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Games Science

Don't Study the Video Game, Study the Gamer 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the obvious-but-needs-to-be-said dept.
rrossman2 writes with this quote from a USA Today article about research recently presented to the American Psychological Association: "Video games — especially violent ones — are constantly under scrutiny from parents concerned about negative effects. Now, research suggests that those worries should focus more on the player's personality rather than the content of the games. 'If you're worried about a video game turning your son or daughter into a killer, don't worry about that,' says psychologist Patrick Markey of Villanova (Pa.) University. 'But is your kid moody, impulsive, or are they unfriendly? It's probably not the best idea to have that child play violent video games.' ... Markey found slight increases in hostility for those with certain personality traits: extremely high on neuroticism and extremely low on agreeableness and conscientiousness. ... 'We found — irrespective of violent content — the two highly competitive games produced more aggressive behavior than the two less competitive games,' [Markey said.]"
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Don't Study the Video Game, Study the Gamer

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  • Blame Canada? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Friday September 16, 2011 @06:11AM (#37418124) Homepage

    Children's violence is actually the fault of the child and his parents. News at 11.

    • "But my child is just pleasant! It must have been the video game!"

    • by jhoegl (638955)
      Studies shown to be paid attention to by people who want to reinforce their opinions. So this will largely unnoticed by the "think of the children" crowd.

      Oh yeah, news at 11:30
    • Re:Blame Canada? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Friday September 16, 2011 @06:59AM (#37418336) Journal

      "Children's violence is actually the fault of the child and his parents that use games and TV as a babysitter. News at 11." FTFY.

      My boys have been pretty much allowed to play any games that they wanted to play from a young age and I never worried about it because I actually sat and taught them how it all works. No mixing up reality and fantasy when you see how you can alter scripts to alter character movements, or tweak a DOOM Wad (dating myself there) to put your name on the walls, or fire up Unreal ED and show them how the different pieces come together to make levels. Did make for some interesting "cursing" from the oldest though. I'd hear things like "Look at the tearing! Who designed this mess? And this AI is a bad joke, I'm clearly in the line of sight! DUCK OR FIRE YOU STUPID SCRIPT!"

      But sadly I have picked them up from friends houses when they were younger and saw houses without a single book in them (my mom read "Sci/Fi writers of the 70s" to them like she did to me when I was little, aaww) where they frankly didn't care WHAT the kid did as long as it didn't involve them. Hell their kids could be watching snuff porn for all they knew, as long as the kid wasn't bugging them it was all good as far as they were concerned.

      Now while their kids are in dead end crap jobs the oldest is in his second year of pre-med and on the dean's list , and the youngest is trying to decide whether he would prefer to go for something that would help with his love of computer art or go with his love of cooking and be a chef.

      Both of them are kind and decent human beings and both only play violent games if they have more than just violence to offer like a compelling story or well made levels. That is what happens when you treat kids like they actually have a mind and give them knowledge and help them develop the ability to decide on their own, you find they actually develop taste and critical thinking skills and judge based on merits, not just how many bodies they can throw in.

      • by Noughmad (1044096)

        "Children's violence is actually the fault of the child and his parents that use games and TV as a babysitter. News at 11." FTFY.

        This was not technically a fix, it was an expansion. And I couldn't agree more.

        • by sjames (1099)

          Of course, it leaves off the whole having to have two incomes to make ends meet tends to leave children in the care of the TV.

          That always gets left off because it might dent profits for people at the top if we try to fix that.

    • Video games are also big advertisements that are designed to draw popular interest and attention. News at 10.

      Where's my Calculus Blaster Plus game? Not popular?

  • So, basically, video games can still turn anti-social ultra-competitive assholes into anti-social ultra-competitive assholes? Blows my mind.

