Monday, November 10, 2008

Video Games and Violence

So last week the topic was sex and tv. This week it's video games and violence. This is my particular research area. In addition to teaching, i conduct experiments at the university looking at what elements in a game contribute to hostile feelings. I will leave my personal feelings and findings out of this post because i don't want to persuade the group. I noticed CNN posted this article last week. So what do you think about violent video games. Are they becoming too prevalent in society? Do they contribute to violence? Can we blame them for school shootings (as the media has done several times, especially at Columbine)? If they are a negative force for children, how do we combat that? Your thoughts please.


Kayla Roberts said...

I go both ways on this topic. I see these awful games they are coming out with and it's just gangs on the street riding around in there pimp cars and shooting people. That is terrible, I do not think they should have those. It is pointless and gruesome. I think that it might have a little to do with violence. When kids watch spiderman or batman they like to dress up and pretend they can fly and fight but it is just playing. When you get these awful video games kids might try to do all those things too.

I also think that it is more of how you are raised. I mean a good parent would know not to buy your kids those kind of video games. I can see buying them like army ones with shooting and stuff but not where just ride around town and kill people. If you get your kid a video game, you should sit them down and say this is not what you need to do in real life, tell them it's fake and fun for that tv only. I think they should just stick to the fun games like car racing, and hunting ducks like back in the old days. They were safe and fun. The Wii is a good little game though, I play it some and I have played anything violent on it. I'm sure they have violent stuff but just keep to the non-violent stuff. I just don't think a video game is the only thing that causes violence.

cheriem said...

I don't think that violent video games is most severe cause of acting out aggression. Some times video games are just an outlet from a very hectic lifestyle.
For me when I get home from work I either play Call of Duty or a puzzle game to take my mind off of work and issues of the world. That relaxes me. Also it provides time for son and myself together.
Sometimes we throw the football or play basketball. Our lives are not caught up in video games.

I have not seen my son become aggressive because of any of the video games which he plays. He understands that it is wrong to cause harm to others or mistreat them. That is a part of being a good parent and teaching them right from wrong. We talk about what occurs in the games and violent games are not the only ones he plays. He enjoys Madden Football and NCAA Football. His favorite team is Mississippi State.

Jamayel Smith said...

I feel that violent video games are an influence on young impressionable minds. Which is why the rate them accordingly to particular age groups. But at the same time parents have to step in and monitor their children activities. Just like peer pressure and other influences video games are not different it solely depends on the mental state of the child to act out what's in the video game.

I personally don't play video games so I rarely hear about the latest and new games coming out, therefore, I feel that they are not that prevalent today's society. And I don't blame video games for the violent shootings that have took place in the past. In order to combat the children that do take violent video games out of context, parents need to monitor their children and set moral standards and guidelines to eliminate the violence.

Mike Tullis said...

There is no way to accurately say that video games single-handedly contribute to increased violence. Behavior and characteristics of a personality are formed by a variety of factors in the environment. Yes, it is possible that combining violent video games with other negative stimuli in an environment that is already lacking in nurturing and guidance could make some people more likely to commit acts of violence. The problem arises from the inherent need of society to have an answer to everything that happens. The kid couldn't just be a bad child and showing warning signs for years that he was going to chop up his parents one day. It must have been the fact he was playing Manhunt for hours a day.

All that being said, I do think that there are ratings on games for a reason. Parents really should monitor the games that their children play. It happens all too often that Mom buys little Billy Hack n' Slash 4000 with the big M rating on the box just to shut him up when he's begging for it. The whole issue goes back to parenting. If you take five minutes to do a search on the games that your children want to play, you could possibly avoid watching them on TV in a bell tower picking off other students with the .50 cal they learned to shoot in Call of Duty 4.

Lynsee said...

I think that violent video games are what the person playing them wants to make of them. If you put an already mentally unstable person playing a violent video game for hours on end, then you probably could create a serial killer. A person who is already off balance is just looking for a little inspiration. Now is this true for every person with some type of mental health problem? NO. For some reason, certain people are more inclined to be influenced by something such as a video game.

