S/O - Violent Video Games

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AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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S/O - Violent Video Games

Something in the other thread brought this to mind.

Do you think the very violent video games contribute to the gun problems that we have in America? At Thanksgiving I watched my 9 year old nephew play hour after hour of video games where the whole point was to shoot as many people as possible. Do you think that raises the risk that these kids will grow up thinking it is ok to shoot people?

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

I think I would never let my 9 year old play such a game, or watch somebody else playing that game.

My dh likes to play violent video games. I can't even be in the same room bc I find them so gruesome. But I don't think it makes him violent. I think they are fine in moderation for adults. There is a rating system in place, I just don't think people adhere to it like we do.

But no. In general, I don't think video games are to blame for our violent culture. They are a symptom of the culture, but not the cause of it.

Joined: 08/17/04
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I agree. I don't think that video games lead to our violent culture.

I do think violent games and movies can be a trigger for a person who is not mentally stable and already prone to violence.

I think it's horrible that they let him play that. I want to maintain my children's innocence for as long as possible and do not understand introducing these games so early.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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"Jessica80" wrote:

I think it's horrible that they let him play that. I want to maintain my children's innocence for as long as possible and do not understand introducing these games so early.

I also think it was horrible. It was very difficult to keep my girls out of the room each time that he played. I was thankful that we slept at a different house because I know that he played them until 3 or 4 in the AM each day. I do not see how that much violence could not effect someone.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

I think violent video games can exacerbate an existing problem. I don't think they are a major cause of today's violence, just an easy scapegoat.

We don't buy violent video games in my house. I know Aodhan has been exposed to them at his friends houses though. Its stuff we talk about a lot and I try to emphasize the value of human life regularly and the differences between fiction and reality. What happens in video games is far from the primary message that my kids get.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4115

If that were true you would expect gun violence to be going up not down, since the amount of kids playing these games is going up.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

If that were true you would expect gun violence to be going up not down, since the amount of kids playing these games is going up.

Gloria, do you not think gun violence is going up? I do not remember any mass shootings as a kid.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Yep, I absolutely think that they can play a part in increasing a persons violent tendencies. They desensitize us as humans, IMO. We don't play them at all nor do our children. I have strong feelings on this one Smile But I've been down this road.

And frankly any child up playing video games until 3 or 4 am is ridic, violent or not.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

I want to also say that Aodhan is 9 and we are serious outlyers on this one. Every single friend that my son has, has these games at home.

I have to say, while its not the path I've chosen....all of these kids are such polite, well adjusted friendly little kids, they don't seem violent at all, don't get in trouble at school and have never shown me any sort of behavior that concerns me. I don't know how much their time playing video games is limited to.

I have two nephews who played these games incessantly (too much for my personal taste, of any type of video games), they aren't even remotely close to violent people, now in their late teens and early twenties. I worry more about how much the video game time has affected their ability to concentrate or get exercise...and just the general screen time woes than i do about them being violent.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4115

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Gloria, do you not think gun violence is going up? I do not remember any mass shootings as a kid.

No its not. That is just media perception. I posted the stats in the other thread. Gun violence is DECREASING.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

If that were true you would expect gun violence to be going up not down, since the amount of kids playing these games is going up.

If violent video games were the *only* factor that affects gun violence, this message would make sense. But since its not, you cannot use it as proof that they don't have an effect.

