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Violent Games 'Almost' As Dangerous as Smoking

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the just-wow dept.

Politics 545

Via Voodoo Extreme, a Reuters report on some very 'interesting' research into violent games. A study out of the University of Michigan has apparently found that 'exposure to violent electronic media' is almost as dangerous to our society as smoking. "'The research clearly shows that exposure to virtual violence increases the risk that both children and adults will behave aggressively,' said Huesmann, adding it could have a particularly detrimental effect on the well-being of youngsters. Although not every child exposed to violence in the media will become aggressive, he said it does not diminish the need for greater control on the part of parents and society of what children are exposed to in films, video games and television programs."

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Get thee away from me (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511585)

"Get that PSP away from me, I don't want any of your second-hand fragging to endanger my health!"

Yeah. I don't think I'll be hearing that one. Well, maybe from Jack Thompson, but not normal humans.

Re:Get thee away from me (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511665)

I'm just waiting for the study that shows that exposure to porn makes people less violent. Can you imagine the response here in America if THAT were found to be true?

Re:Get thee away from me (3, Interesting)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511777)

I would much rather my children watch a something pronographic(my spelling) than something violent. Taken to the logical extreme, I would rather live in a society heavily influenced by sex than violence. IMO one of those acts is much more natural than the other (don't waste your breath saying some joke about violence being nature)

Re:Get thee away from me (3, Interesting)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511889)

I'm hoping you don't mean just any kind of porn because some porn is violent and some of it is just plain gross, like 2girls1cup. I wish this study would show how religion can cause a person to be violent.

Re:Get thee away from me (0)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512129)

honestly, how many people die in "2girls1cup" a year? Would you rather your little girl shoot up the school or get in on the cup action? What do you think is more detrimental to society?

As far as violent pornography, choking chicks and sodomy, :), all jokes aside I think I'll leave that one to captain obvious....

Re:Get thee away from me (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21511955)

Both are natural. That is why humans are the dominant species on this planet. It comes down to violence being destructive and sex being constructive overall. Sex is better because it is constructive and that benefits all of society.

Re:Get thee away from me (0)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511987)

one of those acts is much more natural than the other
Natural has nothing to do with this, it's the benefit to society. What's more natural, to try to compromise with someone you're not related to when there's competition over a resource or to kill them to insure that you keep monopolizing it?

Sex isn't innocent either. Not being married is a big indicator of poverty, ie if you're married you're less likely to be poor. The more sex in society the more likely that a girl is to have a child outside of wedlock, and that's bad news for the child being born and for the mother. Being raised on welfare in a bad neighborhood doesn't bode well for the child, does it?

The issue of sex and violence in our society is a very complex one. Smoking is a fairly straightforward physical process compared to the neurological processes that go into how violence affects those who witness it. If scientists were ethically allowed to experiment directly on people then they might be able to gather some good data, but as it is there's too many variables to make it a straightforward comparison.

Re:Get thee away from me (1)

TGTilde (874930) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512175)

You are generalizing statistics that apply only for the current state of life. It is true that today most children born out of wedlock are STATISTICALLY in a poorer (at least monetarily) situation. However, that is changing. Divorce rates are way up and many couples manage to raise a child properly without being married. I would rather have the latter. Plus, if we had some sort of DECENT sexual education, (in the U.S., I don't know how it is elsewhere), the numbers across the board of unplanned children would drop. As for your last paragraph...well said.

Count me in! (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511991)

I would like to be the first citizen of your sexciety!

....as long as I am not living in sausagefest city....

Re:Get thee away from me (1)

Roager (1188827) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511833)

I'm guessing we'd have a new debate on our hands. But it'd still feel the same. We'd have the reasonable public opinion, and then we'd have a few nutjobs with no common sense arguing the exact opposite. The only difference is the mass amount of interest. Instead of just gamers caring what people say, its all the men and some of the women. more public interest, more hatemail for the nutjobs. I like it.

Re:Get thee away from me (4, Insightful)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512111)

I'm just waiting for the study that shows that exposure to porn makes people less violent. Can you imagine the response here in America if THAT were found to be true?