  • My kids love to play Lego games (StarWars, Indiana Jones, Pirates...) maybe there is no killing per se, but to finish levels you have to fight, shot or use The Force. No violent games? Let me see... nope... don't know any. Even Cars for 3 years old is violent, you drive your favorite Cars character and smash other cars... I think that Mass Effect could fit that non-violent games a little. You run, talk, shot once, yawn... reload, yawn again, shot, run. There are no games which are not violent. Even Teletu
    • by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Friday September 16, 2011 @06:26AM (#37418190) Homepage

      There are no games which are not violent.

      There's plenty of non-violent games. Unfortunately, kind tend to think shooting is more cool than leading some ball around, building a city or solving various logical puzzles. Also, non-violent games are usually involve more thinking, which is frowned upon in modern society, even more so among children.

      Off the top of my head: Portal, SimCity, various Tycoon games, Neverball, Bejeweled, Tetris

      • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday September 16, 2011 @06:40AM (#37418254)
        Portal? That game where the psychopathic robot end boss tries to kill you by pumping a nerve toxin into the facility, having stated that the first bit blown off it was a module installed to stop it from pumping a lethal nerve gas into the facility?

        Where you defeat the boss by using portal mechanics to direct its own explosive munitions back at itself?

        Where you are frequently set upon by static turret pods with automatic weapons?

        That game where you have to drop the only item your character is supposed to have an emotional attachment to into an incinerator?

        Where you are almost burned alive by aforementioned psychopathic AI?

        But wait, yeah... You don't get a gun, so it's totally not violent.
        • by qbast (1265706)
          What? You mean that you don't want GlaDOS as role model for your kid?
        • by Nrrqshrr (1879148)
          Somehow, Portal ranks strangely in the "violent games" category.
          Sure, there are turrets shooting at you and fires burning you and glowing balls disintegrating you and all that kind of stuff... But the turret screams "Sorry" or "No harsh feelings" before shooting.
          Sure, Portal is kinda bloody, but it's bloody in cute way.
      • There's plenty of non-violent games. Unfortunately, kind tend to think shooting is more cool than leading some ball around, building a city or solving various logical puzzles. Also, non-violent games are usually involve more thinking, which is frowned upon in modern society, even more so among children.

        Off the top of my head: Portal, SimCity, various Tycoon games, Neverball, Bejeweled, Tetris

        I forgot about Kinect games, some of them. Kinect Adventures. Really good. And Lego Rock Band :) On the other hand I remember when I was at the of 10 I was playing Bruce Lee, Ninja, Commando, River Raid, Raid Over Moscow killing thousands or North vs. South - that was violent game! So it's all about shooting. tetris is good, only to play it when you have ten minutes only.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Trigger31415 (1912176)
        In a way, SimCity is violent. Or at least brain-washing, which is the precise default we hope violent games don't have.
        I'm not talking about the disasters (earthquakes, etc.) the player can unleash. For a SimCity game, one thing matters over everything : your bank account. You want to build this stuff? You need money. You want to change the landscape? You need money.
        Having a positive balance may requier for the player to diminish stuff like hospital subventions, etc.: the kind of stuff that can cause more
        • by Kirijini (214824)

          "I disagree with how this video game simulates reality" is not the same thing as "this video game is violent"

          Likewise, that your choices in a video game may lead to some virtual deaths is not the same thing as violent.

        • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Friday September 16, 2011 @08:30AM (#37418786) Journal

          In a way, SimCity is violent. Or at least brain-washing, which is the precise default we hope violent games don't have.

          I'm not talking about the disasters (earthquakes, etc.) the player can unleash. For a SimCity game, one thing matters over everything : your bank account. You want to build this stuff? You need money. You want to change the landscape? You need money.

          Having a positive balance may requier for the player to diminish stuff like hospital subventions, etc.: the kind of stuff that can cause more deaths in reality is here rewarded.

          SimCity is extremely pro-capitalist (may seems unimportant in US, but many people in other countries don't have the same view about economy).

          There is a huge gap in what you'ld expect of a good mayor, and what SimCity teaches.

          SimCity has recently been accused of being to environmentally based as well.

