Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Violent Video Games and Media Coverage

So last week i brought up the idea of blaming school shootings on video games. Let's continue with that theme. My main area of research is on the psychology of playing video games, namely how video games make people feel and think. I will leave my personal feelings and findings out of this post because i don't want to persuade the group. CNN posted this article last semester. One interesting thing to look for when the media covers school or teenage shootings is that they will also put a quick one sentence mention that the shooter owned violent video games.

So before you post your comments on the topics, let's investigate the recent school shooting in Germany. Do a google search for "Tim Kretschmer, school shooting, video games" and see what you get. After reading some of those then post your comments. 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.


Leb23 said...

I think that video games are one of the many factors that contribute to violence in our society. I believe that video games are getting too violent and may cause some acts of violence. Also, I believe that there are other factors that go into violence, too. Some factors include family upbringing, peers, and the media. In the case of Tim Kretschmer, he was brought up around guns as well as played violent video games. I think both of these factors lead to the shooting rampage he went on.

I think video games are only part of the problem when we look at school shootings. Similar to what I have said before, other factors should be taken into consideration. Since we already regulate games by ratings, the responsibility falls on the parent. It is the parent's job to determine what video games the child should be playing and at what age. A parent should play an active role in a child's life. When the parent does not play an active role in the child's life, society might see the affects of that, which might have been the case in the Kretschmer shooting.

Richard V. Shields III said...

Are violent video games becoming too prevalent in Society? Actually, they are already too prevalent. Do they contribute to violence? The key word here must be ‘contribute’. That’s not unlike considering if the wind contributes to the spread of forest fires.
Logic tells us that it is simplistic to think that the wind doesn’t ‘contribute’. But the better question is, did the wind cause the fire or was it a major influence in forest fires? The wind has yet to once cause a fire. Video games have yet to cause a violent act. The wind is a major player in the majority of forest fires. Counterstrike has sold 2,900,000 copies and this is the only documented case that I’ve heard of wherein a violent act has resulted. Therefore, I must conclude that one out of nearly 3 million represents a very isolated case.
Can we blame violent video games for Columbine as the media has done on occasion? Games are certainly convenient to blame. They are present on the scene and they perform little in the way of positively adding to society. And if they aren’t positive, they must be negative…right?
I am not an advocate for video games, violent or otherwise. But I am an advocate for finding the correct causes of problems before we begin corrective action. From the readings I found, there were several common threads. The teen blamed his problems on others. His parents were absorbed in building their business. They tried to deal with the teen’s problems (recognized in 2008 and treated as depression) by throwing money at them, resulting in many calling him spoilt. He was a bad student, so they changed his school. He spent hours daily with his computer. If he was a bad student, why was he not encouraged/required to spend that time with his academics?
So, how do we combat negative forces? Buy replacing them with positive forces. A friend of mine once responded to a person who asked, “How do you keep your boys out of trouble?” His answer was, “I keep them so busy doing other things that they don’t have time to get into trouble”. Great answer!

tvan09 said...

I do think that violent video games are very accessible to any age child. To put a warning on the package that this product contains violent content and language is a waste of time and ink. That is the problem with these types of video games. Younger children who are exposed to this type of violence become immune to the acts of violence and the lack of consequences for the perpetrator of the violence. In there young minds, they feel that this type of behavior is normal. The problem is not with the games themselves, the problem is with the parents of these youngsters. They are the ones that should be monitoring their child's activities.

I do think that these types of violent games are a contributing factor to the psychological health of children. These games, when played in excess, instills the acts of depravity and horror in the minds of the players. When this activity becomes excessive, the user becomes desensitized to the violence. I would not go as far to say that these games are a major contributor to the acts of violence we have seen in our schools. I would say that the major contributing factor to the violent nature of these children would have to be their lack of psychological and sociological development. These factors have to be nurtured at home and developed through interaction with others. It seems that Tim was a loner and one that was not interested school or family or much of anything at all. That should have been the warning sign for his parents and those teachers who interacted with him daily.

Society can not blame the video games or any other type of media for violent acts such as the killings at the school in Germany. The parents should examine their values and beliefs; then see how they may correlate to their son's. He was not born with these violent tendencies. He learned them through his interaction with his parents and his schoolmates. The video games became a substitute for the lack of interaction with his parents and classmates.

