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Violent Games Good for Kids 369

Posted by timothy
from the contrary-wisdom dept.
fjordboy writes "Scholars from MIT, the University of California in LA, and the University of London have worked together to oppose laws restricting children from playing violent video games. The battle is currently taking place in the US Court of Appeals and the case seems to hold a decent amount of merit. From Vnunet:"Experts on childhood and adolescence have long recognised the importance of violent fantasy play in overcoming anxieties, processing anger, and providing outlets for aggression." Similar article from Reuters as well."
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Violent Games Good for Kids

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  • by principio (558251) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:23PM (#4339581) Journal
    I knew I should have spent more time playing video games and less time studying.
  • Whew! (Score:3, Funny)

    by JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:24PM (#4339589) Homepage
    I'm sure the folks over at The Army [americasarmy.com] are glad to hear this one!
  • Repeated beatings of the gaming industry can't be rescued by a single validation. What really needs to be done is that society must realize that not all disasterous things int he world can be blamed on the gaming industry. When that happens, then it will be a true validation of pc/console gaming.
    • Dual approach. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lemmy Caution (8378)
      One one hand, it's helpful to have scholars challenge the old assumption that video games create behavorial problems in the young. Japan's use of video games is definitely in the "catharsis theory" school, allowing people - often adults - to do things they can't or shouldn't do in real life. There are arcade simulators that let men grab virtual asses in simulated subways!

      Ultimately, however, what will protect video games from censorship will be free speech issues, not arguments about level of or lack of harm. The fact the more and more video game players are adults will help build consensus for thinking of them as a full-fledged media, and not just a children's toy.

    • by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:31PM (#4339651) Homepage
      The problem is that Mommy and Daddy need someone to blame when little Johnny (or Eric or Dylan) goes on a shooting rampage.

      Now, it's probably not Mom and Dad's fault either. Little Johnny is plenty old enough to know right from wrong and that killing his schoolmates is WRONG.

      But there is a very human need to find a "reason", and video games are a convenient scapegoat. Besides, then some politician can call for banning them in order to be seen "DOING SOMETHING!!! ANYTHING!!!". After all, he has to think of the children(tm).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They havn't warped me.

    --Inmate # 1268358 Walla Walla State Pen., WA
  • by FreshMeat-BWG (541411) <bengoodwyn&me,com> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:25PM (#4339598) Homepage
    For anyone who doesn't believe this: Sit through a two-hour long meeting with a manager and then go play twenty minutes of GTA3.

    Feeling better aren't you?

    Good for kids and adults!

    • Sit through a two-hour long meeting with a manager and then go play twenty minutes of GTA3.

      That could be dangerous if you aren't allowed to play games at work like 99.9% of people. Imagine sitting in said 2 hours meeting, getting all riled up for GTA3, then having to drive home before you can play. :)
    • "For anyone who doesn't believe this: Sit through a two-hour long meeting with a manager and then go play twenty minutes of GTA3.

      Feeling better aren't you?"


      GTA3 definitely relieved a lot of stress for me. It takes too damn long to find a cop in Portland to tease.
  • by kbielefe (606566) <karl.bielefeldt+ ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:27PM (#4339614)
    When I was a kid I released my agression by chopping wood and mowing lawns. Nothing like violently chopping the heads off of 1 million blades of grass to relieve stress.
  • Poppycock (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drhairston (611491)
    Have these researchers for a moment stopped to consider that hours spent glued to some machine instead of interacting with ones peers is the cause of "anxieties", "anger", and "aggression"? While there may exist a threshold for healthy computer gaming, I am certain that I have met many young men who have exceeded it.
    • "Have these researchers for a moment stopped to consider that hours spent glued to some machine instead of interacting with ones peers is the cause of "anxieties", "anger", and "aggression"?"

