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BBC Argues Games Don't Cause Violence 398

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the wheel-of-blame-pinning dept.
RandBlade writes "BBC News has an article on the argued link between violent games and real violence. It examines both scientific evidence, different theories and the facts in order to conclude 'that it is trite and irresponsible of ill-informed commentators to claim that games like Grand Theft Auto are central to terrible crime.'" It's good to know that gamers are not all killing machines lying in wait, or that E3 is not the most potentially dangerous convention ever.
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BBC Argues Games Don't Cause Violence

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  • Wrong (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:31PM (#8211832)
    I was once a fervent KILLER in 3D on-line multiplayer blood&splash games. And let me tell you - it DOES influence you. Negatively.
  • really (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mabhatter654 (561290) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:33PM (#8211844)
    considering most people that live the "Grand Theft" lifestyle probably never even SAW a PS2! ...they are way too poor and screwed up. GTA:VC is mostly a hollywood-syle diversion for spoiled little middle class kids...who wouldn't have the guts to walk down the streets depicted in the game anyway!!!
  • by another misanthrope (688068) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:33PM (#8211848)
    Itchy and Scratchy and Marge already covered this:

    Meyers: I did a little research and I discovered a startling thing...
    There was violence in the past, long before cartoons were invented.
    Kent: I see. Fascinating.
    Meyers: Yeah, and know something, Karl? The Crusades, for instance.
    Tremendous violence, many people killed, the darned thing went on for thirty years.
    Kent: And this was before cartoons were invented?
    Meyers: That's right, Kent.
    -- `Smartline', ``Itchy and Scratchy and Marge''
  • yet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:37PM (#8211868)
    violent games and the statistically insignificant, high-profile gamer-related violent crime are very popular scapegoats.

    think of the children! especially the ones we don't want to take responsability of raising!
  • by October_30th (531777) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:39PM (#8211877) Homepage Journal
    It examines both scientific evidence, different theories and the facts in order to conclude

    Scientific theories and evidence have never been any good in convincing the hysterical please-think-of-the-children crowd. These people have already made their minds and nothing will change their position.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pe1rxq (141710) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:39PM (#8211878) Homepage Journal
    Ever thought that the game wasn't the cause of your problems but just a way for them to come out?
    The problem is that some people can be easily influenced, that on itself is a problem, subjecting such kids to mushroom policy isn't going to help....

    Jeroen

    Mushroom policy: Keep them in the dark, Feed them shit and chop their heads off when they look up.
  • by cy_a253 (713262) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:41PM (#8211888)
    The people you kill in videogames are not real.

    The danger arises when something goes wrong in someone's mental development and that person comes to believe that people's lives *in reality* are worth nothing, just like in videogames.

    This "sliding" of definition (imaginary people = real people = ok to kill) is NOT caused by videogames. Someone who is mentally unstable enough to kill over a videogame would be triggered as well by violent movies, books or his own violent mental imagery.
  • by Trelane (16124) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:42PM (#8211890) Journal
    Scientific theories and evidence have never been any good in convincing the hysterical please-think-of-the-children crowd. These people have already made their minds and nothing will change their position.


    The same can be said of the other party in this debate, fwiw.
  • Motivations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johnhennessy (94737) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:42PM (#8211894)
    You often hear people claiming that games/films influenced their actions but at the end of the day its a cop out for taking responsibility for their own actions.

    People have been taking inspiration from Art for years - whether film, books, or in more recent time you could claim video games. No one forces people to read these books, watch these films or play these games - they choose to. If someone decides to go nuts, its their own personal decision - a game doesn't make that decision for them. Now the manner in which they go nuts - thats a different story.
  • Re:really (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:44PM (#8211904)
    Insightful my arse. "Spoiled little middle class kids" are the most dangerous demographic out there. Columbine anyone?
  • by MonkeysKickAss (735143) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#8211924) Journal
    Games do not cause violence but they do desensitize children to violence and they don't take crimes of violence serious. When they play wrestling games they usually will imitate the wrestling moves and hurt someone without realizing it.
  • Weak article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#8211925)
    I am emotionally in favour of the notion that games do not influence real life behaviour. The article, however, is mostly fluff. There is no concrete backup for any of the statements made. I remain unsure as to whether (and if so to what degree) games role playing can bring out violent behaviour.
  • blame someone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stocke2 (600251) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#8211926)
    the big problem is no one wants to take responsibility for their actions, and some parents don't want to take responsibility for not teaching their kids well. The easiest thing for these people to do is blame someone else....and video games are just really convenient.
  • Re:really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:48PM (#8211932)
    Columbine anyone?

