Do Violent Games Cause Violence?

Posted By: Chelle - Marriage Editor

Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 05/21/08 05:08 AM

Saw this story about the new "Gears of War 2" being the most violent game ever made:
Gears of War 2: Too Violent For Some?

It got me to thinking...

There's been a lot of controversy in the news as to whether playing violent video games causes violence in children and teens (and sometimes even adults).

Many people say it is just play or fantasy - and that only people that are delusional or have mental instability would be affected. Or that for some it is actually an outlet for violence.

But I wonder. I know there has always been crime, violence, war - but it has never been so blatant as today. I think the fact that we have turned violence into a "game" we have innoculated our kids against being horrified by it.

This game for instance; there is a chance to use a chainsaw, not to fend off another weapon, but to actually cut your opponent in half, complete with blood and gore.

So why should our kids be horrified or terrified by the sight of blood anymore? They've already seen it, in a small way committed it.

I believe that once we open up our minds to violence, it has a way of sinking deeper in. It is not so unthinkable.

Even our wars are not so horrible anymore. Soldiers no longer have to actually face the enemy and watch their eyes as they die face to face. Instead we can drop a bomb and kill hundreds at a time, and never even have to imagine what te people look like.

IDK - just some rambling thoughts...
Posted By: Lisa LowCarb

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 05/21/08 06:13 AM

It's an interesting thing to think about. But on the other hand, isn't our world FAR more sanitized? Kids used to grow up on a farm where animals were routinely butchered. Now in modern times people think "ewww gross" when they have to think about where their hamburger patty came from. Kids used to work at hard farm jobs where injuries were a standard part of life. Now people work in office jobs where the most serious injury is a paper cut.

Life used to be harsh - people living in the 1600s routinely had to deal with Native American attacks and watch family and friends die. Now in modern times the only real threat is if we actually drive into the very worst part of New York City to encounter even a remote aspect of that kind of threat.

Should people *be* terrified by the sight of blood? Who would be our doctors and nurses then? smile

Just another side of the coin smile
Posted By: Chelle - Marriage Editor

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 05/21/08 07:00 AM

Originally Posted By: Lisa Low Carb Ed
It's an interesting thing to think about. But on the other hand, isn't our world FAR more sanitized?

I actually think this is part of the problem.

Because our kids only ever see the fake blood and violence and not the real thing, they are becoming *accustomed* to it. (There's another word I want, but I'm having a major case of insomnia right now - and can't think well). Inured?
Maybe desensitized is what I'm looking for.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I want my children growing up in a war torn country - but honestly, how many kids in Saudi or Iraq play games like this? They have their fill of real violence and don't want anymore.

Kids in the US seem to think violence is glamorous. My 16 yr okld son and I were discussing the "anti-hero" the other day. That is not something that would have been around during WW2. Now, we are so focused on "reality" our heroes are more flawed than their opponents (Can anybody say "Dexter"?)
Posted By: CrochetQueen

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 05/21/08 07:59 AM

Just my 2 cents worth but No I do not think video games or music cause violence. I am not an expert about this, and yes my son has a PS3 and he does play several army like/zombie games and he uses a blue tooth but he also knows if I ever hear him even start to utter what I consider a bad word or he yells, it's over. I don't want to blame all Parents but I have said this before and I will say it again, if you are a Parent you are "in charge" of your children. For example I live in a rural area, we do have a family that buys vehicles, quads, etc. for their 14 year old (yes that is not a mistake he is 14 and they let him drive) these very same people (don't want to use the word parent because honestly they don't qualify) will complain constantly about how kids these days do illegal things and have no respect.....I have to keep away from these people because my jaw drops down to the ground like where in the world does their son learn his behavior???? They let him drive illegally, he tears up a vehicle they buy him another, he tears up a Quad (he is on #3) they replace it with another one. This kid is VERY violent, this past winter he got stuck in the snow right outside our gate and we got a ringside seat, my husband and I told him to NOT come back down our street (yes it was that bad)he did call us every name in the book. Again I am not an expert but I am thinking alot of the violence may be a little related to "no patience", kids are really very use to getting what they want when they want it, if that doesn't happen they naturally do what they have done most of their life to get it...throw a fit. My son has to work to get his "things".
Posted By: Chelle - Marriage Editor

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 05/21/08 08:15 AM

Oh yes, this definitely adds to it as well.