Joined: 05/31/06
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[h=2]Violent Video Games: Myths, Facts, and Unanswered Questions[/h]Studies provide converging evidence that exposure to media violence is a significant risk factor for aggressive and violent behavior.
By Craig A. Anderson, PhDAfter 40+ years of research, one might think that debate about media violence effects would be over. An historical examination of the research reveals that debate concerning whether such exposure is a significant risk factor for aggressive and violent behavior should have been over years ago (Bushman & Anderson, 2001). Four types of media violence studies provide converging evidence of such effects: laboratory experiments, field experiments, cross-sectional correlation studies, and longitudinal studies (Anderson & Bushman, 2002a; Bushman & Huesmann, 2000). But the development of a new genre-electronic video games-reinvigorated the debate.
Two features of video games fuel renewed interest by researchers, public policy makers, and the general public. First, the active role required by video games is a double-edged sword. It helps educational video games be excellent teaching tools for motivational and learning process reasons. But, it also may make violent video games even more hazardous than violent television or cinema. Second, the arrival of a new generation of ultraviolent video games beginning in the early 1990s and continuing unabated to the present resulted in large numbers of children and youths actively participating in entertainment violence that went way beyond anything available to them on television or in movies. Recent video games reward players for killing innocent bystanders, police, and prostitutes, using a wide range of weapons including guns, knives, flame throwers, swords, baseball bats, cars, hands, and feet. Some include cut scenes (i.e., brief movie clips supposedly designed to move the story forward) of strippers. In some, the player assumes the role of hero, whereas in others the player is a criminal.
The new debate frequently generates more heat than light. Many criticisms are simply recycled myths from earlier media violence debates, myths that have been repeatedly debunked on theoretical and empirical grounds. Valid weaknesses have also been identified (and often corrected) by media violence researchers themselves. Although the violent video game literature is still relatively new and small, we have learned a lot about their effects and have successfully answered several key questions. So, what is myth and what do we know?
Myths and Facts
Myth 1. Violent video game research has yielded very mixed results.
Facts: Some studies have yielded nonsignificant video game effects, just as some smoking studies failed to find a significant link to lung cancer. But when one combines all relevant empirical studies using meta-analytic techniques, five separate effects emerge with considerable consistency. Violent video games are significantly associated with: increased aggressive behavior, thoughts, and affect; increased physiological arousal; and decreased prosocial (helping) behavior. Average effect sizes for experimental studies (which help establish causality) and correlational studies (which allow examination of serious violent behavior) appear comparable (Anderson & Bushman, 2001).
Myth 2. The studies that find significant effects are the weakest methodologically.
Facts: Methodologically stronger studies have yielded the largest effects (Anderson, in press). Thus, earlier effect size estimates -based on all video game studies- probably underestimate the actual effect sizes.
Myth 3. Laboratory experiments are irrelevant (trivial measures, demand characteristics, lack external validity).
Facts: Arguments against laboratory experiments in behavioral sciences have been successfully debunked many times by numerous researchers over the years. Specific examinations of such issues in the aggression domain have consistently found evidence of high external validity. For example, variables known to influence real world aggression and violence have the same effects on laboratory measures of aggression (Anderson & Bushman, 1997).
Myth 4. Field experiments are irrelevant (aggression measures based either on direct imitation of video game behaviors (e.g., karate kicks) or are normal play behaviors.
Facts: Some field experiments have used behaviors such as biting, pinching, hitting, pushing, and pulling hair, behaviors that were not modeled in the game. The fact that these aggressive behaviors occur in natural environments does not make them "normal" play behavior, but it does increase the face validity (and some would argue the external validity) of the measures.
Myth 5. Correlational studies are irrelevant.
Facts: The overly simplistic mantra, "Correlation is not causation," is useful when teaching introductory students the risks in too-readily drawing causal conclusions from a simple empirical correlation between two measured variables. However, correlational studies are routinely used in modern science to test theories that are inherently causal. Whole scientific fields are based on correlational data (e.g., astronomy). Well conducted correlational studies provide opportunities for theory falsification. They allow examination of serious acts of aggression that would be unethical to study in experimental contexts. They allow for statistical controls of plausible alternative explanations.
Myth 6. There are no studies linking violent video game play to serious aggression.
Facts: High levels of violent video game exposure have been linked to delinquency, fighting at school and during free play periods, and violent criminal behavior (e.g., self-reported assault, robbery).
Myth 7. Violent video games affect only a small fraction of players.
Facts: Though there are good theoretical reasons to expect some populations to be more susceptible to violent video game effects than others, the research literature has not yet substantiated this. That is, there is not consistent evidence for the claim that younger children are more negatively affected than adolescents or young adults or that males are more affected than females. There is some evidence that highly aggressive individuals are more affected than nonaggressive individuals, but this finding does not consistently occur. Even nonaggressive individuals are consistently affected by brief exposures. Further research will likely find some significant moderators of violent video game effects, because the much larger research literature on television violence has found such effects and the underlying processes are the same. However, even that larger literature has not identified a sizeable population that is totally immune to negative effects of media violence.
Myth 8. Unrealistic video game violence is completely safe for adolescents and older youths.
Facts: Cartoonish and fantasy violence is often perceived (incorrectly) by parents and public policy makers as safe even for children. However, experimental studies with college students have consistently found increased aggression after exposure to clearly unrealistic and fantasy violent video games. Indeed, at least one recent study found significant increases in aggression by college students after playing E-rated (suitable for everyone) violent video games.
Myth 9. The effects of violent video games are trivially small.
Facts: Meta-analyses reveal that violent video game effect sizes are larger than the effect of second hand tobacco smoke on lung cancer, the effect of lead exposure to I.Q. scores in children, and calcium intake on bone mass. Furthermore, the fact that so many youths are exposed to such high levels of video game violence further increases the societal costs of this risk factor (Rosenthal, 1986).
Myth 10. Arousal, not violent content, accounts for video game induced increases in aggression.
Facts: Arousal cannot explain the results of most correlational studies because the measured aggression did not occur immediately after the violent video games were played. Furthermore, several experimental studies have controlled potential arousal effects, and still yielded more aggression by those who played the violent game.
Myth 11. If violent video games cause increases in aggression, violent crime rates in the U.S. would be increasing instead of decreasing.
Facts: Three assumptions must all be true for this myth to be valid: Angel exposure to violent media (including video games) is increasing; (b) youth violent crime rates are decreasing; (c) video game violence is the only (or the primary) factor contributing to societal violence. The first assumption is probably true. The second is not true, as reported by the 2001 Report of the Surgeon General on Youth Violence (Figure 2-7, p. 25). The third is clearly untrue. Media violence is only one of many factors that contribute to societal violence and is certainly not the most important one. Media violence researchers have repeatedly noted this.
Theory