      You weren't one of the nerds they constantly picked on in school where you? Hell, the only reason I didn't kill myself after getting chewed out, spit on, and having my ass kicked on a daily basis is because I didn't want them to "win." I quickly learned not to fight back because I'd be the one that would get the punishment from the adults who where supposed protect me. Interacting with ones peers my ass![/endflame]

    • Re:Poppycock (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aero6dof (415422)
      Is it a cause or a symptom? For some, maybe the violent games are the root cause, but you can't generalize it to all children. I believe it causes more harm to restrict the freedoms of people (including children) unless there is a specific body of proof proving harm due to actual causation. If video games do provide a measure of relaxation, restriction of video games may actually cause a rise in agression harming others.
    • Have these researchers for a moment stopped to consider that hours spent glued to some machine instead of interacting with ones peers is the cause of "anxieties", "anger", and "aggression"?

      As one other poster noted, how do you know that interacting with peers who ridicule, hit, hurt or otherwise harm isn't the cause of this?

      I'm also inclined to believe that *life* is the cause of anxiety, anger and agression. People have been scared, mad and killing people for a hell of lot longer than video games or the polite notion of peers has been around. Just trying to keep a roof over your head, food in your belly and the bad guys from taking your stuff makes you scared, angry and ready to kill.
    • Re:Poppycock (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bmajik (96670)
      No.

      The biggest source of anxiety in my daily life is other people that don't meet the bar for existance. You often see them on America's motorways talking on their cell phones, doing their makeup, and the like.

      You see them leaning out the windows of pickup trucks yelling at people on the sidewalk. You see them standing on scaffolding at construction sites, turned towards the streets whistling at any thing that looks like it could be female from a distanec of 4 stories up.

      You see them at your office wearing glasses that don't have a perscription and suspenders that dont actually hold anything up, asking female employees to make them coffee they don't even like drinking, all the while badmouthing how stupid everyone around them is and talking about how they aren't getting paid enough to show up late to work in their leased porsche with the smallest engine and steptronic transmission.

      This problem is worse when you're a youth, as the people that grow up to be the people that don't meet the bar start learning through trial and error how to grow into those people in the middle and highshcool years.

      People that won't get the fuck out of my way and insist on fucking with my life in an unwarranted manner cause me anger, anxiety, and aggression.

      Video games cost $50 a peice. You can do a lifetime's worth of "retaliation" and "anger redirection" in a few short minutes.

      Running one fucking moron off the road for the betterment of humanity costs you life in prison.

    • How are you going to be able to inflict acts of aggression out onto others when you way 550 lbs. and are no longer able to get up from the couch that you sit on while playing those violent games?

    • by 0x0d0a (568518)
      This is the same guy (different account) that posted the BS about Ogg Vorbis yesterday and got shot down by Monty. Moderators should mod accordingly.
    • Have these researchers for a moment stopped to consider that hours spent glued to some machine instead of interacting with ones peers is the cause of "anxieties", "anger", and "aggression"?
      Have those other researchers for a moment stopped to consider that hours spent taking orders from tyrannical managers, getting beaten up by idiotic bullies, and having the lifes' work of 10 people totally destroyed by an MBA guy would cause a sane man to commit murder? So either violent computer games have saved thousands of lives, or all IT people are insane.

      Back in the day, cavemen killed each other all the time, this was sensible vigilantiism required under a despotic Government system. Violent computer games discourage real-world vigilantiism and thus increase the cohesiveness of a cooperative democratic society.

    • Have these anti-gaming proponents for a moment stopped to consider that being alive, including interacting with ones peers, is the cause of "anxieties", "anger", and "aggression"? Good thing there is other options than being forced to "interact" with peers, who often provide temptation to do break the law and get in trouble, provide endless hours of abuse and torment, etc. While there may exist a threshold for healthy subjection to torment by teenage peers, I am certain that I am posting among many old men and women who have exceeded it.
  • by Slashdolt (166321) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:33PM (#4339668)
    When I used to play chess, I would often find myself getting very angry. I'm generally a fairly passive person, but when playing chess, I would just plain get mad. In fact, I would sometimes get so mad that I felt like hitting someone, but I never did.

    Anyway, that's somewhat beside the point. "Violent" implies that you are doing something to someone. Nobody gets hurt when I sit down and play "Return to Wolfenstein" on my computer. No real Nazis die. My health doesn't deteriorate, and I generally don't even eat any real chicken dinners while playing. When I play a videogame that simulates violence, I often find myself relieved of lots of stress built up over the workday. When I play chess, I get really stressed and want to hurt people.