Lets see, violent crime in the UK is pretty steady at 650-900 homicides a year [crimestatistics.org.uk] for a country of 55 million. The recent trend has been sharply down despite 52 homicide victims of 7/7. Of those the vast majority are domestics, killing sprees are pretty much a once a decade affair.

I don't think that you could honestly attribute more than 50 or so homicides a year to the effects of computer games in the UK if you took the most liberal interpretation imaginable.

Smoking causes about 110,000 deaths a year according to the leading anti-smoking campaign [oldash.org.uk] .

Allowing for the fact that ASH might well overstate the case somewhat the fact is that we don't have a single UK case where computer games are confirmed as a major factor. So I would be pretty confident in stating that smoking is at least a thousand times more dangerous than video games and the evidence points to the difference being more like a hundred thousand.

So let us imagine what the difference between the UK and the US could be. Oh yes the fact that you let every loony and criminal arm themselves to the teeth with cheap firearms. The fact that this is not even mentioned as a possibly significant issue in the article kinda shows that the entire study is worthless. Or is the idea here that controlling fictional materials in which guns play a role is somehow more politically practical than controlling actual guns?

You can tell that its a fit up job in the first sentence "After reviewing more than 50 years of research on the impact of violence in the media,". In other words this is not an objective study, its a fishing expedition through existing research. Lets take a look at his bibliography [umich.edu] . Does not exactly look like the guy is a disinterested party here.

Sure lets talk about controlling violent video games, right after the US adopts the UK gun control laws.

Re:Get thee away from me (4, Funny)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511675)

Hey, don't make light of this. My brother once inhaled a Battlefront 2 Disk. It was awful. I don't even want to talk about it.

Re:Get thee away from me (1, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511711)

The correct form of the joke is, "That's not funny, my brother died that way."

WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?!???!? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21511627)

Please society, protect my children. It takes a village, because I am the village idiot.

How dare they say violent games are bad! (4, Funny)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511639)

They have no right! I'LL KILL THEM ALL!

No, wait...

Re:How dare they say violent games are bad! (1)

fohat (168135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511669)

You're right you know. The potential for violence exists in the whole human race. Therefore we must all exterminate ExterminATE EXTERMINATE!!!

Re:How dare they say violent games are bad! (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512063)

Yeah, I'm gonna get these guys who say that video games teach people violence. I'm gonna kick a turtle shell at them and then jump on their heads. That'll show 'em.

3rd post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21511645)

3rd post! Weeh!

correlation != causation (4, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511651)

How does this work with the decline in violent crimes through the 90s? How come they don't address the issue that those who were going to commit violence anyway are going to gravitate towards violent games and media? This isn't even original research, just research into the research that's been done. This doesn't add up very well at all.

Re:correlation != causation (2)

section321a (848754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511731)

Didn't you read Freakonomics?

The decline in violent crime in the late '80s and '90s correlates with the legalization of abortion. Fewer unwanted children, fewer violent criminals, or so the hypothesis goes.

Read the book. Its great.

Re:correlation != causation (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21511791)

It also correlates to the decrease in lead in the environment as leaded petrol is phased out. Less lead-poisoned brains, less stupid violent behaviour. Unfortunately, the baby boomers in positions of power today are lead-addled. It'll be another 20 years before rather less lead-retarded people are in power.

Re:correlation != causation (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511945)

So that's why my parent's generation tends to strike me as somewhat childish and naïve!

Re:correlation != causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21512159)

So that's why my parent's generation tends to strike me as somewhat childish and naïve!

Nah, teenagers have always felt that way, it's part of growing up and getting ready to leave the nest. Now if you come back and tell me you're not a teenager I'm going to start worrying about your developmental progress. Still if 40 is the new 30 I guess 24 is the new 13.

Re:correlation != causation (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512031)

Less lead-poisoned brains, less stupid violent behaviour.

Except that's not the way it works. The tiny amount of lead in leaded petrol mostly deposited out on the inside of the exhaust pipe. The seriously tiny amount of lead carbonate that made its way out into the atmosphere was largely inert in living things.

On the other hand, the nasty cocktail of lethal chemicals used to replace tetraethyl lead cause all kinds of cancers and birth defects. Lovely.