I agree with others who have said that the amount of parental influence is also a determining factor. I personally love Grand Theft Auto (I am not biased, I love them all). My favorite part is not following the missions, it is riding around picking up hookers, having a little fun. Then when I kick them out of the car, I get out and kill them so I can steal all their money. Now am I going to do this is real life? Again, NO. I am 26 year old soccer mom of 2 with a tan minivan. However, I find this activity hilarious. Maybe I have a dark sense of humor, but it stops there. I think that is because my parents taught me that is not correct behavior. More parents need to do this too.

Rebekah said...

I think that the games do contribute to violence somewhat. Parents are also to blame for buying R rated games for underage kids. This type of game is too prevalent in society. I do not think that we can blame these games for school shootings.

I think that there are more factors that contribute to school shootings. The kid's mental health for one and parental involvement for another. These games however, are a negative force in childrens lives. The only way to combat this is to take these games off the shelves.

Torie Thacker said...

I believe that video games are becoming too violent. At first when violent games began getting big, I didn't believe that they influenced behavior. Now, I see so many children devoting their free time to video games that I believe video games may persuade them.

I think the only way that the negative force can be controlled is by the parent. Companies are still going to produce violent games because they sell but if parents do not buy their children the latest shooting game, then there should be no problem. I believe that children should be taught not to do what they see on television or on video games...that it isn't real.

I do believe that the games are becoming way too prevalent in society. I believe that the only way to keep their success from growing is to stop buying the games for your children.

Annie Bolduc said...

That is another subject that is hard to talk about without going on forever. I believe this is a two way issue here.

First of all, according to the research, there is a link between violence and violent video games. I think that the most important thing is that we need to stop blaming people that are creating the games or the games themselves. A parent that buys the game for his children is at the base of the problem. If the parent doesn't take the time to sit down with his kid, talk to them about reality vs. virtual world, then they shouldn't buy the games.

I honestly do not think that we can blame video games for school shootings. Shooters like the ones in Columbine have a lot more mental issues then just playing video games. They are people who need help and blaming video games is just trying to avoid the issue. Maybe it doesn't help the issue because I can see hoe a kid that played violent video games all of his life can be desensitize from violence. But it is also in the news everyday, in movies, on TV shows, at school etc. I guess it is just easier to point our finger to something as simple as video games. It makes people feel better and gives them something to complain about.

But honestly, I believe that there should be more screening when buying video games. If it is really a rated M game, then maybe the parent should not buy it for their children. It is a good way to start and try to make the issue less talked about.

STACIES77 said...

I believe that these horrid video games should be taken off of the shelves along with the movies that contain such violence! To me, there is absolutely no point for games like these to be allowed and it is my opinion that anyone who gets off on playing a game that is solely killing people for the fun of it like "Resident Evil" and "Grand Theft Auto" is not mentally stable.

Parents who allow their children, at any age, to play these games are not good parents. I do believe that these games contribute to violence in children. Just like Kayla Roberts wrote, "When kids watch spiderman or batman they like to dress up and pretend they can fly and fight". This holds true with violent video games, children want to act out what they see and if they are allowed by adults to play this nonsense they will in some way act out!

Shawna Pounds said...

Violence is violence, but and let me exaggerate the BUT, the more one is exposed to the act of violence the more desensitized one becomes (or numb to thinking that killing is bad) in the real world.
Violent video games are becoming so prevalent in our society that my 6 year old wants the violent games in the movie rental store over the Disney character games. It’s because he has heard that “this is the funniest game ever” from his little friends. Every time we go to rent a game I have to say “NO” several times because he has picked ones up that are rated T for teen or M for mature.
I feel like the violence in video games can be one of the factors that have caused school shootings. Mainly because of the distorted sense of values children have that get to play violent video games more than any normal person should on a daily basis.
As parents we must direct our young by protecting them from violence and this includes games that promote violence. By monitoring and communicating with our children we can instill in them that violence is not a good thing and video games should be a privilege that they get to play every once in a while and should be age appropriate and limited in the amount of time they get to play it.