To combat this negative force on our children, parents must be vigilant in knowing the activities of their children. This problem starts at home and it must be dealt with at home, first. The positive psychological and sociological development of children should be the main concern of every parent.

Terry VanLandingham

Stacey Perkins said...

Violent video games are certainly becoming too prevalent in our society. Most immoral things are. I’m not educated or experienced enough about the topic to say whether or not violent video games contribute to violence. But I’m leaning towards the fact that they do not. While violent video games can probably cause someone to have a certain bend towards violent, I don’t think it directly contributes to the violence. I person playing violent video games probably had a bend towards violence to begin with. We can’t blame violent video games for school shootings. Most people who play violent video games do not go on deadly rampage shootings. It’s amazing how one can overlook the depression, peer rejection, and access to guns and blame a violent video game. I do think that violent video games are a negative force for children. I think it would be hard to find someone who viewed them as a positive thing for children. Violence is in it’s essence a negative thing. Parents do not need to let their children play these violent video games. While they probably aren’t the cause of school shootings, they are still teaching bad morals and values. I’d wouldn’t mind of they were all illegal and/or disappeared forever.

Stacey Perkins

Anonymous said...

I agree with the idea that violence in media has led to a "culture of disrespect" in which children get the message that it's acceptable to treat one another rudely and even aggressively. I do not believe that violence should be blamed on video games. To me that is insane. Noone has to accept responsibility for their actions anymore and this is because they know there is something to blame their actions on.

If these video games are a negative force on children then take them away fromt them and don't allow them to play them in your house. Monitor what they are doing. You can't control what your children do elsewhere, but helping them set good morals and goals in life can help.

My question now is this. If these shootings are all the video games fault, then why have they not been made illegal and taken off the market?

brob09 said...

I do believe that video games along with movies, tv and music do contribute to violence in our society. But the question is can we blame violence on video games and I believe the answer is yes we can. But we can remove responsibility from the person who is committing the crime. Everyone is responsible for their on actions and not video games. I think that video games plants ideas in underdeveloped minds and then they act accordingly. I also believe that peer pressure that comes from the games also contributes to violence.

Normally when a new video game or movie comes out with some form of new violence, we will see an increased number of offenses committed using the same methods as seen on the video games. If you watch the television show "Law and Order" you will see many times when they show violence committed after watching video games.

I believe that video games must be regulated by parents. I think parents should be aware of what their children are watching on television and if it is not age appropriate or rated for children then they should not be watching or playing the games.

So I think that video games do contribute to violence but the people who commit those acts of violence still have to be held accountable and not blame it on the video games.

Beth Robinson

Caroline said...

who really knows if its the chicken or the egg that comes first, but no matter which comes first all people are different. I have been around a lot of kids and I know that parenting makes a huge impact on the way kids act and react to all things. Morals and values are instilled into children at a very early age. I think it is so important to spend time with your children and to talk to them and more importantly to listen to them. I know kids and teens are going to exeriment and test the waters so to speak, but I feel that if they have good morals and a good foundation, they want take things to far. Children that have boundries and face consequences are more likely to think before they react. I don't know why Tim Kretschemer did the things he did or why any one gets to that breaking point but I have never thought that video games or music has ever been the real cause behind the criminal acts. If a person wants to hurt someone, they are more than likely hurting inside from trauma in their life.

Caroline said...

I forgot to post my name as usual!
Carolyn Stevens

JVJ1 said...


I do beleive that we are creatures of our environiment. We have human nature and instinct that creates desires to beahve certain ways but I believe that our environments sway our behavior. This is why most people who play video games tend to be ok with violence and we will never hear of their names where one out of ten million will take action. Whether it is a school shooting or violence at the school.

We are social creatures and as such our social curcumstances are as much a contributer as is video games. I think a better question is what is the same between all of these instances? It appears that all of the children were white males, all of them were in the lower rung of the acedemic system, they had noi feeling of importance, and tended to escape reality into a world that they felt important. Whether it is video games or taking control of other people's right to live. I do not believe that it is fair to say that video games caused the actions. The real question is how to we make every child feel important without pushing them to commit such crimes.

D Douglas said...