Unleaded petrol has been the single biggest ecological disaster to hit us. The *only* reason the air is any cleaner since its introduction is because car engines need to run extremely efficiently for the catastrophic converter to work at all - a car with a lambda sensor and no cat is just about as clean as a car with a cat.

Re:correlation != causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21511765)

I guess you've never heard of a meta-analysis?

Re:correlation != causation (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511773)

How does this work with the decline in violent crimes through the 90s? How come they don't address the issue that those who were going to commit violence anyway are going to gravitate towards violent games and media? This isn't even original research, just research into the research that's been done. This doesn't add up very well at all.

It's all quite simple. Back in the early days of developing violent criminal technology there was small reward for the risk. Penalties were harsh, rewards not often worth the effort. Now you can rob people in games, beat them up, set boobie traps for them and kill them. Not much of a penalty for getting caught, you just started over or used up a 'life'. Appreciation for the reward of games is considerable, lookit all the gaming blogs, ffs! As for stealing, go on the internet and phish, no guns, law enforcement slow to catch up, etc.

How about... (1)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511861)

How about if you go and read the damn research before trotting out the standard criticisms that everybody trots out who dislikes the conclusions of a study that they did not read? These standard criticisms include, but are not necessarily limited, to the following:
  1. "The newspaper article I'm reading doesn't mention a really obvious statistical variable that could influence this result, so I'm very conveniently going to assume that the study did not take the utterly trivial statistical care to control for this variable."
  2. "Correlation doesn't imply causation. And since the statistical methods that scientists use to judge the significance of data to alternative hypothesis can only establish correlations, by the magic of double standards and selective application of the aforementioned maxim, I can always disbelieve exactly those results that I wished to disbelieve beforehand anyway."

Re:How about... (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512041)

Actually, I did RTFA and it doesn't change the fact that those are valid criticisms of the research. Everyone also says we breathe air, but it doesn't make the statement less valid. With the ethical standards that they have to live up to when dealing with humans, how did they eliminate these possibly-confounding variables? Do you have anything that actually contradicts those criticisms other than, "hey, everyone always says that"?

Lead levels in gasoline (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511905)

How does this work with the decline in violent crimes through the 90s?

There is some research to indicate that the drop in crime was possibly due to lower lead levels through the usage of unleaded gasoline. Article here. [washingtonpost.com] Graphic here. [washingtonpost.com]

Re:correlation != causation (1)

lupine (100665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511971)

Perhaps legalizing abortion led to less children who were unwanted, less children being babysat by tv and video games might lead to less crime.... Abortion was legalized in 1973.
- freakonomics [freakonomicsbook.com]

Re:correlation != causation (1)

Anonymous Curmudgeon (146746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511985)

Since the only numbers provided in the article were alarmist figures on the current number of kids exposed to video games and violent media (which might be part of the data, but certainly aren't part of the study results), it's a bit difficult to tell what they were looking at with this research. Without some concrete information, this is just a piece of unsupported propaganda.

Re:correlation != causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21512021)

How does this work with the decline in violent crimes through the 90s?

What makes you think that this would be disconfirming evidence in any way? TFA (which, let us remember, is a newspaper summary of a study) says that exposure to violent media leads to increased aggressiveness; it doesn't say that it causes crime. The study as described compares the effects of this aggressiveness to the effects of smoking, which means that the comparison is being done in terms of health.

There are many ways increased aggressiveness can be detrimental to health. For example, more aggressive drivers may cause more accidents; more aggressive people may experience more stress, and cause more stress to others, and stress is known to be bad for health.

Again, we can't evaluate the study without looking at it (and possibly not even then, because we might lack requisite knowledge).

Urrgh (4, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512055)

How does this work with the decline in violent crimes through the 90s?

There is a common belief that the economic prosperity coincides with lower violent crime rates. Though regional influences tend to have more impact than national anything. Compare social/economic conditions in Detroit versus Silicon Valley in the 90's as an example.

those who were going to commit violence anyway

You've made up your mind on that one huh? If only social issues were so simple we could divide citizens into criminal and non-criminal pools at an early age and finally live in a utopia. Where do white collar criminals fit in your magic world? Kids who cheat at board games?

his isn't even original research, just research into the research that's been done.