    Okay you named one tragedy in the last 20 years. Name a couple more. Name some till it rises to the level of crime on a daily basis in the inner city.
  • by Zordas (596510) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:51PM (#8211950)
    I've herd these arguments all my life and I just have one question. What video game did Hitler or Stalin play ?
  • by ir0b0t (727703) * <mjewell.openmissoula@org> on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:51PM (#8211951) Homepage Journal
    There is a well-documented connection between actual guns and violence. Yet many would prefer to regulate simulated guns and simulated violence.

    Despite studies of this nature, I worry that there will continue to be resistance (in the Western US at least) to *any* type of regulatory initiative directed at actual guns, no matter how reasonable.

    Its also troubling because regulation of simulated violence presents a greater burden and risk to principles of free speech and expression --- without any corresponding social benefit except for those who object to the content of the games being regulated.

  • by Henry V .009 (518000) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:53PM (#8211967) Journal
    But surely a person's "mental development" that you refer to is not entirely biological? Culture plays a large role in crime. Look at the crime boom in the 60s.

    There are a lot of factors that go into whether or not a person turns into a criminal. The media is not the biggest one, but it is not a small one either. And since low IQ is also a very big factor, video games and movies are generally far more dangerous than books will ever be.
  • by DrMindWarp (663427) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:54PM (#8211969)
    ...so it doesn't argue anything!

    It's reporters might discuss the issues but the BBC itself is not putting forward any of it's own ideas.

    Can't Slashdot distinguish the message from the messengers ?

  • by Cthefuture (665326) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:54PM (#8211974)
    Like so many things out there that people try to link to certain behaviours there is a certain amount of truth to it.

    Be it music, TV, games, whatever, they all have some effect on most people and more of an effect on others. So if someone has tendencies towards violence then violent games may help fuel that fire. Not that they wouldn't be violent without the game, but the game probably doesn't help.

    I remember my teenage years and I remember thinking that such-and-such doesn't effect me. However, looking back I can see that certain things helped justify unhealthy behavious and so I continued to do things that ended up hurting me in the end. Again, this is not to say that I would not have ever done anything like that anyway but having those fuels definately made it easier.

    It would be better if people could take notice of what effects them and not do those things (be it alcohol, violent games, whatever). But people are just too stupid to do that so maybe we do need rules. Isn't that why we have laws in the first place? Too many stupid people.
  • by pirhana (577758) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @12:59PM (#8212004)
    Actually when I read your post, I found myself in it. I have been using linux exclusively for more than 4 years(for both work and home). I am very happy with it also. I just can't stand windows. I used to wonder why people(even slashdotters) would stick with windows ? then I realised that there was something wchich I never go after and for these people its something without which they cannot live. Its GAMES. This is the single most important thing holding many people from migrating to linux IMHO. I have not played any game for more than a minute ever in my life. I am not underestimating games. I am just saying that there are people like me who love linux and spend their life with it without playing any game.
  • thank you, finally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dindi (78034) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:01PM (#8212015) Homepage
    I just have to say, that I agree...

    Ratings on games are important imho, yes a 5 year old might think that grabbing someone out of a car and beating the person with a baseball bat is cool after playing GTA, but I do not think that a grown up is really inspired that way by violent games...

    I am a fan of Silent HILL, Fatal frame, and many Rainbowsix3, GTA, and many FPS shooters and fighting games, and I feel the gaming violence entertaining.... however I think it settles down my agression/violence, not improves it ...

    Yes after playing offroad fury, I ride my ATV/Bike aggressive in the woods ....
    Yes after playing Silent Hill 3 for 4 hours in the dark I have the tendency to scare my wife just for a laugh ..