Rani said...

I think that violent video games can contribute to violent behavior and other tyoes of violence. Most people that I know who play video games only play the games that are bloody and gruesome. I notice by the way they talk that violence is natural and has no effect on them because they are exposed to it every time they play a game. The thing that bothers me is that parents buy these types of games for their young and underage children.It may not cause them to show violent behavior but I believe it changes thier view and feelings towards violence. The games do not contribute positive factors they only display the negative.

It has a lot to do with the way you were raised and the involvement of parents. We had video games growing up but they consist of Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt, clean fun games. With the advances in technology and Playstation 2 we only have games that are sports related, the gruesome and bloody ones dont catch our attention.It is up to the parents to take control of the video games, because they are not going to be taken our of stores any time soon!

Sandy Ward said...

I think there is some basis that the playing of these games does cause aggressive behavior. However, my son plays all of those games, Call of Duty, Crysis and all kinds of war, sniper type games, but he does not go out and carry that out in real life. So, while playing these games may sometimes create more aggressive behavior, I think there are many other factors that push someone over the edge to carry out these scenarios in real life.

While the industry has provided a rating system on games, that still does not stop someone from purchasing these games that are not age-appropriate for children. It always comes back to responsibility as a parent and personally as well. I think I will stick to Guitar Hero!

Anonymous said...

Video games do have an impact on children, but they are not the sole reason for children becoming violent. I feel that they play an important role in giving children ideas to carry out their aggression. Parents are tasked with the responsibility of monitoring what their children watch, do, play, etc. When combined with other factors in a child’s life, video games can impact a child’s violent behavior.

A lot of how a person acts is based upon how they were raised and the values that they were taught from the beginning. Unfortunately, many children do not have the guidance or resources to keep them out of trouble. If there is not a stern hand pushing a child back when they try to cross the line, they are going to act out in many ways. I don’t blame violent video games for the attacks that children make on other people; there are many factors that come into play.

Christen Reeves

Marc said...

Video games have become far more advanced compared to the original video games. The graphics and storyboards have become more realistic. There has always been violence in games it seems though. Even the Mario games had violence it seemed. Today, it has become people killing other people. Games like Grand Theft Auto have shown importance to killing.

I think violence in these games has attributed to some problems. I just don't believe they can be the major problem with things such as school shootings. I still think it goes back to parents and their involvement in the lives of their children. The control of guns in homes is also a factor. Parents should be aware of problems with their children and monitor what games they are playing. If it seems the child could be deviant, they should intervene.

Marc Hearst

William said...

Violent video games are definitely becoming prevalent in society. I base this on the amount of airtime dedicated to violent video game commercials. Most of the commercials I see are labeled “M” for mature and are targeted at the adult population. In my opinion this only peeks the interest in younger viewers, so in essence the impressionable teen population is still getting the message.

I do believe that violent video games can be linked to violent behavior. A majority of the articles published only mention extreme cases of violence, such as school shootings. And it is in these cases that I think the argument for the link is the strongest. A person would have to be extremely emotionally or mentally disturbed to partake in a mass execution. These individuals would most likely be more impressionable to the message of violent video games and therefore more disconnected with reality. Perhaps they truly can’t tell a difference between the real and virtual worlds. The question here is did violent games lead to the disturbance or did it merely feed the disturbance?

More alarming is the potential for subtle changes in behavior. Fortunately there are relatively few reported cases of extreme violent behavior. Yet consider all the cases that go unreported. The reason it is so difficult to definitively prove or disprove this link is most of the aggressive behavior goes unnoticed. A subtle push or shove today could grow into a fierce punch as these children and teens get older. On a societal basis it is too difficult to measure these behavioral changes.

Violent video games or television programs may not provoke aggressive violent behavior. Yet it definitely makes us desensitized to it. I used to watch violent programs without ever giving a second thought to how I would respond to it in an actual situation. One day I realized that the tragedies I read in the local newspaper no longer had an emotional impact. These were tragedies that were happening close home and to people I might have actually known. Did violent programs cause this lack of reaction? I cannot say. I can say that my realization of living a life desensitized from the troubles of the rest of the world made me change from my previous television programming.