Yes. It's called meta-study. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta-study [wikipedia.org]

There is nothing interesting about the parent's post.

Crazy talk (1)

JustinKSU (517405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511687)

Environment affecting behavior
Crazy talk!

Worth noting... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21511693)

It is worth noting that the "research" here consists of basing new views on long-term effects on old research in short-term effects. In other words, no actual new data has come in, and the data cannot be used to support the conclusions. Besides, it comes from known anti-gamers, often shown to be greatly biased in their "research".

Yep, I have to agree. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21511695)

It's like how my brother, a pediatrician for almost ten years, was turned into a savage beast forever by all those violent cartoons the TV networks earned a fortune from back when he was a kid.

I'm sure that he's probably poisoning all those little children.

Those who know what's best for us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21511713)

Must rise and save us from ourselves!

parents yes, society no (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21511721)

" it does not diminish the need for greater control on the part of parents and society of what children are exposed to in films, video games and television programs."

WTF does society have to do with this? if you dont want your kid watching scooby-doo because you think shaggys a bad role model, thats your idiotic problem. Please dont foist it on the rest of society, we have bigger fish to fry.

So tired of people trying to legislate good parenting.

My take (5, Insightful)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511735)

The problem isn't the violent games, or the violent TV shows, or even the violent peer-groups.

The problem is, quite simply, absent and detached parents.

My Solution (4, Interesting)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511871)

My Solution, by the way, is the Nintendo Wii (in part).

Right now, on the American Chart for November at VGChartz, the TOP THREE slots are occupied by family-friendly non-violent games: Super Mario Galaxy, Guitar Hero 3 for the 360, and Wii Sports.

Manhunt 2, the media's punching bag for Hyper-Violent Video Game Paranoia, is only ranked *41st* (and that's just the sales for the top platform, PS2). For every one unit of Manhunt 2 sold for the PS2, approximately 9 units of XBox 360 Guitar Hero 3 are sold. For every one unit of Manhunt 2 sold for the Wii, approximately 20 units of Super Mario Galaxy are sold (think about it: Manhunt 2 Wii has been out for 4 weeks, SMG has only been out for 2 weeks).

If this trend continues, the entire argument against hyper-violent games will be moot, because they will be relegated to the niche market of 17+-year-old males. The younger kids don't seem to care any more. And that's the way it should be.

But, all that said, the most important thing is for parents to A) be more involved in their children's lives, and B) read the ****ing box before buying a game. It has the rating right on there!

Re:My Solution (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511969)

Did you know that disco record sales were up 400% for the year ending 1976?
If these trends continue... /DiscoStu

Re:My Solution (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512007)

I welcome your fallacious argument with open arms ... at 11 and 5 O'Clock. Oh yeah. Disco Stu likes to Booga-Loo!

Re:My take (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21511897)

No. The problem isn't the violent games, or the violent TV shows. The problem is, quite simply, violence. State sanctioned, approved, for profit violence. We run a multi-billion dollar arms industry. We wage wars on unarmed civillians. We murder people in prisons. We torture. We give guns and other lethal weapons to cops. We base the entire fabric of our society on it. Violence is our God. We kneel down and fucking pray to it.

Then we turn around and say, hey..that's bad!

Re:My take (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511939)

That's a fair point. All the people who get their panties in a knot over video game violence would be better-serving The Greater Good if they dedicated their time to confronting the warmongers of our world.

Although it would be best to avoid using guns or rocks for those confrontations; that would send a mixed message.

Re:My take (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511943)

Wrong.
Well, yes that would be a problem, but it is too simple.
I am active in my kids lives, but I do not control the 500+ other kids they go to school with, and as they get older they will spend less time with me. Right now they can do a lot of stuff, like being around me, and like to help. I have no doubt that will change when they become teens. Thinking about that day makes me sad, but happy for them, and it scares the hell out of me late at night.

Re:My take (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511979)

Schools with 500+ kids are another part of the same complex problem. Especially when it comes to teacher-to-student ratios.