One frequently overlooked factor in this debate is the role of scientific theory. Pure empirical facts often have relatively little meaning and are seldom convincing. When those same facts fit a broader theory, especially one that has been tested in other contexts, those facts become more understandable and convincing. Recent years have seen considerable progress in basic theoretical models of human aggression (for recent integrations see Anderson & Bushman, 2002b; Anderson & Huesmann, in press; Anderson & Carnagey, in press).
Most such models take a social cognitive view of human aggression, integrating social learning theory, advances in cognitive psychology, script theory, developmental theories, and biological influences. Using such general models, media violence scholars now have a clear picture of how media violence increases aggression in short and long term contexts. Immediately after exposure to media violence, there is an increase in aggressive behavior tendencies because of several factors. 1. Aggressive thoughts increase, which in turn increase the likelihood that a mild or ambiguous provocation will be interpreted in a hostile fashion. 2. Aggressive affect increases. 3. General arousal (e.g., heart rate) increases, which tends to increase the dominant behavioral tendency. 4. Direct imitation of recently observed aggressive behaviors sometimes occurs.
Repeated media violence exposure increases aggression across the lifespan because of several related factors. 1. It creates more positive attitudes, beliefs, and expectations regarding use of aggressive solutions. 2. It creates aggressive behavioral scripts and makes them more cognitively accessible. 3. It decreases the accessibility of nonviolent scripts. 4. It decreases the normal negative emotional reactions to conflict, aggression, and violence.
Unanswered Questions