          I actually think it is just trying to be realistic. We live in a world where money matters more than everything, so Sim City would be utter rubbish if it did not mirror this to a certain extent.

          Also, you sat people in many other countries don't have the same view of economy, did you have any in particular in mind? I am from the UK by very left leaning parents who considered themselves socialists. I was encouraged to play SimCity as a kid as a way to learn about economics and the results of your actions.

          I would say that SimCity can be used to encourage left leaning thoughts in children. In the example above you give about hospitals as far as I remember if you skimped on things like healthcare and education people started leaving your city in droves to go and live somewhere nicer. If you just followed purely capitalist rationale for your decisions you would build lots of oil or coal fired power plants, but the resulting pollution also made people leave your city. People leaving meant you got reduced tax revenue, so that made it harder to balance the books in future. While the game might revolve around economics, economics is not a subject studied solely by people who are pro-capitalist.

          Many lefties also study economics, they just approach it from a different point of view. Interestingly here in the UK both of our main parties (conservative and labour) are riddled with people who all studied the same thing at the same university: Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford. In my case this was also what my mother studied, then later taught at university.

          Economics is not just the domain of capitalists, we could all do with learning about it. Ultimately, even without the existence of money economics would still be about how you allot resources.

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            It is sad that so many people don't understand this.
            • It is sad that so many people don't understand this.

              Not sad at all, dude. The enemy of profit is an educated consumer, and the enemy of government is an educated citizen. My portfolio is deep in the three E's: energy, entertainment, and ecology. These are areas where ignorance and misunderstanding are routinely exploited for insane profits, often with the collusion of the government. Don't be sad about how uninformed your fellow consumer/citizen is -- take advantage of it, instead. You will be glad you did.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          SimCity is extremely pro-capitalist (may seems unimportant in US, but many people in other countries don't have the same view about economy).

          What SimCity are we talking about here? That colors the discussion somewhat. Regardless of the edition, however, if you want to "advance" the game then sure you need to make money. On the other hand, if you just want to watch the seasons change on a tiny little farm community then you can do that, too.

        • by Amtrak (2430376)

          SimCity is extremely pro-capitalist (may seems unimportant in US, but many people in other countries don't have the same view about economy).

          Wait what? If SimCity was extremely pro-capitalist the Mayor would just designate a plot of land as zoned for a hospital and then if the people wanted one and thought they could make money on it they would build the hospital. The Mayor(Player) would have no control over the quality and prices of services at the hospital they would be decided by the market for better or worse. And that's just one example of "extreme" capitalism. We can really take it to the extreme where the Mayor just says fuck all, hires s

          • I think your confusing a centrally planned economy with Socialism. Socialist goverements used centrally planned economys, but so do facist goverments and monarchies. Your correct somewhat in that an extreme market economy would not have a mayor selecting where the hospital is built. There are socialist economies where the the market isn't centrally planned. In these the planning is distributed to local chapters of the party. Sort of a federalised socialist economy.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        There are no games which are not violent.

        There's plenty of non-violent games. Unfortunately, kind tend to think shooting is more cool than leading some ball around, building a city or solving various logical puzzles. Also, non-violent games are usually involve more thinking, which is frowned upon in modern society, even more so among children.

        Off the top of my head: Portal, SimCity, various Tycoon games, Neverball, Bejeweled, Tetris

        Non-violent games still can and will induce aggressive behavior in an aggressive gamer through frustration when trying to beat a level. Games that don't pose some kind of a challenge to the player don't count as games.

        People should stop linking violent games to aggressive behavior. Instead, have the susceptible players participate in a football or chess match. Or even better, DotA. Anything involving a minimal degree of competitiveness will make you them act aggressively. Bonus rage if it involves teamplay.

      • by Alsee (515537)

        Hell, tetris is the most violent game of all.
        The only think that exists in the universe is blocks, and your entire goal is to destroy them all. In fact it's essential to your very survival to constantly destroy everything in sight.