    Obviously, chess is bad, and games with simulated violence are good.
  • Hrm. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gTsiros (205624)
    Anger by itself is indication of inability to deal with an issue presented. "Things should not be this way". Having anger is wrong in the first place and "channeling" it to breaking stuff/killing sprites is not going to solve the issue. That is the first Part of the discussion.

    On the other hand, if by punching the wall one manages to set aside his anger for a while and allows logic* to work to solve the problem at hand, then punching something is a good way to get rid of one's _anger_ (but not the problem).

    It is a quick hack, if one can say that.

    *:let's not deal with what is logic right now, but let's assume anger does not allow logic to work and also let's assume that this is a Bad Thing(tm). I think these assumptions are logical.
    • Having anger is NOT wrong. It is the same as saying that having fear is wrong. Both derive from the sense of self-preservation. We sometimes NEED them to survive - at least in the real world.

      It is just a temporary state of imbalance that we need to get rid of by venting it.

      If we vent our anger we'll let the "normal amount of" logic come back to play - and that's precisely why we need video games and stuffs.
  • I keep saying it: people need catharsis.
    We can deny our violent impulses and try to supress them, but they will only come back up twisted and exgagerated.

    I personally feel that fraggin on a screen is much more healthy than slapping people silly at the grocerie store : )
    • Re:catharsis (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MarcoAtWork (28889) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @06:05PM (#4339942)
      personally playing video games doesn't really give me any feeling of catharsis, it just makes me feel drained...

      Best cure for stress etc. is some serious physical activity, go for a 5k+ run, for a 20k+ bike, 750m+ swim and after you finish, you'll feel tired *but* relaxed, due to the endorphines going around in your body.

      Human beings are not designed to have a workday where they get up, sit in a car/transit for an hour, sit 8 hours in a cubicle, sit again 1 hour in a car/transit, sit 3 hours watching TV or playing computer games and then sleep: no wonder obesity, stress and depression are at an all time high...

      I just wish somebody did a study where they took two control groups of adults, and got one of them on videogames for 2 hours a day and another on *hard* physical exercise (not the 1mph 'walking' some people consider 'exercise') for 2 hours a day, and see if after a couple of months the exercising group isn't in much better shape/balance (physically, mentally and emotionally) than the first group.
  • *bang* *bang* /me shoots down the poster and damn psychologists along with this rusty topic *feeling better now*
  • It's not the violence that's bad for you . It's sitting in front of your computer/tv for hours on end delevoping poor vision and carpal tunnel syndrome.

    It may have been un-PC to play Cowboys and Indians when we were kids, but noone ever passed laws making it illegal. That's probably because running around outside chasing your friends around is exactly what's best for kids. Sitting in front of a 27" TV playing Mario Kart isn't as healthy a thing to do.

    There was a great anecdote I heard one time about some mothers who decided that they wouldn't be getting their children war toys for Christmas one year. As the kids eagerly opened their presents, their mothers were pleased that the kids could have such fun without violence. One kid received a wooden train; he promptly picked up the caboose, cradled in his hand like a revolver, and pointed at his friend "Bang! Bang!"

    • by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @06:08PM (#4339962) Homepage Journal
      It's not the violence that's bad for you . It's sitting in front of your computer/tv for hours on end delevoping poor vision and carpal tunnel syndrome.

      As a short aside - as I and many other pianists/keyboardists know, sitting at a keyboard properly will not cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Don't use a wrist-rest - they encourage you to drop your wrists about three inches lower than they should be. Your wrists should be high enough that there's a straight line down the back of your hand from your knuckles to the upper side of your elbow - if the line has to bend upwards at your wrists, your wrists are too low.

      It may have been un-PC to play Cowboys and Indians when we were kids, but noone ever passed laws making it illegal.

      That's probably because running around outside chasing your friends around is exactly what's best for kids. Sitting in front of a 27" TV playing Mario Kart isn't as healthy a thing to do.
      There was a great anecdote I heard one time about some mothers who decided that they wouldn't be getting their children war toys for Christmas one year. As the kids eagerly opened their presents, their mothers were pleased that the kids could have such fun without violence. One kid received a wooden train; he promptly picked up the caboose, cradled in his hand like a revolver, and pointed at his friend "Bang! Bang!"