I think video games contribute to a much more violent society. Kids do not react to viewing or hearing of violence with any shock or surprise now a days. I recently watched a friends eight year old son play, "Grand Theft Auto", and my mouth dropped to the floor numerous times as I witnessed the graphic violence being played out on the DS. He was only initially embarrassed that I was watching him play the game, because he is so young, but never mentioned how his man was beating people with a baseball bat. Do we honestly have to wonder whether these video games are affecting kids in negative ways?

While I believe that these violent video games are playing a part in the increased violent nature in society, I can not place sole blame on the games. Some of these kids that perpetrate these violent acts are simply just mentally disturebed, and probably showed signs of pending issues. Parents have the responsibility of policing their children, and telling them no sometimes. Most parents would not allow there kids to watch porn or stay out all night, so playing video games that have negative aspects should be eliminated as well. If parents do not use opportunities to teach their children, other people will, and sometimes video games will help out with some lessons.

larrythomas16 said...

PLease video games have nothing to do with all the violence in Amereica. Its like Tipper Gore saying the music in the 80's forced kids to kill themselves. The media is looking for a scape gaot and they found one with the manufacturers. All the liberal politicians are eating it up. It all starts with the way you were brought up. I of course grew up in the Atari generation and i can tell you that Pong was hardly a violent game. If you are brought in a family that considers there kids to be objects and lets them run the streets then you are how you were raised. Violent games may be an outlet for you. You also may be able to experiment more, because when you are left alone for hours at a time you tend to starve for affection. The other part i blame is society we live in. These games are based on what goes on around us. Why wouldn't you want to be a dope killer or zombie destroyer its fun but not real. Thats where parents who pay attention to their kids come into play. Tp guide them what is real and unreal. Then the ones that go off the deep end and just kill for no reason, they truly have mental problems. Look my son plays San Andreas, Halo and all those war games and they are fun, but he knows those aren't real and if he wanted to find out what it would be like to take another life or rob someone, HE WILL GO TO JAIL. If this is all you see everyday then those games tend to play realisticly. Family have more power than you know, games are just games remember that. When you play the Boardgame of Life that doesn't mean your going to go out and get a girl pregnant to start your life, why, its just a game. Please give me a break. This is what society has come to when we have to blame everyone else expect the person looking in the mirror. These people need to suck it up and be a parent at no cost and teach theur kids right from wrong no matter where you live. Thank you
Larry Thomas

Kenny Hardin said...

I do not believe that we should be blaming school shootings on video games. An individual who commits that kind of atrocity is mentally ill in the first place and they almost always have showed sings of depression and other problems before committing the act. I do not think because they killed someone on the game that they decided to pick up a gun and go and try to emulate what they did. They put age ratings on games for a reason.
The case with Tim Kretschmer is no different, he was raised around guns and video games but I do not think that the games or guns influenced him to go on a killing spree. His father had all but the 9mm locked away, and that was probably for quick protection since the guy was found in the bedroom, so the father probably taught this young man about gun safety. This young man was a sick person who needed help not a video game addict who was acting out from what he had seen.

rcp20 said...

I disagree with the argument that video games are somehow responsible for violence in society. This is just another example of today's society attempting to escape responsibility. The media always looks for some definite factor that is responsible; something to blame rather than simply blaming the individual. It will never be proven with any certainty that violent media is responsible for violence because there are too many other factors to consider such as depression, drugs, mental state, genetics etc.

I do however believe that violent content in video games should not be accessible to young children. Much the same way that graphic content in movies can be harmful for children, I believe that explicit content in games can also have a negative effect. This is in regard to their moral development. But to say a video game is the defining factor responsible for a person committing murder is simply ludicrous, in my opinion of course.

Robert Purvis

amandakthrash said...

I think that anyone who blames video games, music, or movies for the insane acts of a mentally disturbed person is just plain naive. Growing up is hard, and if a kid is unpopular or does not have a thick skin, it is much worse. It is sad that people pick and prod those that are weaker or different. The ones who treat others wrongly are much more to blame for violent action than a video game. Are some forms of entertainment guilty of glorifying violence? Absolutely, but most people can differentiate between entertainment and real life. My husband is an avid hunter, gun enthusiast, and also likes military video games where alot of the action is realistic. He also enjoys getting together with some of his friends, dressing in camo, and playing "war" with paintball guns. Does this mean that he is a prime candidate for going on a shooting spree? Hell no! He is a wonderful father and a teacher and coach of middle- and high-school kids.