        -

        • by Noughmad (1044096)

          And in Pong, you're holding the ball hostage and refuse to let it free. With a good beating every time it tries to escape.

    • by mcvos (645701)

      I 2 year old loves Angry Birds (and is pretty good at it too!) and recently pointed to a real life bird outside saying "shoot!". (Actually he spoke Dutch, and said "afschieten" but this is a good enough translation, I guess.)

      • I 2 year old loves Angry Birds (and is pretty good at it too!) and recently pointed to a real life bird outside saying "shoot!". (Actually he spoke Dutch, and said "afschieten" but this is a good enough translation, I guess.)

        now... this is bad.

        • by mcvos (645701)

          It was certainly something that made us think. We still let him play Angry Birds (because it's such a cute game, and they are technically puzzles, though my son is still too young to really figure out the puzzle part; and alright, also because he loves it so much and gets angry when he can't play it and it's kinda convenient when he can enjoy himself for a few moments without our attention), but now we "launch" birds instead of shooting them.

          I feel dirty.

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            gets angry when he can't play it

            That there would be enough for my kid to not be playing it anymore. He lost little big planet 2 because of that, and lost Terraria for the exact opposite (getting far too worked up when he died - angry when he was playing it effectively).

            Though of course you may use the word "angry":at a lower threshold than I do.

            • by mcvos (645701)

              He's two. He gets angry over the stupidest little things, and sometimes he doesn't even know why he's upset. It's a difficult age. We do set limits about when he can and cannot use his "tuter" (a small, cheap Android tablet) or "big tuter" (an iPad), and he's slowly getting better at accepting those limits.

              • by nedlohs (1335013)

                Ah that makes sense, I misinterpreted "I 2" completely...

                "My 2 year old" is the english wording - "my" is the possessive case of I. Your English is several trillion times better than my Dutch, so don't take that as criticism.

                • by mcvos (645701)

                  Yes, it was a typo. I started with "I have a..." then changed it but messed up. And you can't edit slashdot messages afterward.

                  Very good of you to correct it while complimenting my command of a second language, though. More people should be like that.

                  And sorry for the confusion. I have an Angry Birds-addicted 2 year old, not 12 year old. While he sometimes launches birds to the left instead of the right, he also manages to finish some (easy) levels, and even improved a few highscores! I fear I've created a

      • Yeah, and many children form a "gun" with their hand, point it at someone else and say "bang, you're dead". Few of them become killers.

        • Yeah, and many children form a "gun" with their hand, point it at someone else and say "bang, you're dead". Few of them become killers.

          You are either living in cloud cuckoo land, or are being disingenuous. I would venture to guess that every soldier who ever killed the enemy has played cops and robbers, or cowboys and indians, or whatever the local ethnic combat game was called. That's more than a few, even if we limit to soldiers in only the last ten years.

          Fwiw, I played cops and robbers, and I definitely said, "bang your dead!" as my older brother the gangster fell to my index-finger-and-thumb simulation of a police-issue S&W .38.

    • by dintech (998802) on Friday September 16, 2011 @07:14AM (#37418400)

      Tetris isn't very violent. But anyway, you're doing the right thing. I don't think it's useful for kids to grow up in an environment with zero exposure to violence. Kids that are over-protected can be just as maladjusted as the ones that get no adult supervision at all.

      Pacifist Protester: Name one situation where violence is the answer!?
      Ali G: A violent situation.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        I don't think it's useful for kids to grow up in an environment with zero exposure to violence.

        I really don't think we need to worry about any kids growing up with "zero exposure to violence". I don't see how it's even possible, since nature is chock full of violence.

        On the other hand, my daughter has studied martial arts seriously since she was very young (Iaido, Hsing I and now Muay Thai). She has seen me practicing Chinese martial arts since she was little. She's the most peaceful, non-violent person

      • by Coren22 (1625475)

        Tetris is only violent if you look at it from the block's perspective.