      Re: "No one ever passed laws making it illegal"...
      Remember those stories a few years ago about zero-tolerance policies in schools [about.com] and kindergartners getting suspended for pointing their fingers like guns on the playgrounds?

      My favorite is this one [nandotimes.com]:
      JONESBORO, Ark. (January 31, 2001 7:10 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - An 8-year-old boy was suspended from school for three days after pointing a breaded chicken finger at a teacher and saying, "Pow, pow, pow."

      -T

  • Man, I want to punch that stupid California Congressman for proposing a law that makes it a crime to buy M-rated games if you're under 17! I want to cut seventy-four times with a rusty razor then dunk him in a vat of citric acid and hear him scream in pain! This whole issue makes me want to rip his limbs off, blend them into a fine paste, and force that disgusting mush down his throat! Oh, and I haven't started with what I'm going to do to his friends and family! Muwahahahaha! I thirst for blood!!!

    In other news, I just bought Grand Theft Auto III.

  • This is dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FortKnox (169099) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:38PM (#4339717) Homepage Journal
    Parents making a decision, you just need to know one thing:
    Does your child easily descriminate between fantasy and reality?

    If he/she can, then games aren't going to have a detrimental effect.
    If he/she can't, start the conselling early. Maybe you can make a difference if you start now.
    • Re:This is dumb (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Theodore Logan (139352) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @07:08PM (#4340385)
      Parents making a decision, you just need to know one thing:
      Does your child easily descriminate between fantasy and reality?


      Interesting that the world is always black and white on Slashdot.

      If he/she can, then games aren't going to have a detrimental effect.

      You just pulled this one out of your arse, didn't you? Or can you back it up somehow? Can you cite any studies? Why do you find it so obvious that healthy children might not become more aggressive by constantly viewing and engaging in virtual violence? You just say that "it's dumb," but for what reason we are never told.

      It says a lot about the ability of most of the Slashdot crowd to grasp the complexity of any problem that isn't hard science that this comment was modded up.
  • Total opposite? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by unicron (20286) <unicron@ t h c n e t . net> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:38PM (#4339720) Homepage
    Personally, I see some games making people more angry and edgy. Take, for example, Counter-Strike. I've been at lan parties where people have gotten seriously pissed off while playing this game, even to the point of violence more than once. And almost everytime it's the same thing: Someone says the way in which they died doesn't count because of any number of complete bullshit reasons(awp shot, camping, even accusations of cheating).

    Even I'm guilty of this. I get midly pissed off if I own someone and they go "luck" or "won't happen again". I've seen people that shout "BS" after every single death, it's pretty fucking sad.

    Not every game is going to relieve stress. If you're serious about the game, and you're not playing up to your usual standard for whatever reason, you're very quick to anger. It's not very theraputic if cs is giving you a pissed-off anxiety attack.

    P.S. Camping with the awp=sniping(fair, and expected). Camping with the mp5=camping(cheap).
    • This can be said of any game, especially a popular one that has a large player base. I've seen people get mad playing basketball. I've seen people get violent over the result of a football game.

      Competition and violence aren't separated by much, if at all.
    • Re:Total opposite? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hayden (9724)
      Personally, I see some games making people more angry and edgy.
      The problem isn't the game, it's the anger management issues they have. Getting frustrated when you lose means anything competitive is not going to calm you down.
      P.S. Camping with the awp=sniping(fair, and expected). Camping with the mp5=camping(cheap).
      The definition of camping has changed since it was first used. Early multiplayer FPS were pretty much everyone against everyone affairs or at best one group of people against another group of people. Winner is the player/team with the most kills. Camping in this situation is lame because it enhances your score without requiring very much skill.

      Ever since team games starting getting objectives and ways of winning other than killing the opposing team the rules have changed. You can now win by defending an objective and so what is lame in free for all games is now good tactics. But this only applies to the side that can win by running out the clock. ie counter terrorists in blow stuff up missions or terrorists in protect the VIP mission (guarding the exit routes). If T camp in blow stuff up missions then what the CT should do is just sit tight. They'll eventually win. Sure this makes for boring games but that the Ts fault for not attacking.