    NO after playing Rainbowsix-3 I won't get a sniper rifle and start playing jungle fight in my neighborhood ... and after playing GTA I won't beat up grandpa for his pickup or beat up hookers for their money ...

    If someone is dangerous, they will get more violence influence from any Hollywood movie, from any local horror-video-rental place.

  • gamers are not.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cheeze (12756) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:01PM (#8212017) Homepage
    ...all killing machines lying in wait

    but some are, so those pesky reporters better keep their mouthes shut.

    no really, people that think movies and video games spark violence act like there were no violence before tv and games. This isn't star trek. All animals have some sort of violence built in for survival. If anything, the violence from just watching the local or national news is the one doing the corrupting.
  • by wirelessbuzzers (552513) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:04PM (#8212040)
    Nobody claimed that video games cause all violence, just that they contribute to it, i.e. that people are more likely to be violent after playing video games. I don't have any evidence one way or another on this.

    Asbestos can cause lung cancer, but lots of people have died of lung cancer without being exposed to it (say, by cigarettes).
  • by hoggoth (414195) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:04PM (#8212041) Journal
    > E3 is not the most potentially dangerous convention ever.

    No, perhaps THIS [nraam.org] is the most dangerous convention ever.

    Or, depending on your point of view one [democrats.org] of these [rnc.org] may be the most dangerous convention ever.

  • by deacon (40533) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:07PM (#8212056) Journal
    There is a well-documented connection between actual guns and violence

    Correct.

    It has been repeatedly shown that taking guns away from law-abiding citizens makes them easy targets for violent criminals, who, by definition, do not obey laws, including gun regulation laws.

    Just picking an example at random, the University of Arizona is a gun-free zone, which did nothing to prevent [instapundit.com]the shooting there.

  • by kaan (88626) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:12PM (#8212089)
    I admit I did not rtfa, but I already believe games are not to blame for violence in this country. Why? Well we hear it all the time in the mainstream news -heavy metal music is making kids kill each other, Grand Theft Auto is making kids kill each other, freely available handguns and high-power firearms is why kids kill each other, violence on TV and in movies is what makes kids kill each other, the broken marriages, high divorce rates and single-family homes are robbing kids of the stability at home and thus they grow up insecure and want to kill each other, ......

    The interesting thing is this:

    - the United States is not the only country with alienated youth, check out Japanese kids (in Japan) or countires throughout Europe. In fact, isn't it part of growing up to be alienated and not fit in? Most of us didn't fit in when we were growing up, but who cares?

    - the divorce rate in the U.S. is not the highest in the world, Brittain is higher. But we don't see the Brits killing each other left and right, or blaming everyone and their dog for why the other is so violent.

    - mainstream music and movies can't be blamed, because they are ALL available in other countries, and in some cases might even be "taken more seriously" by foreigners who idolize the American way of life, so how can we blame movies, TV and music?

    - the availability of guns in this country isn't totally to blame either - look at Canadians, they've got millions of guns throughout the country, but we don't see the Kanucks blowing each other's heads off.

    I never really had a cohesive perspective on this stuff until I watched Bowling for Columbine [imdb.com]. This is exactly what the movie is about - investigating why this country is so obsessed with violence. The answer, according to Michael Moore (and I totally agree with him), is that we live in a society that thrives on fear.

    We're afraid of being robbed, insulted, embarassed... We're afraid we'll get too fat, or get too thin, or be unhealthy about our diet.... We're afraid we won't fit in, or won't get laid this weekend, or can't get a promotion at work, or might get fired, and what the hell am I gonna do when I retire? and how are my kids going to possibly afford college on their own?! and jesus what is up with social security?....

    It just goes on and on, and we finally get to fear over our kids, and that's where all the blame lands on TV, movies, music, and video games. If the average parent would spend real quality time with their kids instead of plopping them in front of the fucking television night after night, things in this country might start turning for the better.