Re:My take (2, Interesting)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511999)

Xbox live is a great example of parents using modern technology to babysit their children. The meanest people on Xbox live are the kids. Sometimes you even get to hear the kids yelling at the parents about what food they want them to pick up, while they play games. Man we don't even have time for a fast food dinner these days.

Re:My take (1)

SpiderClan (1195655) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512099)

The findings, which are reported in the Journal of Adolescent Health, support earlier research which showed that children who watch violent television shows and who identify with the characters and believe they are real are more likely to be aggressive as adults.
In other words, kids whose parents don't teach them about reality tend to be influenced by the media. No kidding.

The "study" is silly. (4, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511745)

They basically came to a conclusion based on reviewing studies. There's no clear indication whether the studies were cherry-picked for one reason or another (like, say, anti-video game being a safe bandwagon to appeal for funding). There's also the question of whether the studies that they read were conducted scientifically.

So what they're saying... (5, Insightful)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511767)

...is that violent video games kill 440,000 Americans every year [wrongdiagnosis.com] ?

Because wow, I'd have quit playing video games long ago if I knew that they had a 1 in 2 chance of killing me [wrongdiagnosis.com] .

I suppose the other (albeit less likely) possibility is that this respectable and unbiased researcher may have accidentally used hyperbole in an accidental attempt to drum up fear in support of his findings... And in all fairness, he technically says that smoking is a "slightly larger" danger, so maybe violent media only turns 45% of its viewers into murderers.

Re:So what they're saying... (3, Funny)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511983)

I would think the risk was much higher than that: I died five times just playing the last map in Episode 2.

Re:So what they're saying... (1)

jmdc (1152611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512127)

Yeah, and in his accidental fit of hyperbole, he "forgot" about AIDS, heroin addiction, drunk driving, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

d

Re:So what they're saying... (1)

fbartho (840012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512153)

What I like from your link is the following quote:

Death statistics for Smoking: The following are statistics from various sources about deaths and Smoking:

        * Death rate is 2-3 times higher than non-smokers
What the heck does that even mean? People who smoke die 2-3 times more often? Is this like one of your replies a dying more than once type deal? What the heck?

'Almost' as Dangerous (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511785)

I guess 'passive' exposure to Second-hand Gaming just bores you to death.

What, are they (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511793)

smokin' something?

Doomed! (2, Insightful)

Takichi (1053302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511797)

Society is doomed. DOOMED!

children who watch violent television shows and who identify with the characters and believe they are real are more likely to be aggressive as adults
(from the article, emphasis mine)

Oh, wait... So only the crazy people will become crazy.

Re:Doomed! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511875)

No. Young children, even when told otherwise, will believe the characters they identify with are real. That is normal.

Re:Doomed! (1)

satoshi1 (794000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512005)

And most of 'em grow out of it by the time they hit their teenage years. Crisis averted.

Re:Doomed! (1)

Takichi (1053302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512037)

Just how young are you talking about? The article doesn't give any data, and neither did you. From my experience, kids that are into violent games are old enough to realise that they are not real.

Maybe some violence is healthy (1)

Bitter and Cynical (868116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511803)

I think a certain level of aggression is alright. How many successful CEO's are complete pushovers? Luckily [most] humans have the ability to make clear and rational decisions, i doubt that this will lead to some violence pandemic. So long as people are able to keep themselves in check, which i think most level headed person should be able to do, then perhaps there is a place for violence in society?

Shenanigans (1)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511807)

I'm calling shenanigans on this "research". Reading the article, it sounds like these researchers are not only full of shit, but have no idea what they're doing.

That is all.

Am I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21511819)

Am I the only one who considers a certain level of aggression to be a good thing? I am not the kind of person to hit someone, but when they hit me first, it seems only reasonable to return the favor. Would that be violence? Yes. A danger to society? Hardly.

I bet Karate Kid counts as a 'violent' movie. Won't somebody think of the children?

What has America come to? (1)

cythrawll (868585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511823)

There is nothing wrong with aggressive behavior... have we become so femanized?

violent behavior is what I would be concerned about.

at least... (1)

thelastquestion (1090169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511835)

they've not gone and completely blamed games only. Ol' boy Jack would have a field day with it then.