      The weapon you are using has nothing to do with it.

  • by raehl (609729)
    While I doubt the laws will be tremendously effective considering my childhood access to R rated movies despite parental disapproval, I don't see the basis for the legal challenge here.

    It seems silly to argue that a video game company or retail store's right to sell a product to a child is greater than that child's parent's right to not allow their child to buy that product.

    This isn't to say I think restricting access to video games is going to have any positive affects whatsoever, but that doesn't mean that decision should be taken away from parents.
  • After the High School shootings in where the kids involved said they had been playing 'Doom' there was a backlash against such video games. Now the studies say it didn't matter. Well I have to believe that those kids were screwed up to begin with and the video games had nothing to do with it. They also claimed that playing doom sharpened their killing skills. Since when does a keyboard, mouse, or joystick handle like a shotgun?
    • it doesn't, however the act of killing could have been easier because there mind had become accustomed to the idea of killing.
      the phisical act of killing someone with a gun is easy, the mental ability to do so, in general, is not. However mental it is easier to kill someone with a gun the with a knife.
      as far as there mental state:
      If someone appraoches the edge of a cliff, and someone else pushes them off, the guy who pushed him off would never get away with "it is not my fault, because they where close to the edge all ready."

      What we need is serious studies that try to find out:
      a)is there too much?
      b)what is too much?
      c)how does the increasing quality of emersion effect the impact of playing?
      d)if there is an impact, can it effect other areas. ex: if a play a game that allows me to run over people, will that make me more violent overall?

  • by TellarHK (159748) <[moc.liamtoh] [ta] [khrallet]> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:46PM (#4339797) Homepage Journal
    I grew up with condemned shows like the A-Team, and Airwolf. Shows that people said were too violent for kids. Were kids in the 80's as violent as ones now? Hell no, and it's because the kids growing up just after I did had crap like Captain Planet and other spoon-fed pablum created to make everyone love and respect eachother.

    I've got -nothing- wrong with love and respect, great things to have. But those aren't taught by TV, they're taught be experience. When I watched action-oriented TV, I got the adrenaline rush -and- the easy comedown before the credits rolled. Great way to get rid of tension.

    Hell, consider those old shows the violence version of masturbation. Probably fits.
  • - Slicing a troll in Ultima online [uo.com], score 3:
    - Driving over an innocent in GTA III [rockstargames.com], score: 30, extra 15 for ending the victim's pain with shotgun.
    - Creating you own game to plan and execute the murder of your teacher, score 99, extra 1 for doing it with a chainsaw.

    Is that what they wanted say?

  • I find GTA3 an excellent vent for agression... you can beat people up, fire a rocket launcher at them, etc. But I know the difference from right and wrong (at least I should). I wonder if younger kids still might get the wrong idea. In any case, I wouldn't let my 6-year-old play a game like Grand Theft Auto 3.

    In general, the longer kids spend playing video games inside, the less they're out getting into fights and robbing stores (I met a 17-year-old on the bus who just got out of juvenile detention for attempted robbery of a gas station). Why go out and beat someone up when you just did it for the past four hours with your favorite fighting game? Just don't set the skill level too high...
    • I've been disturbed at how psycho I've gotten while playing GTA3, especially when using the baseball bat or when running over pedestrians. You start beating that guy laying on the ground and it's a little scary how real it seems.
      • But it feels good, doesn't it? But with regards to an effect on real life, imagine how it would feel to do it to someone out on the street.

        When I played Metal Gear Solid 2, I would hold a Russian up at gunpoint, and shoot him in the arm. He would keep his other arm raised, but the wounded arm would quiver in pain. It kind of bothered me... just a little more realistic than GTA3. In GTA3 there's something funny about watching people fly around on fire after you've just blasted them with the flamethrower. Correct me if I'm insane.
        • it does feel good, to a point, but then after a while, all the violent impulses get 'satisfied', for lack of a better term.

          I see myself doing this insane stuff and wonder what the hell came over me.