    • "There are no games which are not violent."

      http://familypastimes.com/ [familypastimes.com]
      "Family Pastimes games are the inventions of Jim Deacove. Jim started making co-operative games for his own family, and was encouraged by friends to make more. The Deacove family was and is no different from others. Sharing toys, helping mom and dad and being kind to others are values taught in all homes. To find games which help reinforce such sharing attitudes, however, is very difficult. Thus, Jim and Ruth felt the need to create some."

  • Those who think that video games make people aggressive got cause and effect mixed up. If there is a correlation between aggression and video games it's because aggressive people like to play violent games and not because a game made them aggressive. Like the fact that most bank robbers have guns doesn't mean that guns turn people into criminals.
    • Those who think that video games make people aggressive got cause and effect mixed up. If there is a correlation between aggression and video games it's because aggressive people like to play violent games and not because a game made them aggressive. Like the fact that most bank robbers have guns doesn't mean that guns turn people into criminals.

      video games, like guns, enable violent behavior. Trying to separate the enabler from the act itself is just a legal strategy, not a scientifically rational one.

  • Heard it here first folks. Tetris multiplayer a bigger danger and a threat to society than Mortal Kombat single player.

    (/snark(

  • ...I was pretty moody, impulsive and unfriendly as a kid. Does this mean I can't play MW3 now? :(
    • ...I was pretty moody, impulsive and unfriendly as a kid. Does this mean I can't play MW3 now? :(

      Hmm... Not really, sorry. You were probably bullying other kids at school, so you will be bullying online but online there will be many people with skills to kill not just powered by their anger, so you will start losing matches and your frustrations may cause you go mad and actually shoot to real people. You should play Flightgear. Ok, you owe $100. Next.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In the UK we have a rating system the same as for movies in cinema's and DVD's...

    If the Game is rated 18 then dont buy it for your 11 year old! are you that dumb?

    The kids cant buy these games themselves so its obviously the parents buying them, then blaming the games. Do some research on what you are giving your kids before you buy it, these games are for adults only, just like horror films and porn

    • by ledow (319597) on Friday September 16, 2011 @07:46AM (#37418550) Homepage

      I once went to the house of a teacher at the school where I worked, to do an IT job for them. Their child (7/8 years old) was home and playing on the console while I sat at the PC.

      It wasn't until *I* mentioned it that she realised that the South Park videogame they were playing lets you launch dildos at the other players. At first, she thought I was joking, then she thought it was just us mis-interpreting it, then she read the instruction manual.

      Then she started to actually WATCH South Park with her child and realised that it wasn't just a cartoon for kids. Bear in mind that she would spend every working day herding children and making sure they didn't say anything untoward, or see anything they shouldn't, and she hadn't noticed even though she'd bought the games the kids asked for after seeing the cartoon on TV and they'd been playing them for months.

      A lot of parents are fecking idiots. Sure there are some that are deliberately liberal and accommodating, but there are a lot that just don't care / know what their kids are doing. And, no, a violent video game, or even a sexually explicit one, isn't going to harm your child. But the lack of parenting that can result in them doing those things you never realised were available to them can and will harm your child.

      That's where the link is - not the games making your child violent or unsociable - its the laxity of parenting that can often result in both things appearing at once. If you're really just buying games for your kids with no question of their content despite their age ratings, that's a parenting problem.

      But hell, when I was younger I would watch 18-rated films with my parents - they were never "scary" because it was only a film (i.e. not real life) but it's only my upbringing that taught me that, and when I was that young my parents would *know* what I was watching because they'd have seen it first or had a rough idea of the content of it before they watched it with me.

      Game ratings are as useless as film ratings. They only work if the parent is so lazy that they rely on them exclusively. If they are just a lazy parent, they won't even bother to check the age. If your parent knows what they are doing, the age-rating is neither here nor there - they will decide whether or not you get to watch it and not have to read a box on the back of the DVD case, and 99.9% of the time will let you watch it when you are younger than it says.

      I don't think there's anything wrong with a well-brought-up child of 11 playing an 18-rated game, or watching an 18-rated movie. So long as they are mature enough to handle it and you KNOW that's what they are doing.