100% true (4, Funny)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511841)

There was this healthy guy I knew that started playing violent games and he got lung cancer!

Think of all those dangerous chemicals that are in games. They should be illegal!

Re:100% true (1)

tristian_was_here (865394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512123)

I have been hooked for years, I cant give it up, I usually do 40 frags a day!

Re:100% true (1)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512147)

No kidding. Hitler must have been into video games. And I hear Stalin was a pro at Tetris.

That explains many things (1, Insightful)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511859)

Like the millions murdered under Stalin
The >.5 million in Darfur
The >.5 million in Rwanda
1 million Armenians under the Turks ... ... ...

Oh wait, they didn't have video games...

oh yes (1)

oha! (tm) (1195141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511863)

and smoking while exposing yourself to virtual violence boosts the effect and gets you into a evil-vortex-loop that makes you metamorphose into saddam hussein.. veridic, i have seen this on my friends!

The only reason smoking is worse (1)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511867)

.. is because it makes you cool. unlike videogames.

Maybe, but do they kill you? (1)

StickyWidget (741415) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511883)

Let's see, smoking increases the risk of death. Video games increase the risk of aggression.

Hmm. Smoking, attributable as a direct cause to around 500,000 deaths a year. Video games, attributable as a direct cause to around...none. Well, maybe a few, I'm sure somebody choked on one at some point or tripped over some cables.

So if smoking is #1 and video games are #2, what is #3? Terrorists?

~Sticky
/Ridiculous

Re:Maybe, but do they kill you? (1)

satoshi1 (794000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512071)

Well, based on the rates of death between the first and second items, I'd have to say that the third one is fluffy bunnies.

Genius (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511887)

If this in some way results in getting the 12 year olds off of my online games, I'm all for it.

ridiculous (1)

mrsalty (104200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511899)

These reports come out every couple of years and really piss me off to no end. I would like to kick that researchers ass, but instead i will have to settle for playing Resident Evil 4.

Re:ridiculous (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512023)

Or, you know, you could read the mans research. Maybe even attempt to understand what he is saying.

Based on the data, there are some strong indicators that this is true. You may not like it, but research outcomes are not obligated to be what you like. He is NOT SAYING that video game will make people clime a water tower and start sniping...in the real world.
He is saying that the tendency is there.

I have been playing video games for as long as they have been available. I certain wish there to be no correlation. TO say video games has no effect on people is wrong. Just watch people play a game.

This makes me so ANGRY! (1)

Vthornheart (745224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511909)

The person who wrote this report better shut up or I'll kill him and air hump over his corpse in front of all my friends!
/sarcasm

Re:This makes me so ANGRY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21512013)

Airhump! That is fucking hilarious.

"Come On!"

how can you campare smoking to video games? (1)

Kinobi (159344) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511911)

I'd like to see the actual study to see how they can possibly do this comparison. Frankly, it makes no sense what so ever, unless smoking causes violence (along with video games) or video games cause lung cancer. These "news" articles say that video games are as great a threat as smoking. WTF does that mean? Threat to whom and why? Pure FUD. I don't see why this was even posted.

While we are at it... (3, Insightful)

ArcadeNut (85398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511917)

Might as well get rid of:

G.I. Joe
Army Men
Toy Guns
Sports (Football, Hockey, etc..)

and the list goes on...

Re:While we are at it... (2, Insightful)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512069)

War

Oh wait. [americasarmy.com] That violence is ok.

Dude! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21512173)

STFU! They didn't know about those yet!
 
Ugh.

wait.. (1)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511933)

was the control group a group of people who played non-violent video games at the same addiction level as violent video games?

If not, the test is invalid.

A$$ Shank (1)

Mutagenic (1105159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511951)

As soon as im done with assassins creed i will have the skills to shank him in his A$$...but then again Mass Effect is waiting

Video games almost as dangerous as smoking... (1)

Mode_Locrian (1130249) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511963)

...for sufficiently broad values of 'almost'.

What are these people smoking? (1)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21511967)

I'm sorry, but what society are we talking about here that's threatened by violent video games?