          A recent CGW reviewed Soldier of Fortune II and cut it down to 2 1/2 stars (out of 5) partially because of its bad AI and storyline, but also because of its overly-realistic violence. I think there's a backlash against hyperrealism going on. I know I don't want to grenade someone and see their guts laying everywhere in a game. I know it happens, but that's too much.

  • Please... (Score:3, Informative)

    by dh003i (203189) <.dh003i. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:50PM (#4339832) Homepage Journal
    Such general statements as "violent games" good/bad for people are absurd.

    It depends on the person.

    Some people will use it as a stress reliever. Its good for those people.

    Others will get too into it and become hyper-competitive; it'll make them stressed, and they'll get up tight. Probably bad for those people.

    Point is, it depends on the person.

    One person derives please from that which causes pain in another. For example, while some people may love cottage cheese and it brings them pleasure, it makes me sick.
  • Perhaps that's a valid positive aspect of violence in video games. But what about the negatives: that it desensitizes us to violence, and we even grow to enjoy it? Take television as an example. When I look around in the U.S., I see a nation of television addicts, whose priorities, interests, and cultural views are largely influenced by what they absorb watching television. One inevitable aspect of watching a lot of TV is witnessing violence. This might provide a cathartic outlet for some of us, but I think it also trains us to accept, expect, and even enjoy such violence... after all, if people didn't enjoy it, it wouldn't sell, so it wouldn't be on TV. Now, maybe adults can separate reality from fantasy (I personally don't believe this, but it is arguable), but can kids? From my experience, they are *drastically* less adept at this than adults, and I think adults forget this (until they have kids of their own, and then begin to take a conservative viewpoint on it - for a reason). Video games are in the same boat. Violent video games also desensitize people to what real-life acts of violence - such as murder and war - mean. Violence becomes glorified; it gets associated with fun, recreation, pleasure, endorfins. I'm not saying that what this study says is wrong; I'm sure that video-game violence is a cathartic outlet and can sometimes play a positive role. But that's only one aspect of it; we have to look at the big picture. Now, I know a lot of you slashdotters love video games, and I expect to get ripped for this one... but please, you don't have to dismember me - let's keep the discussion fair and mature, ok? Ryan Geiss
  • by gelfling (6534) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @05:52PM (#4339843) Homepage Journal
    People ARE violent. Games are not going to mitigate or ameliorate that. You know why we are violent? Because for 2 million years we've killed, eaten and dominated all comers.

    Our ONLY evolutionary advantage is not big brains or stereoscopic vision or opposable thumbs. It's aggression. It's our unquenchable lust to be the last one standing, dripping with someone else's blood.
    • Our ONLY evolutionary advantage is not big brains or stereoscopic vision or opposable thumbs. It's aggression. It's our unquenchable lust to be the last one standing, dripping with someone else's blood

      Dude, lay off the Red Bull.

      Actually, all joking aside, there is a good point there. I'm not sure I would go so far, but it is true: humans are evolutionarily designed to be aggressive and violent. That doesn't make it good, however. We're also designed to have a pretty short life expectancy, but we're of course trying to change that.

    • Last time I checked, there were a lot of animals with this same trait, including all predators and many prey animals too. Predators violently kill and eat their prey. Both violently fight with members of their own species over territory or mates. Even my cats fight with each other on occassion because one annoys the other somehow.

      Humans are just different in that somehow, some of us just seem to "snap" and totally lose perspective and rationality. Animals fight each other over territory or mates, but they usually don't kill each other; one will give up at some point. The aggressor isn't actually intent on murdering the other, just achieving his goal. Humans, on the other hand, go nuts and find pleasure in murdering each other.

      I think something's gone horribly wrong either in our biology or in the way we as a society raise our children.
      • Just to make your point more interesting, it has been observed in higher primates (our cloest relative) for males (most aggressive) to "snap" and kill their prodigy. Experts are always baffeled when it happens in a small community. It's the closest thing to homicide we see in nature.
    • Our ONLY evolutionary advantage is not big brains or stereoscopic vision or opposable thumbs.



      Uhh, I'll remember to 'just get angry' if a huge gorilla comes after me instead of shooting him with a rifle.

