aren't looking, but I am saying that the data are not there yet.

Ah, but were videogames the root of all evil - (1)

thewldisntenuff (778302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367773)

before they even existed?

Video games make an excellent scapegoat - they are a modern-day babysitter these days, and someone's gotta be the fall guy for the goals of a bunch of random beaurcrats.

The key is - you have to know more than whether or not someone plays a violent video game to know if they go whacko and shoot up a classroom. There are a TON of other variables - whether or not they were bullied, their home situations, mental and psychological history - these and many others all play a big factor into whether or not violence results.

But it's a lot easier to attack video games and censor them "for the children" then it is to explore other reasons why the violence occurs

Re:Ah, but were videogames the root of all evil - (1)

SumDog (466607) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367841)

I agree totally. Playing GTA3 doesn't make me want to go out and kill people, but the driving force in articles like these is that "It will make you kill people."

I hate the arguement "Not everyone who plays violent games will kill people; not everyone who watches a Lexus ad buys a Lexus, but some do..."

That doesn't make any sense no matter how you phrase it. Buying a car for transportation due to a suggestive ad and killing someone are two unrelatable concepts. The biggest difference being the game doesn't advocate killing people, it's just done in pretend land. Unlike a car simulator where you drive a Lexus in a virtual world, in real life you know which fantasy is legal and which one isn't.

The core problem is social deviance. We lock people up for crimes without trying to understand why and find ways to keep others from making the same mistakes. It's so much easier to blame a video game then try and find real solutions.

The APA? We can do better (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367789)

The APA also says that Homosexuality is not a disease. Why should we listen to them?

Art Reflects Culture (2, Insightful)

SumDog (466607) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367802)

...and in Europe their TV has lots of playful nudity, but they are very anti-violence, whereas here we have lots of violent stuff on basic cable, but no nudity...

Still you have Japan which has lots of both and even erotic adult cartoons, yet their crime rates are lower...and their suicide rates are higher

So what does it prove? Absolutely nothing. Come on people, think! Art reflects culture, our culture does not rise from art.

If violent games and porn are high selling items, it is because our culture wants it. Could pushing such media make people want it more? Maybe, but that doesn't change that is it because the culture brings it about.

If we really want to stop violent crimes, hate, etc, we need to attack the real problems. Attacking video games, art, etc. is a way to push the focus away from the real problems because its much much easier to boycot a game then try to give low income families the support they need to put their kids through college and pay their medical bills.

Headline? (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367803)

I'm sorry - is it that

Violence (in the Video Games Debate) Continues to Rage

or that

the Violence-In-Video-Games Debate Continues to Rage

Either the scientists are trading blows (now that's a story!)
or it's business as usual.

What can they do? (1)

fsterman (519061) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367828)

Okay, but what can they do? With the first admendment in place all they can seemingly do is pressure retailers? I'm sorry, but with the most violent games getting the best sales can this really effect the market long term?

Is this a cause, or is it a symptom? (3, Insightful)

7Prime (871679) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367857)

Honestly, I do agree that violence (not sex) in games AND IN FILM does highten our appathy toward violence in life. And not just in kids, I think kids are really no more malliable than adults in this case, but it's the adults doing the study, and they want their violent TV, so whatever.

But I think the more pressing concern is the fact that American video game companies are profitting off the bigger issue, one we seem to refuse to look in the eye: that our society is completely infatuated with voilence, and to the point where children would rather spend their money on a game that's violent as apposed to one that's not. GTAIII was, if I remember correctly, the best selling game in the US, outsellng The Sims and Myst (the two next best selling games at the time). THAT'S something to be alarmed at, the fact that people are screaming for it, not that it's available.

We always blame the Media and Entertainment industries when all they're doing is giving us what we want. Our first mistake is in our thought-processes behind the blaming of enetertainment. We only get worried, and start making acqusations, after a person has crossed the threshhold and committed a violent act, and then we hide behind a curtin with claims like, but I can distinguish fantasy from reality”. THAT'S NOT THE POINT. These are NOT copy-cat crimes, these are not adults and children who are dillusional about reality. These are children who are being told by everyone in their lives: from the things they see on TV, from the other children they see beat up in school, from their parants fighting, even from the the rising tension due to polarized politics in our country (children aren't stupid), from ALL of these things, it's no wonder they get the impression that violence is just a way of life, because to a certain extent, in our country, IT IS.

Let's quit with all the studies being used to put the blame on everything but our own violent lifestyles, it just allows people to project their own problems on everything else. America has the highest crime rate of any fully industrialized nation, these games are marketted everywhere (and usually flop), as is hollywood, so it's time to wake up, and face the reality that it's our way of life that's causing the problems, and not our entertainment.

When Mommy get's a big SUV because it makes her “feel” more secure, and Daddy buys a pistol because he feels he needs to protect his family from the outside world, little Billy's gonna get the impression that fear is a healthy, normal part of life. disagrees with you. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367862)

Why don't you e-mail and tell him how you feel?