I have a daughter nearly two years old. When she was six months old I noticed her watching television. I was shocked at this instant realization that she was more interested in the streaming colors on the television screen than the actual events going on around her. I immediately turned off the television and would not let her watch it again until she was over one year old. Once she was able to speak a few words, and we could discern how she responded to the programming, we let her watch television. As she gets older we will monitor her television viewing habits and change it accordingly. Hopefully, due to the decisions we make today she will later choose, on her own, to not watch violent programs or play violent video games.

Violent video games and programs are here to stay and the only way to combat them is to instill moral values in our youth. The only way to slow the prevalence of violent media is to convince people to willingly not view it. Perhaps the current virtual reality generation will themselves see the disparity between the virtual and actual worlds. If so they will become the advocates for change. And by being participants in a generation long behavioral study they can hush the critics that claim viewing violent media has no real psychological or societal impact.

Sabrina said...

I feel like violent video games do play a major role in society for our young people. A great deal of young people play these games and get all types of ideas and thoughts about violence. But at the same time it is the parents responsibility to monitor the types of video games that they play, because their is an age sensor on the video games. So if it's an adult video game, why would you have a 9 year old playing it.

There are other factors that contribute to the school shootings, but the violent video games do play a role. Parents need to monitor what their children are playing and most importantly explain to them why they cannot play the video games if it is age inappropriate. Children like to mimic what they see.

Anonymous said...

I see both sides of this issue. I do feel that violent video games are becoming too prevalent in society; video games themselves are becoming too prevalent in society. My twelve-year-old nephew has every game console available, in addition to every violent game available. That seems to be the only type of games available for boys, men, etc. It is absolutely ridiculous. I don't think these violent games will influence my nephew because of how he is raised, but I definitely don't feel comfortable with the fact that these are the only type of video games that he plays.

I do feel that they contribute to violence, particularly of those who do not have a stable upbringing, life, etc. Columbine is a prime example of how video games can influence children, especially those who can be easily influenced or are at an impressionable age. Further, I don't feel that it is the only contributing factor to such violence or that the media can blame video games, but I think that we are in denial if we cannot admit that they can be an influence. As far as combatting such a negative force for children, I think that such video games need to regulated in the household. It all results to the stability of children, and it is quite unfortunate that some children to do not have the availability or the option for such stability.

Anonymous said...

Before reading this article and thinking more about this topic, I would have said that video game violence leads to violent behavior in kids. I still think that video games can play a role in the child's behavior; however, I had never thought about kids who have a violent nature (for whatever reason) being drawn to those types of video games.

I do see how this could be the case, but I also feel that as parents we should recognize those traits and get help for our children as early as we can. I also feel that if we know our child has an abnormally violent temper or nature, then we should monitor what they watch or play. There are ways to help minimize exposure to our children, but we just have to take the time to do so.

Matthew & Ashley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew & Ashley said...

Video games are meant to be entertaining and fun. For years games have had an innocent nature to them but more recently we have come out with "war" games and virtual reality to get more involved in the storyline. It takes so much more to garner kids' attention these days due in my opinion to instant gratification needs. Playing mature games should be prohibited until a certain age but the problem with that is parents control the purchase and choose to still get them anyway. Letting young children play these games and then sitting back to watch them act aggressive and wondering why would be like eating fast food every day just to ask "why am I getting fat." Exposure in such a developmental time can mold the child for years.

Although this study does look at probably the best age groups, it does so from differing cultures which can cause interference. Why wouldn't researchers look at the same two cultures from all three age groups. Generalities cannot be assumed from this type of experiment due to varying factors such as economic, family dynamics and geographic regions. There is no fool-proof way to get clear results but experimental controls should be more rigid to get more accurate conclusions from the data collected.

Matt Dispenza

Matt Middleton said...