      The only reason humans dominate the world is because we can use our brains to build things. Either making a plow to farm or a spear to kill something, thats our legacy. If we couldn't create tools such as plows, spears, language, math and machine guns we'd still be picking fleas off each other.

    • Our ONLY evolutionary advantage is not big brains or stereoscopic vision or opposable thumbs. It's aggression. It's our unquenchable lust to be the last one standing, dripping with someone else's blood.

      Ahhhh!!! So that explains why bears, lions, sharks, feral cats, and the ugly thugs running around my crappy little town are higher on the food chain then the rest of us. Riiiight.

      Where orifice did you pull *THAT* theory out of and who the hell modded you up for it?

      I hate to break it to you, but through the begining of our history we were scavangers. It wur intelligence, stereoscopic vision, and opposable thumbs that made the transition to preditor possible. It's greed, not bloodlust, that makes us want to control and conquer everything else.

      Hatred and anger are primal tools for dealing with envy, fear and injury...

      You come off as a kid who's been bullied his whole life and hates everyone... Please try to relax.
  • This is a pretty classic example of people trying to pass the buck on who is responsible for their children and what they do. Regardless of whether violent images in video games harm, help or do nothing at all to children, the responsibility for deciding what is appropriate for each child and the consequences of that choice lies with the parents. If your kid has no friends and spends 12 hours a day in front of the tv, IT IS YOUR FAULT not the broadcasters who provide the shows. YOU should be monitoring what your child watches, just like YOU should be monitoring what your child does online. Passing the buck by enacting more useless and unenforceable legislation merely provides additional opportunity for lawsuits and does nothing at all for the children who are so easily used as examples of what is "wrong" with each industry. Those kids need involved parents, not more laws that regulate what they can do/see/say/think.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Computer games don't affect kids.
    If Pac Man affected us as kids, we would all be running around in
    darkened rooms, munching pills, and listening to repetitive music.
  • Trust me, I am not a troll...

    I've always thought that cursing was a cathartic release. Get a little built up rage, let out a good string of 4 letter words, and you feel much better. You don't kick the dog as often.

    It might not be proven that these games are good for kids, but it seems to be an intuitive conclusion. Doing violent things in fantasy is always preferable to doing violent things in real life.

    A lot of things that uppity people label as "bad" are made worse if you ban them! Now we can tie this entire thread into everything from porn to alcohol and drugs. Quit banning things! There's a REASON people seek an escape from real life! Sometimes that reason is to deflect seriously unsocial behaviors into a harmless fantasy world.

  • NEIN! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sj0 (472011) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @06:00PM (#4339903) Homepage Journal
    NO!

    One should only supress emotions such as anger and hatred, so they can stoke a fire inside you, rather than making you look angry, until you destroy the world in a fit of rage! DEATH TO INFIDELS!!! DEATH TO NON INFIDELS!!! Oh. I feel better now. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    Supression, not control, is the answer!

    Ask me, three time serial-killer killcount award winner SJ Zero!
  • by Tony.Tang (164961) <.slashdot. .at. .sleek.hn.org.> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @06:00PM (#4339908) Homepage Journal
    "Experts on childhood and adolescence have long recognised the importance of violent fantasy play in overcoming anxieties, processing anger, and providing outlets for aggression."

    I would really like to know who these "experts" are. This notion of "playing out fantasies" or "venting of aggression" in the psychological literature is known as catharsis. Any first year psychology student SINCE the time of Freud is taught that the notion of catharsis is false [google.ca].

    Note: I am not saying that the group is wrong in what it is doing; only that the reporter is claiming results that have been demonstrated to be false for quite some time.

  • The idea is that venting provides a sort of release so that people will not have to take out their rage on others. However, recent evidence by Bushman (Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 28, No. 6, 2002; not available on-line for free) suggests that venting actually increases anger. He ran an experiment in which he angered subjects, then distracted them to think about something else or allowed them to hit a punching bag to "vent" their anger. The punching bag group became more, not less, angry.

    Having them punch a bag may have kept the focus of their anger more fully in mind. It may have also raised their physical arousal level (a correlate of anger) allowing them to better maintain their anger level.
  • James Morrow wrote a beautiful novel called The Wine of Violence [powells.com] partly about the cathartic effects of violent fantasy. Morrow is probably the best satirical writer in English, and one of the best since Jonathan Swift.