Is it the society that was built on a series of bloody wars? Is it the society that put the right to carry a gun in its constitution? Is it the society that has glorified war and violence in print, audio, and video media since its inception? In what way are violent video games a threat to a society that is engaged in two wars at once and gearing up for a third? Surely violent video games aren't a serious threat in a society where young men are shot in the street and then blamed by authorities for being "in the wrong place at the wrong time"? Such a society must have better things to spend time and money on.

How do you even begin to equate exposure to violent imagery with smoking cigarettes? Do violent images make it difficult for people to breathe? Do they clog your lungs? Do carcinogenic particles emitted by video games disrupt cellular activity? Do people wake up in the morning feeling sick because they haven't seen a violent image since the night before?

A Few Statistics From A Slightly Better Article (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21511977)

The linked article is pretty light on details, so here's a more detailed writeup from the local paper. Posted anonymously to avoid karma whoring. From the Ann Arbor News [mlive.com]

Exposure to violent movies, television shows and video games significantly increases the risk that the viewer or player will behave aggressively in both the long and short term, according to a new University of Michigan study published Tuesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

A link is seen among children who were in the upper quartile on violence viewing in middle childhood, 15 years later:

- 11 percent of males had been convicted of a crime, compared with 3 percent for other males.

- 42 percent of males had "pushed, grabbed or shoved their spouse" in the past year, compared with 22 percent of other males.

- 39 percent of females had "thrown something at their spouse" in the past year, compared with 17 percent of other females.

- 17 percent of females had "punched, beaten, or choked" another adult when angry in the past year, compared with 4 percent of other females.

Source: "The Impact of Electronic Media Violence: Scientific Theory and Research," by University of Michigan professor L. Rowell Huesmann.

It's a topic that has been debated extensively, but this is one of the first studies that shows the relation between viewing media violence and real criminal behavior, according to the study's author, L. Rowell Huesmann, a senior research scientist at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

"This is the first study that shows a relation between childhood exposure to violent TV, playing violent video games, seeing violent movies, and behaving violently enough to be incarcerated as a delinquent," said Huesmann, a professor of communication studies and psychology.

Huesmann and his team followed a group of children for three years as they moved through middle childhood. They found increasing rates of aggression for both boys and girls who watched more television violence, even when taking into account initial aggressive tendencies and other background factors. A 15-year follow-up of those children showed that those who habitually watched violent media grew up to be more aggressive young adults.

Huesmann also cited many independent studies and experiments with similar results, stating that the majority of one-shot survey studies have shown that children who watch more media violence on a daily basis behave more aggressively on a daily basis.

In another experiment cited, both children and adults who watched a violent movie showed significantly more aggression than the children and adults who watched a nonviolent movie when playing a physical game immediately after watching the films.

Video games were also addressed in the study, although experiments involving exposure to violent games are not as extensive or long-term.

"Because players of violent video games are not just observers but also 'active' participants in violent actions and are generally reinforced for using violence to gain desired goals, the effects on stimulating long-term increases in violent behavior should be even greater for video games than for TV, movies or Internet displays of violence," Huesmann wrote in the study.

Hmm... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512001)

Number of World Wars BEFORE video games: 2
Number of World Wars AFTER video games: 0
Fluff "findings" generating more "research" funding: Priceless.

Bias is obvious (3, Informative)

devjj (956776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512009)

FTFA:

"Exposure to violent electronic media has a larger effect than all but one other well known threat to public health. The only effect slightly larger than the effect of media violence on aggression is that of cigarette smoking on lung cancer" (emphasis mine)

You can chalk it up to semantics, but it sure sounds like these guys went into the study assuming that violent media was already a threat. They set out to measure the "how much," completely bypassing "if" as though it were a moot point.

Ars Technica has a great article on this here [arstechnica.com] .

Why not (4, Insightful)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512043)

Everyone here seems to be strongly opposed to the idea that video game violence may be related to violent behavior.

However, it seems pretty clear to me that it must in some form. Play throughout the animal kingdom is basically simulation training. We play to unintentionally practice skills. Video games that involve explicit simulation of violence must be exercising something related to violent behavior. I'm not saying a video game "causes" a kid to do something violent or that parenting and personality don't interact, but it seems inconceivable to me that it has no effect.