Some parents are just too busy to raise their children. smirk

So instead of setting limits, they say "OK" - because it is easier than having to enforce consequences if a rule is broken.

But kids have to learn rules and consequences, otherwise how are they going to function in the adult world?

Then there ar the parents that just want to be "buddies" with their children. Either because they had a lousy relationship with their own parents, or because they want to be cool (it's amazing how many adults are still into that). You can't set proper boundaries with a buddy.

You can raise your children with respect that goes both ways and still have limits and rules, though.
Posted By: CrochetQueen

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 05/21/08 07:25 PM

One thing I have noticed about the recent video games are the language, which really puts me off more than the shooting or blood. Do we really need to have every cuss word known to the world on the game ? I am probably way too old fashioned in my thinking on this one. I do think for some playing video games are a big no no, I have listened on my sons blue tooth and YIKES, very recently my son was so concerned for whomever was on there he wanted to call 911(he is 12) because he thought the person needed medical help, they were screaming and carrying on and I do have to admit it did sound pretty bad like they needed help. Makes me wonder really if these are kids and they are at home playing, are they parents listening ? We have my sons computer and game console in the family room, I like being a spy smile
Posted By: Bea Scott

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 06/05/08 04:56 AM

TV and movies are far more violent. It all comes down to parenting, I believe. Far too many parents will blame everything but themselves as to why their children act that way.
Posted By: Lisa LowCarb

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 06/21/08 04:18 AM

If you read many of the top selling books of the 30s and 40s they definitely had anti-heroes, they just weren't called that back then smile I think people have always been caught up by the idea of being "against society's norms" and what it means.

I know my grandparents' generation talk about running around playing cowboy and indian and wanting to kill each other over and over again. So they definitely had a penchant not only for "violence" but in a far more physical manner. They weren't doing computer generated mayhem, they were actually running around and bashing each other. Schoolyard fights were fairly common. In modern times we call in the police if someone says a bad name to someone else.

I think kids back in those days were fairly accustomed to *real* blood and violence wink

So I'm not really sure things are "worse" in modern times, it's just that we have far higher expectations. Which I would say is a good thing ...
Posted By: BellaShorts

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 06/22/08 09:37 AM

One of the thorniest problems is not being able to enforce the family rules outside the home though.

Parents can refuse to buy games such as 13 plus, 15 plus etc in a kids own home, but often he will be exposed to 18 plus violent games at friends' houses.

Worse, his own games will then seem tame and not cool. It helps if similar groups of parents enforce the same standards.

The word 'assasin' seems to be popular and used a lot - really, what could be worse!
Posted By: jonie.bell

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 06/25/08 11:21 PM

Video games are at their most popular time and widest distribution ever, while our kids grow up in the least violent time in history. That's supported by statistics from the justice department.

I wouldn't let any underage kids play a video game outside their rating, but I don't blame games for violence. This hysteria strikes a very familiar chord, mainly the same one that was struck when rap music was new, when Dungeons and Dragons was popular, and before that, comic books.

This is simply a generational transition, parents naturally worrying about something new, and politicians twisting that knife in the endless quest for fear and votes.

I won't be stupid and say that watching violence has zero effect on action, but there are so many different factors affecting a person's actions, from upbringing to economic situation to whether or not someone cut him off on the commute that day. Making games a scapegoat is the easy way out.
Posted By: Chelle - Marriage Editor

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 06/25/08 11:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Lisa Low Carb Ed
I think kids back in those days were fairly accustomed to *real* blood and violence wink

But this was part of my point...
Kids these days are not used to real blood - they see it as a game. Violence is a game, they become desensitized to it.

I'm not saying that every child that plays violent video games is going to become violent - just like every child that has an alcoholic parent may not become an alcoholic. But I think it does up the ante.
Posted By: Mikie

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 07/12/08 07:19 AM

No I do not believe violent games cause violence, I think it's the change to society and the way we look at things and the changes to how we are brought up and such.