Several major gaps remain in the violent video game literature. One especially large gap is the lack of longitudinal studies testing the link between habitual violent video game exposure and later aggression, while controlling for earlier levels of aggression and other risk factors. Indeed, of the four major types of empirical studies mentioned earlier, this is the only type missing. There are such studies focusing on television violence but none on video games.
Another gap concerns potential differences in effect sizes of television versus video game violence. There are theoretical reasons to believe that violent video game effects may prove larger, primarily because of the active and repetitive learning aspects of video games. However, this is a very difficult question to investigate, especially with experimental designs. How does one select violent video game and television stimuli that are matched on other dimensions? On what dimensions should they be equivalent? Number of bodies? Amount of blood and gore? Realism of the images? There are a couple of unpublished correlational studies that have compared the effects of television and video game violence on aggression, using comparable measures of violence exposure. Both yielded results suggesting a larger effect of video game violence. But the issue is not settled.
Finally, more research is needed to: Angel refine emerging general models of human aggression; (b) delineate the processes underlying short and long term media violence effects; (c) broaden these models to encompass aggression at the level of subcultures and nations. Several different research groups around the world are working on these various issues.

Myth #11 is for you, Gloria Smile

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

We do not allow violent video games, but for the most part the only video games we play are the Wii dance games or other wii games that are also exercise.

I do think there is a link though to excessive video games and an unhealthy metal state. When kids play for hours a day or into the night (3 or 4 am for a 9 year old is so crazy to me) and do not get the exercise or the interaction they need it lends itself to a whole host of other problems. I read a study the other day that adolescent boys need 8 hours a day of physical activity, there is no way they can get close to that with even an hour of screen time a day

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NM

Joined: 05/31/06
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It would be funny if they had the same access as Americans to guns. Without that giant elephant in the room, it just rings......well, not funny, because it is biased, you know? If anything, to me, it proves a point.

Joined: 08/17/04
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Really? You are missing the humor in it Melis? Come on.

Joined: 05/31/06
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I admit, I am. I love Canadians. They are just like AMericans. THey just don't mass murder one another frequently Smile I guess I'm too sensitive. I admit to having a really really hard time with this whole "incident" of killing kids like my kid still. Like, can't put my thoughts into words in my blog because it would just be a hot mess. So, I stipulate that it's probably just me being too raw and angry and hurt to see the funny in the dead kids yet.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

I definitely think it desensitizes people to violence. It seems too easy to just shoot someone with no consequence. I certainly would not let a 9 year old play one. We made DSD wait until she could show us the maturity to play and know that war and death are real things - not games.

Personally I am not a fan of them. All that gunfire gives me a headache.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

melis~I'm sorry if I offended that wasn't my intention. I wasn't trying to make light of the massacre at all.

I'm going to delete it as I don't want others to get that feeling as that was SOOOO not my intention and not what I took from it. Maybe I wasn't looking as deep into it.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
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"Potter75" wrote:

I admit, I am. I love Canadians. They are just like AMericans. THey just don't mass murder one another frequently Smile I guess I'm too sensitive. I admit to having a really really hard time with this whole "incident" of killing kids like my kid still. Like, can't put my thoughts into words in my blog because it would just be a hot mess. So, I stipulate that it's probably just me being too raw and angry and hurt to see the funny in the dead kids yet.

You know, there is plenty of violence up here. It just isn't gun violence. It tends to be more hands on than that. Fist fights are much more common.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

We own guns and go target shooting. We have used shooting games for hunting practice, as well as NERF (they shoot at machines). I will not probably ever allow a shooting game where they shoot people. Only time they need to train to do that is for Police or Military I think. It is better to be proficient in real guns, know how to use them and how NOT to use them. One rule we use, never point a gun at anything you don't want to kill. We sometimes draw "bad guns" on our targets, that is about as "graphic" as I will let it get. One can be a good shot without every playing them, and I do not want the violence in their minds. I do think what goes in does affect your mind. Whether it is abuse, or swearing, violence or porn..