    I wrote about this on my blog [erdener.org] when I saw the movie a few months ago. For any interested parties, here's a link to The Charlie Rose Show [bloomberg.com] where Michael Moore was interviewed.
  • by relrelrel (737051) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:17PM (#8212120)
    the cool thing is that you got Score:5, Insightful

  • by James Lewis (641198) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:26PM (#8212182)
    I don't think arguements such as the kind this article presents will ever convince those in the "please think of the children" crowd. The reason may partly be that they don't care about the facts, but I think the stronger, more important reason these arguements don't work is that the main objection this group has with these games isn't that they really think it will turn everyone into killers. That is just FUD. The real reason is that they have a moral objection to violence in games, and that's not something you can fight with facts. Their perspective is, "How horrible! Why would anyone want to pretend to kill people!!!???". They see these games as being EVIL, and their perception that it is a threat to society is based more on that than anything else. Even if somehow, no murderer had ever played a video game (which would seem statistically impossible), these people would still object to violence in games based on moral and religious grounds.
  • by heironymouscoward (683461) <heironymouscowardNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:30PM (#8212214) Journal
    Surely wishy-washy attempts to trace cultural influences of violence ignore the basic evidence that the human male character and physique have been selected for violence amongst other traits, and this for at least millions of years.

    I've seen violent behaviour in children from the ages of 7 up, and it is not influenced by watching others any more than children who doodle patterns in the sand are influenced by watching art.

    From watching people, I would say violence is latent in most young men (and the occasional woman, but it's much rarer) especially between the ages of 16 and 25. You can definitely shift these limits - see child soldiers who kill at the age of 7 and up. But violence is almost never random and spontaneous, except in sick people. Violent behaviour is almost a predictable and (from the individual's point of view) a rational response to an environment where it's the best strategy for success.

    In other words: place a normal young male in a social setting where violence is the best route to success (which simply means reproductive success through whatever short or long-term route), and you will see a violent young male emerge. Place the same male in a setting where intellectual and commercial ambition are better strategies, and you will see a young man who puts his energies into those directions.

    There are extreme cases - people who are violent in most settings, and people who are not violent in most settings - but we're talking about mass influence here, right?

    Video games are in no possible way a factor in deciding how to proceed in life. They are fantasy, and even a six-year old child can maintain totally coherent fantasy worlds that do not affect their real life.

    So the debate about video games is on the wrong track entirely... we can solve problems of violence in youth only by changing economics of behaviour so that non-violence works better. It's quite possible that suppressing violent video games could even increase violent tendencies, since they provide an avenue for expression of violent nature, in the same way as porn provides an safe avenue for sexual fantasy.

    Luckily the formula for reducing violent behaviour seems clear: a stable system of government where long-term good behaviour is rewarded and short-term bad behaviour is suboptimal.

    Modern societies are incredibly pacifistic compared with historical ones. The USA may seem violent compared to Switzerland, but it's a haven of peace and calm compared to most places on earth.
  • by sbaker (47485) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:31PM (#8212216) Homepage
    Society has still not decided whether TV violence causes actual violence - let alone the lack of conclusive proof for Rap music lyrics-induced violence, Board-game-induced violence (remember Dungeons-and-Dragons?) Cinematically-induced violence, promiscuity after listening to Elvis records, Radio Play-induced violence, Book violence, Bayeux-tapestry-induced violence (have you *seen* that thing? It oughta have at least a 'PG-13' rating), Cave painting violence or racial-memory induced violence.

    Until we understand the impact of all of those other things, there is little hope that this issue will ever be conclusively resolved for Video games, Holodeck novellas or any other story-telling media we may come up with in the future.
  • by stubear (130454) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:34PM (#8212235)
    When I was growing up it was Ozzy Osbourne,KISS and D&D that caused kids to kill and commit suicide. Ozzy is still wailing away to this date, KISS is still jumping round on stage with make-up on and D&D has grown way beyond the pamphlets I sarted with. I'm sure my copy of Grand Theft Auto: Double Pack (XBOX) will seem tame by comparison to the level of reality obtained in video games 10 years from now. The only thing to do is just ride the wave and let the "grown-ups" fight it out.
  • by bstadil (7110) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:41PM (#8212272) Homepage
    Look at this article [thewhir.com] how BBC covered the latest MyDoom outbreak.

    Basically they just spouted the SCO byline with no effort to avail themselves of any information concerning the origin and purpose of the virus.

