“Life is like a video game. You have to die sometime.” June 7, 2003, 18-year-old Devin Moore
Recently, I’ve been hearing allot of talk from the LEFT about the need for more gun control due to the horrific killing sprees being committed lately. I am of the mind that these horrible acts have been generated and allowed to be a part of our childrens everyday life for YEARS.
This behavior is not something that has ‘SUDDENLY” taken place from the ‘fear” of losing our gun rights, but stems MORE from the responsibility of parents that allow their children to play violent video games or to watch what I term as “Slasher” movies.
My opinion regarding the video games is FIRST hand experience from seeing the adverse behavior of my OWN two sons several years ago and the ONLY remedy that I could figure out at the time was to CUT the cord and NOT replace the game set or allow them to play future games in our home. (Which BTW: Stopped ALLOT of that violent role playing and posturing they were doing to each other)
The violent movies were screened and NOT allowed in our home, but of course this did not stop them 100% as children are clever and will find undiscriminating parent/parents that WOULD allow their children to play or watch those type of videos/movies, but at least my husband and I did try to monitor what our children viewed as best we could.
Below are several articles and links which support my stance and I hope that others will find them informative and helpful.
Neurobiological research shows how children’s maturing brains are organically conditioned to respond in certain ways to specific types of stimuli. Over time, studies suggest that learned responses become hard-wired into the brain. Video games can be particularly effective tools for that wiring because they are interactive.
“When I’m playing a video game, I’m initiating the action,” says David Walsh, a founder of the National Institute of Media and the Family. Walsh has used MRIs to map how children’s brain waves respond to violent media. “The more I initiate, the more it becomes incorporated into my mental scheme. It becomes an automatic response.”
That’s hardly a revolutionary notion. Interactive videos are commonly used to train pilots, police officers and other professionals who require quick reflexes to execute their jobs efficiently. The U.S. military has spent millions developing video simulations used to train combat soldiers. Shooting imaginary bullets at imaginary people is thought to slowly desensitize soldiers so that when the time comes to kill a human being, it’s easier to pull the trigger.
Corporate defendants involved in ongoing lawsuits, should have known that the games had the potential to spawn copycat violence. Among the disturbing and familiar list of precedents: Michael Carneal, 14, shot eight students at a 1997 prayer meeting in Paducah, Kentucky; Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 14 students and a teacher at Columbine in 1999; and an Oakland gang stole cars and murdered at least seven victims in recent years. All the shooters were enamored of violent video games. One jailed youth in Oakland said his gang used Grand Theft Auto as a virtual-reality training video: “We played the game by day, and lived the game by night.”
In June, New York’s Sen. Charles Schumer asked retailers to refuse to sell a new game called 25 To Life, which allows players to attack police using weapons including baseball bats and broken bottles. “How many more people are going to have to die before there’s some accountability?”
One judge tossed out a similar suit filed after the Paducah shootings, ruling that game makers could not have foreseen that a user would act out the violence portrayed in the game’s imaginary world. Then there’s the First Amendment issue.
Doug Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association, whose members account for some 90 percent of the $7.3 billion worth of entertainment software sold in the United States, maintains that video games cannot be separated from other forms of entertainment such as magazines, books or movies, many of which routinely portray violence. “The point of the free speech clause was not to protect creative expression everyone finds acceptable,” says Lowenstein, “but precisely to protect creative expression that many might find objectionable.”
Yet even the most fervid advocates of tighter controls on video game sales concede that the games themselves are just one of many factors that could transform a player into a killer. The impact of a child’s home life cannot be overstated. In fact, Moore came from a broken home; his parents, who never married, went through a nasty split when he was very young.
Prominent organizations like the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association have all concluded that the scientific evidence shows a cause-effect relationship between television violence and aggression among the children and youth who watch it. Based on this research, many social scientists have hypothesized that we should expect video games to have an even greater impact for the following four reasons.
1. Children are more likely to imitate the actions of a character with whom they identify. In violent video games the player is often required to take the point of view of the shooter or perpetrator.
2. Video games by their very nature require active participation rather than passive observation.
3. Repetition increases learning. Video games involve a great deal of repetition. If the games are violent, then the effect is a behavioral rehearsal for violent activity.