      The worst of modern diseases is having no idea what your kids are doing, and not caring even when you do. I bet a lot of those parents that whine about their children becoming violent after playing GrandTheftAuto never bother to mention that their kids were allowed out until all-hours anyway, that they never knew where they were, that they didn't know where the games (or the money to buy them) came from, etc. that the kid has all the latest games consoles but plays in no team sports, etc.

      Today, other people are the perfect targets to play for YOUR bad parenting. If you tell your kid to be home at 8, they are home at 8. There is no "but what if" they don't turn up. They *WILL* be home at 8. It's very simple. But nobody bothers to enforce the little things until the big things have already bred in habits.

      • by rioki (1328185)

        I totally agree, totally.

        But I also think that we look at the wrong things when it comes to ratings. I was watching TRON Legacy and my daughter (6) loved the visuals and music. So I though, oh to hell, that movie is not that violent. (Compared to come cartoons for that age...) So I sat down with her and started to watch the movie. We had to stop, not because of some violence or some suspense; because the character of Rinsler was too frightening. Can you imagine?! I sometime thing we get the priorities wron

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        I don't line up 100% with your post, but for the most part you are hitting the core subject. My example isn't South Park cartoons, but the movie Shrek 2. It has been a very popular movie. Parents let their kids watch it all the time. It was targeted to kids. No one seems to be phased by the fact that in one scene there is a character sitting in the castle courtyard giving himself a blowjob. Not discreetly. Not in the background. It fills the whole screen and is the premise of the scene.

        When point
        • by ledow (319597)

          I don't agree.

          In the same way that you can take ANY movie, song lyric, book etc. and interpret it in terms of drug-taking, you can do the same with sexual references. (Seriously, I've played this game at parties with people who INSIST that song lyrics that sound drug/sex-like must have been written that way - Puff the Magic Dragon, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, etc. - you can make parallels to almost anything and get more drug references out of children's books than you can hardcore rock).

          But children don

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            Again. Case in point.

            The scene isn't a "Your just imagining it" scene. Just as the transvestite jokes are not "Your just imagining it" scenes. You are doing EXACTLY what I said many parents do.

            Puss'n Boots isn't a cat. It is a Furry. That is a whole class of kink on it's own. Presumably, you will continue to behave in the manner you do by continuing to tell yourself that if it has fur, it doesn't count.

            Which, ultimately, comes down to how the parent handles questions, deals with their child, and watches what they are exposed to (including what other little brats they are hanging around with!).

            Was that intended irony?

  • Moody children (Score:2, Insightful)

    by aaaaaaargh! (1150173)

    '...don't worry about that,' says psychologist Patrick Markey of Villanova (Pa.) University. 'But is your kid moody, impulsive, or are they unfriendly?

    ...uh...such as about every child that gets into puberty? Yeah, sure.

    How about not giving children guns? How many children kill others or themselves when they do not have a gun?

    I don't claim that children without a gun don't kill themselves or stab others with knifes, yet it seems striking to me that the violent crimes (aka "running amok") by children (and probably also adults) are so violent because they have one or more guns. At least to me as a non-violent layman from Europe it seems much easier to shoot

    • by antdah (1057288)

      ...uh...such as about every child that gets into puberty? Yeah, sure.

      As always, we are talking about those who show these traits beyond the norm.

    • by Loosifur (954968)

      I know this may come as a surprise given the stereotype, but Americans don't actually hand AK-47s to children just before they get on the schoolbus.

      Also, shotguns are guns too, you know. The first time I met my friend's Welsh husband, he made a remark about Americans and handguns. Then, not two minutes later, mentioned something about his grandmother shooting rabbits in her front yard with a shotgun. She did not live in the country. He was not making a joke. I don't know where you're from, but if I walked o

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        Parenting makes the difference. Taking guns out of the equation just means that Junior Sociopath will start googling "fertilizer explosive".