    Briefly, a spaceship returning to Earth stumbles upon a planet where people live in harmony inside a walled city. There's no violence, physical or psychological, at all. Periodically these people go to special temples and live out their most violent fantasies in virtual reality; the ecto-plasmic by-product of this fantasy is called "noctus" and it pours out to surround the walls of the city.

    See, the wastelands around the city are populated by the brain-eaters, humanoids who indulge their violent tendancies to the extreme. Problematically, the crew of the ship must convince the peaceful city-folk to wage war on the brain-eaters so they can return to their ship and escape.

    This plot is mostly a hanger for Morrow's explorations of the nature of humanity and violence. Morrow's other writings [powells.com] are also fascinating. He's one of three or four SF authors I'll buy in hardback 'cause I can't wait for paper. :)
  • by an unknown author:

    I believe a self-righteous liberal with a cause is alot more dangerous than a Playstation.

    'Nuff Said.
  • I played hundreds of hours of violent games all through my youth, sat through thousands of hours of violent television and movies, and read dozens, nay, hundreds of books involving violence, death, and bloodshed.

    Yet I haven't been in anything resembling a fight since I was in eighth grade, 11 years ago; I'm opposed to war, using violence to solve societal problems, and so on. Have I ever had the urge to run some asshole off the road, or punch some jerk in the face? Sure. But I'm able to restrain myself.

    This doesn't prove that violent games are harmless to everyone; but it does prove that it's at least possible for someone to be exposed to large amounts of violent content without becoming some kind of... whatever it is that the anti-violence lobby thinks you turn into. A Columbine killer, I suppose. Given that the overwhelming majority of kids who play violent games do not themselves become violent adults, if a kid plays violent games and becomes violent himself, it's because he's either stupid, or insane, or was never taught that actual violence is wrong.

    We don't ban hammers because some sociopath kills someone with a hammer now and then; and we shouldn't ban video games because some asshole who played them kills someone now and then.
  • by teslatug (543527)
    This is getting annoying...it seems like every odd day there is a study showing something is good for you, and every even day there is one saying exactly the opposite. I have gotten to the point of not trusting any study and going on common sense. Eight hours of simulated killing a day is not good for you, just as eight hours a day of talking about peace, the environment, world good, etc would make you want to kill someone (even if yourself).

    Give it up already.
  • by MongooseCN (139203) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @06:35PM (#4340140) Homepage
    If my kid Tommy needs to take his aggression out, I don't want him taking it out on video games. It's far better for him to take it out on his classmates, friends and neighbors dog. Actually the neighbors dog isn't around any longer since Tommy got his last test back, so it will have to be his friends and classmates.
  • I think that we just need to look at the reasons WHY violent games are popular if we want to understand this question. Violent games sell well because many people think they are good entertainment. And the reason for this is that people are inherently aggressive.

    Now, most people know when it's acceptable to be aggressive and when it's not. And playing violent games is a socially acceptable way of being aggressive, and a way that allows people who are usually at the receiving end of agression in real life to act out their agressive fantasies without any lasting effects.

    In my opinion, violent games are simply a natural thing for humans to create given human nature. I don't think that they are going to change our nature one way or the other, because they are a reflection of the nature we already have.

  • Why do people accept that most video games, even Mario and Pokemon, require the player to beat other characters to death or unconsciousness, but get bothered by sex appeal? DOAVB and BMXXX don't even let the player have consentual sex, they only have skimpy clothing and some stripping, and in real life stripping is nothing compared to killing. Why does everybody ignore that?

    Parents, would you prefer your kid to murder someone or play doctor?
  • by Zapdos (70654) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:48PM (#4340893)
    Smoking is good for you [193.78.190.200]

    Video Games may not cause cancer, but anything to excess is bad. Most gaming time can easily be spent doing something else, something better for you than the games are.

    I know of several young children that have picked up the finer aspects of violent video games such as cursing, bad hand gestures, rude comments. Yes it is true that there are other sources to obtain these skills, but why add to the list?

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