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

"Rivergallery" wrote:

We own guns and go target shooting. We have used shooting games for hunting practice, as well as NERF (they shoot at machines). I will not probably ever allow a shooting game where they shoot people. Only time they need to train to do that is for Police or Military I think. It is better to be proficient in real guns, know how to use them and how NOT to use them. One rule we use, never point a gun at anything you don't want to kill. We sometimes draw "bad guns" on our targets, that is about as "graphic" as I will let it get. One can be a good shot without every playing them, and I do not want the violence in their minds. I do think what goes in does affect your mind. Whether it is abuse, or swearing, violence or porn..

Obviously children should not watch porn but in general, what is wrong with porn?

Joined: 05/31/06
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"Jessica80" wrote:

melis~I'm sorry if I offended that wasn't my intention. I wasn't trying to make light of the massacre at all.

I'm going to delete it as I don't want others to get that feeling as that was SOOOO not my intention and not what I took from it. Maybe I wasn't looking as deep into it.

No, you didn't offend. Honestly it's my fault, I'm truly just having a really hard time with this. I have a child who will turn 6 in two months, who I put on a bus every day, who I send to a school with the exact same entry system that Sandy Hook has. And I know that statistically he is very, very safe. And I think that the incident is one level of horror, but the fall out is somehow more harrowing to me ~ Like, in the wake of 911 I feel like our nation came together ~ yet somehow in the wake of this, I have seen more outrageous grandstanding and ugly sentiment than I thought possible (your post was NOTHING like this and is NOT what I am talking about) and it just rends my heart anew. I don't get it. I don't get how people can choose this moment to push their oftentimes unrelated agendas, and it just breaks my heart. It makes me wonder how I am raising my children in this country. Like Audra, I've started pushing my husband towards looking into international options within his company. I don't know that I want my children being raised amongst such a toxic and hateful culture. I apologize for debating a topic that is too raw for me, that truly I should not be debating as it is just too painful. To wit "It isn't you, it's me" Smile

smsturner's picture
Joined: 05/11/09
Posts: 1303

"mommytoMR.FACE" wrote:

Obviously children should not watch porn but in general, what is wrong with porn?

I have no idea where that came from either. I'm pretty sure porn will not turn kids into mass murderers... lol

I can't stand it personally. It's just not my preference. I don't think it contributes and makes people violent. I have known quite a few gamers that go for this, but none of them are violent people. It's totally fake and I'm pretty sure everyone who plays it knows that.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

Porn effects your mind.. Whether you watch Little House on the Praire all day or XXX there is a big difference. I am just pointing out everything you put in effect you.

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

"Potter75" wrote:

Like Audra, I've started pushing my husband towards looking into international options within his company.

Totally unrelated personal agenda.

I like this very much. Smile But only if you go to the right place!

smsturner's picture
Joined: 05/11/09
Posts: 1303

"Rivergallery" wrote:

Porn effects your mind.. Whether you watch Little House on the Praire all day or XXX there is a big difference. I am just pointing out everything you put in effect you.

How does it "affect your mind" exactly? In ways that are detrimental to society I mean?

Joined: 05/31/06
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"blather" wrote:

Totally unrelated personal agenda.

I like this very much. Smile But only if you go to the right place!

I just looked up their presence where you live and they do have a headquarters.....but not much in the way of defense business, obviously Smile I'm coming a lot closer to you in April if you want to meet me halfway!

Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680

"blather" wrote:

Totally unrelated personal agenda.

I like this very much. Smile But only if you go to the right place!

Yes totally OT but...

We actually already initiated this process and will move out of the country in the summer. My husband signed a contract last month. We want to slow down and enjoy our children and life. We want less stress- a whole lot of wants and less of the worry. Maybe we'll just be good after a while of a change of pace, change of everything. We may or may not come back, just depends.