    Now why would you want to concern yourselves with anything else they write.

  • by Inv8r Zim (748854) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:42PM (#8212283)
    "but they do desensitize children to violence"

    I think video games might desensitize children to video game violence, but there's little chance a child's reaction to real-world violence would be greatly affected. The two experiences are fundamentally different. Imagine the difference between seeing a castle made of Legos in a toy store and going to Buckingham Palace. If a child acts out a video game and hurts someone, that child was already capable of violence.

  • by lazypenguingirl (743158) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:45PM (#8212312) Journal
    I've seen many parents in articles and on TV talking about violent video games and saying such things as "I never knew that game was violent" and then complain that stricter labeling or even removing them from some stores is needed (thus barring legitimate adults from easily purchasing them). While ironically Sam Goody now has a large DVD porn section with only cute opaque plastic slips with playboy bunnies on them in front of the first DVD to hide them.

    The other day I was at a Gamestop (getting Gothic II), and there was a mother there with her two little boys. Her little boys kept looking at games and saying, "Mommy, get me that one, and that one." To which she was very acquiescent. She was there purchasing a few new memory cards for the Game Cube. When the clerk said, "Okay, here are two Game Cube memory cards," she said, "Game Cube? I need memory cards for the Nintendo." Meanwhile in the background, the two little kids were in fact discussing GTA... and acting it out against each other. It was.... disturbing. But more than anything, it made me rather angry. If this woman wasn't even too clear about what console she was buying memory cards for, you can be sure as hell she has no idea about the content of the games she buys for them, and didn't really seem to care either. I've seen similar sights before too. It seems people like her are using games as a proxy for parenting, keeping the kids quiet and out of their way. I admit, I was playing Doom with my dad as a middle schooler, but it wasn't a substitution for parenting. I may have played games like that with their knowledge, but I had the parents who demanded to know who I was with, where and why 24/7 and any applicable contact info. My parents called the shots.... nowadays it seems the kids themselves are.
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @01:49PM (#8212349) Homepage Journal
    So to those who say that violent games do not cause violence, then what does? Was that person born evil?

    Oh, I dunno, maybe being slapped around a lot? Maybe watching daddy punch and push mommy 'till she's on the floor?
    I was the nicest sweetest kid until I went to school, there I met kids who weren't the nicest and sweetest they could be. I learned violence at school: ban the schools.

    I think the relationship between violent games and violence is like the relationship between carcinogens and cancer.

    And I think the relationship betwee violent games and violence is like the relationship between made-for-tv movies about cancer and cancer.
  • by zokrath (593920) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @02:04PM (#8212465)
    The most extreme defenders of the 'video games cause violence' theory are those that believe a perfectly normal and good natured young person can be corrupted simply by playing a violent video game. They see the kids that commited these crimes, from columbine to the recent highway shootings, as victims, and video games as the 'trigger' that set them off.

    A comparison to another nation is indeed a valid point in favor of videogames as a cause of violence. The videogames are a constant, as is the majority of the human mind. If a child in Tokyo plays violent video games and is not at all violent, while a child in Idaho plays those same violent video games and goes on a killing spree, then it would seem to me that the environment or personality of the child is a more likely cause than the game.

    As to your views on players being 'evil' in games; calling someone sick for choosing dialogue option 2 instead of 1 and then changing the "is_Alive" bit from 1 to 0 for a database entry represented by a humanoid coloud of polygons seems rather self-righteous.

    There were also very few 'innocents' in Knights of the old republic. The primary component of the Dark side is selfishness; killing others to lessen risk for yourself, or for a monetary reward, or for the thrill. Yes, these are all evil and twisted paths of thought, but they are my characters, not mine. Accusing me of personfying myself in an evil video game character is rather hypcritical when you admit to playing the game yourself. It would be rediculous to accuse you of being a crazy person that belive himself to be a Jedi out to save the galaxy.

    And what of the scripters that designed those numerous choices of light versus dark? Are they enablers for giving you access to those evil "is_Alive" bits? Perhaps they are the most evil of all, ensaring unqitting players into the folds of the dark side. Right...