We know that some video games on the market today are not made for young children. These games are specifically rated for the appropriate age group. If the majority feel that certain games younger children play are too violent, why do they not rate them in this way? My other question would lie with the parents. Do they not know if their children are playing games that are not suitable for children the age of their child?

I do not feel school shootings can be attributed to video game violence. The guilty parties that committed these crimes had far larger mental problems not linked to playing these games. I do not believe they are becoming too prevalent in society. Parents need to continue to monitor what games they purchase for their children and if they are appropriate.

Lee said...

Personally, I think it is crazy to have voilent video games. I believe that they do provoke violence. It seems like every time I see a commercial on television for a video game it is promoting violence. The players are using guns and killing people. I believe that it is crazy that a video game can have an "Adult" rating.

I do believe also that violent video games can be to blame for school shootings. If the person who does the shooting/killing is a fan of violent video games, I think that definitely plays a part. They learn and see people killing people in these game. Not only that they get a bigger thrill because they are the killer, they hold all the power. I really don't think there is any way to get rid of this problem because video game makers make too much money with these games. However, I do think creating games that are fun and have a positive message will help. The creating of the Wii has really helped with this problem. All the games for this system are fun and all-age appropriate.

Lee Beard

heather b said...

Just like last week I think it is all about your morals and how you are raised. When it comes down to it you make your own decisions and I do not think viloent video games are going to make or break it your actions are in your control and I think people just look for excuses becasue they do not want to admit they are sresponsible for their mistakes.
I think it is not good to have such violent video games becasue it just is not very respectable however if you are a good person and then you go and play a violent video does not mean that you are going to go and steal a car or somehting bad like that.

Paula said...

I think society has enough violent video games to last awhile, though obviously violence sells, so I imagine these games will continue to be around.

My first instinct is to say they contribute to violence, though I realize that the personal situation of the player and their surroundings also contribute. More than making someone actually get the idea to go out and kill someone, I think the games make it easier for someone already "tuned" to this sort of behavior to find it easier. As well as providing the adrenaline rush, I think these games numb the senses. The player can go around killing the characters and there is no feeling about it.

I do think the media targets these games sometimes, though on seeing a recent story on television about a young man taken into custody for a crime, I had to rethink this attitude. The young man is able to get a deputy's gun and escapes the sheriff's department, but not before killing three men. When the reporter describes the steps the young man took in the crime (keeping in mind that he obsessively played one particular video game) you felt as though something clicked, he put himself "in the game", and three people ended up dead. Either the reporter is really good at what he does, or video games contribute to violence.

Caroline said...

Violent video games are everywhere in today’s society and even young children seem to be playing these games. I believe that these can cause violence in the world but it may only cause this to occur in someone’s home. Just because children play these games it might only affect the parents and children’s siblings. This is a hard topic for me to discuss because I don’t have much experience with this. I do not play violent video games and never have and don’t have brothers, but my guy friends that play violent games seem normal to me.
In the case of Columbine and other school shootings, these events occurred because the students snapped, possibility the video games gave them ideas to act out their violent thoughts. But the violent video games did not tell them to go shoot innocent people that their high school and then kill themselves.

Clara said...

Honestly I think violent video games that involve killing people are pointless. I understand that some games are spin-offs of movies and such to make money, but I would much rather my kids play games like Donkey Kong or Mario Brothers that are completely fictitious. I do believe that these violent video games have an effect on young people and contribute to violence. Your mind, thought process, and character reflect what your input is, especially if you spend tons of time with a certain surrounding. I think it's possible that video games can lead to school shootings, but I don't think every young person has the same effects.

Although I do not believe video games are the only contribution to violence. I really like how Dr. Olsen advised parents to put these games in public places of the home for the parents to be able to see what the child is playing. It's nice to see that she is silently saying that the root of the child is the home. I believe parents don't ahve a close eye on their children as they should, and sadly I don't think they care enought to watch their children. Almost all of my answers for what's wrong with the world today stem back to the home/family and how parents care for their children.

Clara Caffey