Re:Why not (1)

devjj (956776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512107)

Again, it's an issue of semantics. I don't think that anyone is denying that video game violence may have some effect. The question is whether or not that effect is to increase the likelihood of violent activity, and if so, by how much. Couple that with the vague-at-best definition of "aggression" and there's plenty of room to criticize this study.

Scapegoating Games -The Real Cause (0)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512057)

CONCEPT:
People are naturally violent and aggressive. It is built in.
or
People are naturally non-violent and non-aggressive. It is built in.

I credit evolutionary development as the REAL Cause and take notice that violent and aggressive creatures (humans) tend to live (to fight another day) AND REPRODUCE following an encounter with non-violent and non-aggressive creatures (humans) on a level playing field. Repeat this cycle for THOUSANDS OF YEARS and we have today the evolutionary results.
I do not believe humans are genetically, emotionally, instinctual, or otherwise evolved to be pacifists. Those poor creatures died out eons ago from all our ancestors killing them and taking their stuff. (land, food, resources, etc..)
Some believe that violence and aggression are LEARNED. These people are entitled to their opinions but they probably have not really looked the real history of human evolution. Warfare, violence, aggression, etc.. ARE Selected-For traits.
It is no surprise the human brain takes so much pleasure playing violent video games... Now back to playing my VIOLENT new FPS!

what's wrong with being aggressive? (1)

rocko76 (1195657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512061)

Seriously... if you look closely, nothing in the ever said that there was a link to -violent- behavior, although the slant certainly tries to get one to think that way. IMHO aggressive behavior != violent behavior and is not necessarily a bad thing, in and of itself. I suppose being a bunch of sheep that meekly go where we are herded is something to be applauded in today's society?

Evidence of causation (1)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512065)

I found a few more details in the press release [umich.edu] .

As others have pointed out, the causation may be that those with some predisposition to violence are more attracted to violent TV programs and games. Some evidence for that is actually in the press release itself:

When the children in the Columbia County study were eight years old, the most violent shows on television were "Gunsmoke" and "77 Sunset Strip." Even so, the study found large effects of heavy viewing of violence ten years later.

Since those programs are not very violent by more recent standards it shows that the absolute level of violence in the viewed programs is not the crucial factor. Instead the relative level of violence is. Someone who only watched "Gunsmoke" today would not turn out to be very violent, while someone who watched it back when it was the most violent thing available would. That means that the content of Gunsmoke is not a cause of anything.

The explanation that fits these facts the most is that watching violence on TV is an indicator, not a cause.

No game is as dangerous as. . . (1)

dank zappingly (975064) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512121)

Wii Sports. I have a smallish living room and my girlfriend cracked me in the head the other day during a heated match of tennis.

How about this? (3, Interesting)

MikShapi (681808) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512131)

Conduct the same study in any developed country other than the USA (or it's mentality look-alike, Canada).
Try any European country, Australia or NZ, Japan or other Asian countries. Preferably, try several.

THEN Draw your game use vs violence correlations, and see if what's making US kids violent is games, or a mentality that doesn't equip them with the tools required to cope with mature content.

THEN we'll talk. How I love it when American lobbyist groups oversimplify an issue so an uninformed public can be made even more misinformed. Go America.

unless it causes cancer (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512167)

then no it is not. It is just plain stupid to even compare the two.

When did acedemia start being a bunch of attention whores?

Orly? (1)

Bellum Aeternus (891584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512171)

I've killed more than a thousand virtual characters in PVP over the years (read: WoW and/or EVE) and I'm one of the most patient and non-hostile people I know. Hell, even in PVP I don't get all hyped up and psycho like some of those kids do... I just mute them and keep shooting them. ;-)

Doctrine: Flexibility (1)

SMACX guy (1003684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512179)

He held his arm too stiffly, and so was thrown back repeatedly, until at last I seized his forearm and snapped it back against itself. His training suffered while the arm healed, of course, but I felt this was a lesson he must learn early, and well.
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