    I am not an evil or sadistic person. Honestly I have trouble killing things larger than dimes, even painlessly. But I have no problem fragging you online, or setting my character loose on an unsuspecting crowd, because they are abstractions; graphical representations of game data. They do not live, they do not think, they do not care. When the game is reset they are reborn, when the game is turned off they cease to exist.

    The only thing that shows how people act in real life is life itself. Interactions between real people, not their respective visual abstractions. When you play chess with an englishman and take his queen, you are not making threats against the Crown of Britain. You are playing a game. Is the piece captured, imprisoned, killed? No, it is set on the side of the board, because it is a game, and there are rules, and removing pieces from the board is part of the game.

    If you don't want to, you can avoid taking pieces; you will lose, but then that is your perogative. You can play the game how you choose, and the only thing it says about how you act in real life is how you play chess. Because it is only a game; nothing more, nothing less.
  • Re:really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zaffir (546764) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @02:20PM (#8212555)
    So... two kids, out of the millions in this country that play video games, shoot up their school. Tens of millions of kids play violent video games every day. Two have actually commited real violence. Sure seems like these video games cause problems! Let's just ignore the fact that these kids might have been really fucked in the head.

    Furthermore, my college campus - a place with lots of "spoiled middle class kids" - is the safest campus in the country. 90% of the kids here play video games at least three or four hours a day. Where's all of our crime? If the middle class kids are the most dangerous, why am i not running for my life from crazed GTA players?
  • Choice? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gldm (600518) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @02:44PM (#8212794)
    But you forget that children aren't people so they can't choose anything. They're just some weird cross between pets and property until they turn 18 and then they magically become human beings with the capability of sentient thought and equal rights... unless they're gay. Oh and they can't drink... or get a credit card... or rent a car... and have to pay outrageous insurance rates. But other than that they've got the same rights as everyone else under the constitution once they've passed the arbitrary temporal threshold without regard for physical, mental, or emotional maturity or capability.
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @02:49PM (#8212847) Journal
    ...but please: if you are seriously saying that playing violent video games and seeing a constant barrage of simulated violence DOESN'T have a behavioral effect on people, then someone should tell companies that every penny they are spending on advertising doesn't work.

    If they are spending million$ on showing you a lifestyle or a fashion or a behavior that will lead you to buy their product, they must have some justification?

    So is it inconceivable that a similar series of totally negative images and behaviors would have a negative effect on kids?
  • by elainerd (94528) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @02:59PM (#8212933) Homepage
    No sir. There is a well documented connection between actual violent people and violence. Guns are inanimate objects they don't make you do violence (ever read Terry Pratchett's Men at Arms). I have never seen actual violence (aside from documentaries) from a gun and only seen it simulated on Hollywood and videogames. I live in America and in the area I live in gun ownership is very high. If what you say is true why am I so comfortable when so many of my neighbors own guns. Maybe the media and "thinktank" groups you are listening to need to be a bit more honest about their propag^h^h^h^h^h Studies. Wouldn't it be real nice though if we could just blame inanimate objects for human failings.
  • The real reason (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TR0GD0RtheBURNiNAT0R (734295) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @03:20PM (#8213098)
    As a member of the age group commonly targeted as violent, drug-addicted, and just generally evil, I think I can provide some insight.

    First, many of us are extreemly upset with how stupid the world seems today. I know this is probably charistic of teenagers throughout time, but it seems to me that my generation is very extreme in these viewpoints. Example: many of us hate Geroge W. Bush. Not because of his politics, but because he is a dumbass.

    Now, this hatred of society generally gets channeled into one of three forms:

    Attempts at change. Some teenagers decide to try to fix things. Unfortunatly, we are rarely taken seriously, and thus, most would-be reformers eventually fall into the second response:

    Rebellion. This includes: somking, drinking, doing drugs, sleeping around, occasional shoplifting, listining to "offensive" music, and, of coures, playing violent video games. These things aren't done for the sake of doing them, but rather because "mainstream" society shuns them.

    The third response generally includes events such as Columbine. I think this is pretty self-explainitory.

    Now, how would teenagers playing GTA3 affect younger children? I'll tell you: pop culture generally stresses that, somehow, teenagers are "cool". This is why you see 7 year old girls dressing like sluts. And it is why young children feel the need to play violent video games.