4. Rewards increase learning, and video games are based on a reward system.
While the research base conducted on video games is small compared to that conducted on television, early results are showing that the concern is indeed warranted. Anderson & Bushman have conducted a meta-analysis of 35 different studies of violent video games (2001). A meta-analysis is a type of study in which researchers analyze the results of other studies to see if there are similar patterns of results; Anderson and Bushman showed that there is a consistent pattern of results in five areas.
- Exposure to violent games increases physiological arousal.
Studies measuring the physiological responses to playing violent video games (compared with physiological responses to non-violent games) have shown that violent games increase physiological arousal. Heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure all increase when playing violent games. Ballard & Weist (1996) showed that playing a violent game (Mortal Kombat, with the depictions of blood “turned on”) resulted in higher systolic blood pressure increases than playing a non-violent game or Mortal Kombat with the blood “turned off.” Studies by Lynch (1994, 1999) have shown that the effect may be even greater for children who are naturally more aggressive. Students who scored in the top 20% on a trait hostility scale showed much greater increases in physiological response than students scoring in the bottom 20% of the hostility scale. Children who were more hostile also showed much greater response in adrenaline, nor-adrenaline, and testosterone than children who were less hostile after playing a violent video game. These physiological effects are important because these are the same types of physiological reactions bodies have when engaged in a fight. The interaction with trait hostility is important because it suggests that the effects of playing violent games may be even greater for children who are already at risk for aggressive behavior.
- Exposure to violent games increases aggressive thoughts.
Studies measuring cognitive responses to playing violent video games (compared with cognitive responses to non-violent games) have shown that violent games increase aggressive thoughts. These findings have been found for males and females, children and adults, and in experimental and correlational studies. Kirsh (1998) found that exposure to a violent video game increases hostile attribution bias (defined below) in the short term, relative to exposure to a non-violent video game. The term hostile attribution bias has been used to describe the manner in which aggressive children perceive the actions of peers. Children who tend to interpret ambiguous social cues as being of hostile intent (i.e., have a hostile attribution bias) are more aggressive (e.g., Crick & Dodge, 1994). Furthermore, there is a robust relationship between hostile attribution bias and children’s social maladjustment, such as depression, negative self-perceptions, and peer rejection (Crick, 1995). Gentile et al. (under review) also found that children who play more violent games are more likely to have a hostile attribution bias.
- Exposure to violent games increases aggressive emotions.
Studies measuring emotional responses to playing violent video games (compared with emotional responses to non-violent games) have shown that violent games increase aggressive emotions. Adolescents themselves often seem to recognize this. When asked to name the “bad things” about computer games, many students reported that they make people more moody and aggressive (Griffiths & Hunt, 1998). In this study, students who were more “addicted” to video games were significantly more likely to be in a bad mood before, during, and after play than were non-addicted students.
- Exposure to violent games increases aggressive actions.
Studies measuring aggressive behaviors after playing violent video games (compared with behaviors displayed after playing non-violent games) have shown that violent games increase aggression. In one study of college students, students played either a violent or non-violent game. After playing this game, they were given a competitive reaction time task in which they played against another student. If they beat the other student, they got to deliver a loud “noise blast,” and were able to control how loud and how long the noise blast would be. Students who had previously played the violent video game delivered longer noise blasts to their opponents (Anderson & Dill, 2000).
In a study of 8th and 9th graders, students who played more violent video games were also more likely to see the world as a hostile place, to get into frequent arguments with teachers, and to be involved in physical fights (Gentile et al., under review). It has often been suggested that violent video games are not the culprit for these types of behaviors; instead, the cause is underlying hostility. The argument goes, “Hostile kids get into more arguments and more fights. They also like to play more violent games.” While this is true, it is not the whole story. This study measured children’s trait hostility, and found that exposure to video game violence is a significant predictor of physical fights, even when students’ sex, hostility level, and amount of video game playing are controlled statistically. If hostility were the whole story, then in general, only hostile children would tend to get into fights, and children with the lowest hostility scores would not get into physical fights regardless of their video game habits. Figure 1 shows the percentages of students who report being involved in physical fights within the previous year. Children with the lowest hostility scores are almost 10 times more likely to have been involved in physical fights if they play a lot of violent video games than if they do not play violent games (38% compared to 4%). In fact, the least hostile children who play a lot of violent video games are more likely to be involved in fights than are the most hostile children who do not play violent video games.
2000 Press Release from the APA