It is the experiences and interpersonal relationships that people have that influence thier behaviors. People want to blame video games and music, because they don't want to admit just how messed up a human really can be.

Amanda McCurley Thrash

Dee Lewis said...

The gaming industry makes millions of dollars each year, and the big seller among games are violent video games because that is what the market craves. I don't think a young child should be exposed to violent video games because they are still developing and learning. Just like they learn from their surroundings, they learn from the games that they play. That is why many people are pushing for kids to play more learning games. From my experience in playing, you tend to become glued to the game. The game pulls you into its world and the weak players can become brainwashed. You dream about playing the violent games. You can't wait to play it no matter where you are. Some children become addicted to it, and they want to try it in real life.

The violent games definitely contribute to physical violence. My children are 3 and 1, and I get upset when their dad plays wrestling and shooting games around them. They are learning and their minds are developing and I don't want them to think that violence is okay.

I think school shootings should be blamed on the parents. The people who shoot up schools are already mentally unstable, so violent games shouldn't have been placed around them in the first place. Violent games are a negative force in our society, and no child should be exposed to them. Parents should not allow their children to play these games at all. When their children are adults, then they have the right to decide what games to play. Until then, they must only be exposed to games that will help them learn and help them be healthy and fit. Each learning experience should be positive.

The gaming industry must increase the age of buying certain video games. It is up to the adults not to sneak and buy the video games for a minor. If a minor is spotted with a violent video game, then the adult responsible for buying the game should be reprimanded.

-Dominique Lyle

David Layne said...

I diaagree that violent video games are to blame for the violent actions of mentally disturbed individuals. There are many factors that contribute to influencing individuals to commit such horrific acts.
I agree with an earlier blogger that the actions of bullies and mean people who make fun of and are mean to individuals that are different or weaker are much more to blame than video games. I will say say that todays youth spend way too much time palying video games and on the computer and are not developing the social skills needed to be successful in todays society.
I agree that violent video games too often fall into the hands of young children. Either the parents are buying these things for them or they are not policing their children when on the computer.
Lastly, I think the break-up of the American family is more to blame for violent teenagers then any thing else. (That is just my personal opinion).

Juliet said...

Not only have videos games numbed our society towards violence so have stories of mass shootings in the media at large. Just this weekend CNN is covering the deaths of three police officers shot to death in Pittsburg and the death of 14 others in an immigration facility in Binghamton, NY.
I think the people who commit these type crimes already have the propensity to commit violence. I am not completely sold that playing violent video games encourage people to commit crimes. If that were the case we would have more of these type crimes being committed based on the number of people who play video games as a whole.
I think there are other contributing factors to these types of crimes and these shootings have more to do with the psychological make-up of the criminals. I think people who have the tendency to commit these type crimes are drawn to play violent video games however I do not think the video games cause people to commit violence.

Juliet Richard

rf213 said...

I cannot stand any type of violence among people and I literally hate all the violent video games. It worries me that people and especially children keep playing them for several hours per day. Yes, I believe that video games are already too prevalent and it's getting worse as the games are becoming more advanced.
There is no doubt in my mind that playing violent video games contribute to violent behavior in children, especially if they have inborn predispositions to behave agressively. I believe that children become less sensitive to violence and do not realize how bad it is. What happens then is that terribly frustrated kid, who is ignored or even bullied by others, decides that there is nothing for him to lose, he takes a gun and plays his own "game" with his own rules.
All the violent video games should be prohibited for people under 18 and their production should be closer controlled and highly regulated. There should be some limits set on how violent the video game can be. I know this would be very hard to determine but it is important to do something about it. Until there is still a big number of violent video games available to children, parents should be the ones who control their children. I would not let my children play any video game that includes killing, torturing or excessive hurting. I think that taking care about this issue should be important to each parent.

rf213 said...

Radka F.

madjdinfl said...