    Now, as to whether these games cause violent behavior, my humble oppinion is that most of the "violent" children that the talking heads say were bred by "media violence", are actually just violent people, who happen to prefer violent video games to other entertainment. (btw, I find it ironic that after the news people are done blaming the latest violent act on violent media, a 5-hour COPS marathon starts)

    Fianlly, the "blame the media" response is leveled by the parents of antisocial children, because the parents are too damn lazy to raise their own children, and just park them in front of the TV all day. Well, what did you expect?

    So, next time you see one of those "special reports" on TV violence, or whatever, remember this post.

  • profound stupidity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tgibbs (83782) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @03:43PM (#8213277)
    How many tragedies in the last 20 years does it take? Why can't one be enought to change our mindset? would you rather it repeat itself?

    Because it is profound stupidity to seek general explanations of singular events. Singular events generally have singular explanations--a rare confluence of circumstances that is unlikely to repeat.

    Of course, that sort of violence will repeat itself, not because the particular confluence of personalities and events that caused the first one repeats, but because we can't seem to stop talking about it. Huge numbers of disaffected young people saw a handful of kids just like them receive concentrated and ongoing media attention as a result of one violent action. That is an influence far more profound than a million copies of Grand Theft Auto.
  • by tgibbs (83782) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @03:49PM (#8213340)
    Nobody claimed that video games cause all violence, just that they contribute to it, i.e. that people are more likely to be violent after playing video games. I don't have any evidence one way or another on this.

    However, as video games have become more popular, more violent, and more realistic, the rate of violence by the age group that plays videogames has steadily dropped. Now that doesn't prove that videogames don't cause violence, but it does prove that any such effect would have to be negligible compared to other social factors.
  • by dandelion_wine (625330) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @03:51PM (#8213358) Journal
    Man, the way those lines were delivered was clearly an indication that this was a parody of the way news interviews simplify complicated issues, scoring cheap, but not decisive, points.

    I'm on the same side here -- I'm from the generation that Dungeons and Dragons would turn into evil, raving, psycho-killers.

    But this whole -- there was __ before -- logic is crap. Maybe *I*, as an individual psycho, decide wholly on the basis of AC/DC lyrics to do some unspeakable act. Fact 1: I'd have to be pretty screwed up to begin with. Fact 2: "There were killers before AC/DC" doesn't really have anything to do with this particular killing, the fact that I strangled him with bells painted red in his own blood. Maybe my natural violent tendencies would have found different expression instead -- maybe I just would have beaten the silly bastard. Who's to say?

    Everybody wants to deny the influence of everything, because absolutely unencumbered free will is a God-given (heh) right. "X determines behaviour" is a straw man, because the real argument is "X influences behaviour". Video games? Not in any way we can measure yet, in terms of violence. Just cause the kids in my elementary school were doing "Street Fighter moves" a few years ago, doesn't mean they wouldn't have been doing Bruce Lee moves a decade or two back.

    But put the "there was violence before" argument in the specious reasoning bin, along with the "I played video games and am not a psycho" anecdote logic, which coincides nicely with "what about Columbine" anecdote logic. Anecdotes prove nothing but what happened in an individual case (if you have insight on it). Leave it to the stats, people. So far, they show no relationship.
  • by Rallion (711805) on Saturday February 07, 2004 @03:57PM (#8213397) Journal
    First of all, you really started to piss me off when you said that kids who play GTA talk like little rappers. That's a wrong thing to say in more ways than one. And, also, means absolutely nothing, because as you say, they are not talking about the game they are talking about the fantasy world within it, and that has no bearing on what they think about the real world. Except maybe make them avoid the streets a bit more.

    As for playing evil in an RPG being sick...um..it's a game. You honestly believe humans are, at the deepest levels, pools radiating light and altruism and goodness? Hah, no such species would have made it this far. Your average person DOES have pretty sick fantasies. I thought this was pretty common knowledge. Games are outlets for those feelings, feelings that are NOT caused by the game itself, as you're playing.

    Bah, your self-righteousness sickens me.

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