More Post Hoc BS (5, Interesting)

Temsi (452609) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367870)

Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Comes after therefore caused by.

A common fallacy in many, many arenas, not just this one.

Studies such as these forget to examine other factors, such as "are violent kids more likely to play violent games?", and "are there violent kids who get their aggressions out through video games?", and "what in the kids upbringing or social situation could contribute to their violent behaviour?", and "do calm and non violent kids get violent or aggressive after playing the games?", and most importantly "what is the responsibility of the parents in each situation?"

I grew up watching violent movies. Did it make me a violent person? No, quite the opposite. I detest violence. Why? Because I had a mother who actually gave a shit. She cared about what I was watching, and always made a point to tell me that it wasn't real, that it was make-believe, and that there was always someone behind the camera. She also made a point of telling me that violence didn't solve any problems, and she even made me watch movies that showed the effect of war and violence on people, such as In Cold Blood and The Deer Hunter.

If violence in video games and movies was the real cause, we should be able to compare the amount of violence in the US with that of another country and see a direct correlation with the rate of violent crimes. In Japan, movies and games are far more violent than they are here in the US. Yet the rate of violent crime is dramatically lower, and gun violence is only a tiny fraction of what it is here.

Anyone who points to video games and movies and says 'this is the cause' has not only failed to do their homework, they've completely lost sight of the issue and are just looking for an easy scape-goat.

violence in video game is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367879)

cause if I didn't have video games I'd be bombing oil rich countries...

"Losing"? (1)

X.25 (255792) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367880)

Actually, from what I've experienced in real-life, LOSING in a game makes people go ballistic for a moment (not VIOLENT, but 'louder' and so on).

Hell, I've destroyed joysticks and keyboards (Kempstons, if I remember correctly - ah old Amiga days :) because I couldn't pass a level in logic and platform games ("Another World" being a good example :), etc. Coworker broke a keyboard because he couldn't beat my record in Minesweeper.

What's violent in those games?

Computer games - in general (1)

plusser (685253) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367889)

I had a "heated debate" with my girlfriend about the subject of computer games and children this evening. Before you ask, we are not married (we don't even live together) and we don't have children. She is vehemently opposed to children using computers at home, even though I am trying to tell her that there are benefits. She feels that to many kids are sat in front of their Playstation playing games when they could be playing more interactively with other children.

The problem is with games like San Andreas, who could blame her for thinking in this way? Far too much publicity is placed on "Action" games where the consequences of you actions are not felt, and the press is to blame for both glamorising and complaining about violent games. Perhaps if the games were not prompted at all, then there would be little interest in them, as they would not be seen as cool.

The problem is that consumerism as taken away the right of childhood. These days everybody must have the right clothes, gadgets, vehicles, food etc... and they are being targeted at a younger audience than ever before. It is no wonder then that children now take to violent computer games, especially as there is a lot more violence on TV.

Some people would like to "Blame it on the Parents", but in many respects that is only part of the problem. The problem is that peer pressure (from other children) has a far greater impact, especially if some of the children are bombarded with hours of endless junk on TV. As a child, you want to feel belonging, especially at school, and if one child starts telling all the other children about some thing have seen/possess/played/eaten, then there is a good chance that other children will want to follow. The popular Cartoon Series "South Park" (which is definitely for adults) and "The Simpsons" have had episodes which have shown this problem of children copying children, and has anybody taken the slightest bit of notice of their observations of children at play?

The bottom line is that it is all too easy to blame a single factor for the problems in society. Yes I think that the Hot Coffee mod in San Andreas is very very sad, and is aimed at young teenage lads that need to be dealing with their problems and not venting them out in computer games and on other people.

Can anybody please tell me if there is anything good about using computers these days? Nothing was this violent in the days of the Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore 64 back in the 1980's (except I suppose for the odd alien being blasted).

WHAT? (1)

Skiron (735617) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367890)


I see no debate on movies/series/cartoons, though. (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367891)

Maybe violent videogames make kids violent, I don't know.

But what about movies/series/cartoons? there is way too much violence in them. You have to reach pre-school cartoons to find non-violent stuff. I know because I have a 3 year-old nephew, and I've seen lots of cartoons lately, out of curiocity.

And even if movies/series/cartoons do not portrait violence, they are very stressful. They are very fast, with very sharp images and cameras changing rapidly, so rapidly in fast as to induce vomiting. The same goes for video clips: I can barely see the faces of the dancers anymore.

What is the message to our children from letting violent and stupid stuff like Power Rangers free on air, while we condemn video games? I'll tell you what it is: hypocricy. The young people see that they are allowed to see a violent movie, even a gruesome one, but grownups have second thoughts for videogames.

It's not a good sign.

Censorship makes me want to be aggressive (1)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 9 years ago | (#13367898)

So lets ban it.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13367906)

Well, it's from [] , actually:

<Lorien> I think I'll defragment my harddrive, throw away all my cds and install The Mickey Mouse Club, Teletubbies, Pokemon etc. on my PC. Then I'm gonna run amok. That'll give them psychologist something to think about!
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