This is a hard subject. With out evidence and only my personal opinion I think that violent video games and movies could be a trigger for violence in children; and adults for that matter. My husband loves to play these gruesome crazy killing video games on his PS3 which is the most realistic type of gaming you can have. When we have children I will not be allowing them to participate in these types of games. I feel these games have many aspects that affect a child’s mind.
1 – Is that they grow up thinking this is cool. Running around with these cool guns and shooting up people and steeling cars this is fun. That is not a good reality for them to relate too at all.
2 – After playing these games they may think this is how life is and want to emulate it. Like a role model or something.
3 – Overall the detail in the gore of some of these video games is just too much. Soldiers come back from war with serious cases of mental trauma from killing and seeing people being killed. Now we let our children pretend to be a soldier and do the same thing. Yes it is not reality but in a child’s mind they get so wrapped up in things to them it may feel real. Almost like waking up to a dream and feeling like you were actually in a fight or something.
4 – I believe that these games will affect the children that already have violent personalities the most and will just fuel that need to hit, kick, or shoot someone. Some may even feel as if this is some kind of adrenaline rush and now they want to feel it in real life.

I know in my person life and when I do have kids I will not allow them to play these types of violent games or view these types of movies until a certain point. I am unsure if this point should be of an age like 15 or 16 or if maybe it should depend on the individual and their personality. Each parent will need to decide that of course. For those parents that don’t care and let their kids do what ever it is that they want I have no idea how to combat that. I would hope that their teachers might take an extra interest in those troubled children and help them from their side.

Melissa Doty

Casey said...

I have a strong opinion about video games in general because I think they have become dangerous to children. I get so mad whenever my little four year old refuses to go outside and play on a pretty day because he'd rather play video games. I don't see the point in violent video games, especially when they show blood and use bad language. I think it is extremely unnecessary for the makers of violent video games to be so graphic. I also wonder about the people who actually enjoy playing these types of games and think it's entertaining to pretend to kill people.

As far as the school shootings go, I think video games might be part of the problem. A person who is having personal problems might be unconsciously influenced by a game to solve their problems by doing what the characters in the game does. I wish parents would take more responsibility by only letting their children play nonviolent games occasionally. They should also encourage their children to find other things to do besides sit in front of a tv screen all day and play video games, especially violent ones.
Casey Hubbard

Nicole Thigpen said...

Yes, they are prevalent in our society...but like Larry Thomas said they are based on our society! They are mostly mimicing life and war! The video games did not cause the violence but allow the player to take a role in what is going on.

I think there are many factors that lead to these school shootings and different acts of teenage shootings. Each person is different and was raised in different ways. I think that sometimes a video game may be able to pinch a nerve in some of these disturbed individuals but not the reason they were disturbed in the first place! You have to look at their home life,and people surrounding them. If the media can blame video games than they need to also look at themselves because they show violent crimes non stop so what makes them not the cause.

Parents need to teach their children right from wrong and real from not real! A video game is fake period just like different cartoons and it is up to the parent to let them know just because you are playing a war game does not mean you go out and kill enemy's at school tomorrow.

mic g said...

I think video games play a small role in contributing to violence today. Its begining to become way too common to blame someone or something else for the actions of some. Yes video games today are much more graphic and life like today than in the past but that is still no excuse. I have played some of these games, Grand theft auto, for one and it never encouraged me to go out and steal, or kill. Ones up bringing and place where they live I believe play the biggest role in society today.
Television in my opinion plays a much bigger role than video games. Parents should be aware of what their children watch on TV as well as what video games they play.
Some children are just exposed to violence and criminal behavior much more than others.

Michael Greene

Ellen said...

I am not a video gamer myself, but my boyfriend does enjoy grand theft auto, and after teaching me how to play, I must say that I did enjoy my fair share of running over pedestrians and stealing cop cars. But, in reference to how these types of games effect children and their aggression levels, I have always had a hard time deciding what my view really is.
I have always thought that kids get far too into video games and I think that the large quantities of time spend in front of a TV getting so wrapped up in a video game is very unhealthy for many reasons. And yes, I do think that video games can contribute to violence. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that kids playing violent video games will have higher aggression levels. I absolutely do not think that we can blame school shooting on video games. I think there are so many factors that play into school shootings and while video games may play a slight role, it is out weighted by so many other factors.
I think children would be healthier in everyway if parents didn’t let there kids sit in front of the TV for hours and hours on end. Make your kid join a team or give them a coloring book. I don’t know. Parents just need to take an active role in keeping their kids healthy and away from too much violence. I definitely do not think we can blame anything soling on video games.