        It's far easier for a troubled kid to pick up, say, dad's irresponsibly handled guns, than it is for that same kid to build a fertilizer explosive capable of doing significant damage completely undetected.

        No reasonable person would argue that "kid can't get a gun" implies "kid can't hurt or kill anyone". There's a big difference between that (flawed) argument and the argument that "kid can't get a gun" means "kid more likely to be caught before he hurts or kills someone" and "kid able to kill or hurt fewer

        • by Loosifur (954968)

          "No reasonable person would argue that "kid can't get a gun" implies "kid can't hurt or kill anyone". There's a big difference between that (flawed) argument and the argument that "kid can't get a gun" means "kid more likely to be caught before he hurts or kills someone" and "kid able to kill or hurt fewer people than if he had a gun"."

          While I agree with you as far as that goes, you still have to make a distinction between a kid that's "troubled", and a kid that's homicidal on the level of mass murder. The

          • by dkleinsc (563838)

            While I agree with you as far as that goes, you still have to make a distinction between a kid that's "troubled", and a kid that's homicidal on the level of mass murder. The latter is going to be dangerous in any environment, and will be motivated enough to find a way to kill people, guns or no.

            That's the second part of my argument. Assume homicidal kid is trying to find a way to kill people without a gun.

            Now, as you mentioned, they might be able to build a bomb. But building a bomb without mom, dad, a neighbor, or the police noticing is going to be pretty difficult. So the homicidal kid gets caught, and ends up unable to carry out his plan.

            So maybe he's not going to build a bomb, but goes after people with a sword or crossbow or something. Well, in that case, the kid gets to his target, pulls out

        • by sjames (1099)

          Not really, no. The kids won't START with fertilizer necessarily (but they will be googling it), they might do the dry ice in the coke bottle trick first to get a taste for it (unless they live in a state where they can get decent firecrackers, then dry ice comes second).

          Somewhere in the process, they'll learn just how hard it is to get a can of butane to actually go up in a fireball. They might of might not learn that you can get a pretty nice fireball if you atomize gasoline with a small explosive in the

    • Based on Breivik, you Europeans must have delayed puberty to your early 30s. Strange, I thought for reasons of public safety adulthood was delayed until after death...
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      I don't claim that children without a gun don't kill themselves or stab others with knifes, yet it seems striking to me that the violent crimes (aka "running amok") by children (and probably also adults) are so violent because they have one or more guns. At least to me as a non-violent layman from Europe it seems much easier to shoot a dozen classmates than to club them to death or stab them.

      The counterargument from most pro-gun folks in the US is that if one bad guy opens fire, all the good guys can shoot back and stop him more easily.

      This isn't born out by reality. In fact, most mass shootings in the US are stopped by the gunman being tackled and taken down by non-lethal force. For instance, when Jared Loughner shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and kept firing, there were people armed with guns and military training in the area, and not one of them opened fire on Loughner (citing reasons

      • I don't claim that children without a gun don't kill themselves or stab others with knifes, yet it seems striking to me that the violent crimes (aka "running amok") by children (and probably also adults) are so violent because they have one or more guns. At least to me as a non-violent layman from Europe it seems much easier to shoot a dozen classmates than to club them to death or stab them.

        The counterargument from most pro-gun folks in the US is that if one bad guy opens fire, all the good guys can shoot back and stop him more easily.

        This isn't born out by reality. In fact, most mass shootings in the US are stopped by the gunman being tackled and taken down by non-lethal force. For instance, when Jared Loughner shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and kept firing, there were people armed with guns and military training in the area, and not one of them opened fire on Loughner (citing reasons like the risk of hitting people other than the target and the police not knowing who the bad guy was if they had started shooting).

        I'm an Arizona citizen, and I am armed all the time. I was in Tucson when the attack occurred; if I'd been at that rally (unlikely in the extreme -- I don't agree with Ms Giffords' politics in the slightest) I'd have drawn and fired at the shooter. I am not a cop, nor am I currently a soldier (used to be one, though.)

        As you say, cops are trained *not* to deploy their weapons in situations where the risk of collateral damage is too high. And there were indeed armed private security personnel at the scene

  • Seriously.
    Duh.

  • What the **** is going on in this ***** up 21st century of yours(ours). So .. I grew up watching roadrunner and tom&jerry. Went through highschool wasting 4nights/week playing nothing but counter-strike for 10 hours straight. Moved from servers in europe to servers in us then in asia as time past and people went to sleep. Played every GTA under the sun. Now i'm in my twenties and I don't rob stores, don't beat up people on the street or get them out of their cars to steal it, I keep the door open for a
    • Violent AND racist!

      Couple that with my love for Yosemite Sam and I'm surprised I'm not blowing away Mexicans in the street.

      • by nschubach (922175)

        Couple that with my love for Yosemite Sam and I'm surprised I'm not blowing away Mexicans in the street.

        Wait... hold on! *wipes bloody hand on pants* This is not permissible?

  • Or in other words; "Don't hate the game. Hate the player..." :-)
  • by thetartanavenger (1052920) on Friday September 16, 2011 @07:59AM (#37418618)

    But is your kid moody, impulsive, or are they unfriendly?

    Seriously? Isn't this the definition of every single teenager that exists, has existed and will exist? Myself included back in the day of course.

    • Pah, you beat me to it!

      - 1 mod point for being faster than me.
    • But is your kid moody, impulsive, or are they unfriendly?

      Seriously? Isn't this the definition of every single teenager that exists, has existed and will exist?

      No, it's the stereotype of "every single teenager that exists, has existed and will exist".

  • It's never been about the game. This is the worlds most ridiculous argument. If a violent game called game X causes Mr. Y to go out and Kill then to blame the game EVERY SINGLE PERSON who played X should be killing. Mr Y kill because he wanted to, on one level or another he had the desire to kill and it's not the game fault. Do you think the top 10 all star killers of the last 1000 years played video games and that's why they killed?

    No, they killed because they wanted to. When someone can tell me J
    • by Hatta (162192)

      This is the worlds most ridiculous argument. If a violent game called game X causes Mr. Y to go out and Kill then to blame the game EVERY SINGLE PERSON who played X should be killing. Mr Y kill because he wanted to

      That IS the world's most ridiculous argument. Would you also argue that because not every smoker is dying of cancer, that smoking does not cause cancer?

      There's a lot of bad arguments and fallacies out there linking video games with violent behavior. Let's counter them with facts, not bad argumen

  • ... so, be careful what you let it amplify.

    On addiction and technology and overcoming it:
    http://www.paulgraham.com/addiction.html [paulgraham.com]
    http://drfuhrman.com/library/article16.aspx [drfuhrman.com]

    (Technology can also be used to broadly suppress things, too, as a variation on amplification...)

  • by flink (18449) on Friday September 16, 2011 @10:57AM (#37420382)

    "moody, impulsive, unfriendly (to adults)" describes, like, 90% of teenagers, with the exception of the student council types.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday September 16, 2011 @11:02AM (#37420458) Homepage

    I've been saying for a while that the whole "video games cause violence" idea has causality wrong. If you're a happy, perfectly well adjusted person, then playing DOOM won't turn you into a killer. However, if you have mental/emotional problems that make you potentially violent and homicidal, you might be very likely to seek out means to play out those desires, which may include violent games.

    If you want to prevent the next school shooting, don't bother censoring video games. Seek out the troubled kids and try to help them.

    The real problem here isn't the video games. The real problem is high school.

    • Most these school shootings involve kids on legal drugs instead of real treatment of their mental conditions (likely cultural and parental factors are involved as well or even exclusively.) Notice how we suddenly had shooting problems and how rare it was previously?? The drugged kids started around then and shortly afterwards the media also made it into the BEST way to get your message the most attention you could ever want-- instead of just killing yourself you can make people HEAR your last words and gi

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