I mean I've played many first person shooters like Ghost Recon but it doesn't make me want to go buy a rifle and shoot people..
Posted By: hollisrae

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 07/12/08 12:42 PM

I think it all has to do with how the child is reared. if they have a parent that gives them positive discipline, and a good moral compas, then they will have the necessary tools to make the right decissions when it comes to violence. just because children play games that have high levels of violence does not mean they are going to go out on a killing spree.
Being desensitized to violence isn't necessarily a bad thing either. If a child is cuddled and not allowed to experience what the world is realy like, they will not know how to function when they are beginning to go out on their own. if they have an understanding that there is mass qunatities of viloence inherent in the world they might be able to protect themselves better in the long run and not have such a major shock when they see what unfortunatelly happens in some parts of the world.
You can never blame the influences that a child has (i.e. violent video games, hard core music), you can only blame the child and the family in what they do and the decisions they make. the parent has the right, and the obligation, to limit how much a child can play certian types of games and certain types of music. if they can provide a wide range of any influence, positive and negative, in their offsprings life, then they will be able to make good decisions and have a more well rounded life.
Posted By: Vance - Crime Editor

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 07/12/08 02:52 PM

There have been news stories about kids who have committed violent acts and when asked why, they said they saw it in a video game. I agree with others that the violence committed after seeing it in a video game is based on the child's state of mind and their upbringing. Gangs and violence were a part of everyday life back in the late 1800's and early 1900's when the influx of people emigrated to the US from other countries. These gangs and violence and such were formed out of necessity because education was lacking and poverty was rampant. People formed gangs to survive.

People who live, eat and drink violence will more than likely commit violent acts at some point in their lives. I agree that blaming it on video games is a convenient scapegoat. Television and comics books have always been full of violence starting with simple cartoons like Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner. I used to watch those shows religiously but I never had an inkling to go out and paint the side of a hill black to see if I could use it as a tunnel. I never thought about leaping off a cliff in a phone booth and stepping out of it before it hit the ground to see if I would be okay and I certainly never had an inkling to hit someone on the head with a mallet to see if I could make them accordion shaped.

That being said, do I think there are unneccessary violent video games out there? Yes. I believe that games like Bully and Grand Theft Auto glorify violence against people and we are sending terrible messages to our children when you can score points in a video game by beating up policemen and stealing their cars or teaching children how to sneak up behind someone and garrote them in order to kill them.

No, video games do not make the average person want to commit violent crimes anymore than television shows or movies do but that is just my humble opinion and if you don't agree with it, I will hunt you down. laugh
Posted By: Skosh

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 07/21/08 01:16 PM

The argument should not be over video games and violence. There just isn't any evidence to support this assumption. As jonie.bell noted, there are no statistics that point towards an increase in violence despite the rise of video games. Furthermore, Yankee Group reported that there are now 124 million PC gamers in the US, yet the youth demographic, the one most likely to be affected by this, has not experienced a correlative increase in violence according to U.S. Department of Justice.

Do video games result in more aggressive thoughts and, in some cases, behavior? Studies indicate that they do. Will this have a negative effect upon children? It probably will. The debate needs to be centered on these effects and how they can be controlled through the regulation of violent games.

When it's suggested that video games cause violence, the debate degenerates as anecdotal and experimental evidence points towards negative effects, while statistical evidence indicates that these have not translated into appreciable changes in the level of violence. Even those who speak of the ill effects of video games admit that other factors contribute more to violence than games. In the cases where kids said that they were imitating a video game, the only effect the game had was on how the violence was executed. Concern should be placed on why he was spurred to violence, not on what affected what happened afterward.

Video games have negative effects, which is why they should be regulated, but they don't include violent ones.
Posted By: Chelle - Marriage Editor

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 07/21/08 02:20 PM

I guess I don't mean so much that a video game is going to "brainwash" kids into going out and shooting up a mall or something - I'm just disturbed by the overall trend in the increase in violence in the games (and in movies and other forms of media.)

I even caught myself doing it the other day. I described shooting up some alien spacecraft as being "cathartic" after a stressful day, then I thought "that's actually kind of a sad thing to think!".

It is just the desensitizing to violence that I worry about.
Posted By: Laurie PK

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 07/21/08 02:41 PM

Definitely, the more violence you see, the more desensitized you become. It happens with everything, not just violent video games....the more people you see smoking, the more likely you are to smoke; the more eco-friendly or green people are around you, the more likely you'll be to pick up those habits. What we expose ourselves to rubs off on us, whether it's good, bad, or neutral.

I think the nature/nurture balance comes into play here. Some of us born aggressive, and the video games will affect those people differently than it affects people who are more passive by nature.

My favorite video game is Smash Up Derby -- I LOVE driving those huge T-Birds into other cars! I like seeing the cars spew black smoke and the fenders fall off, and it is a way to relieve stress. So far it hasn't translated to me driving people off the road (though I HAVE visualized it while driving!). I play once a year at my in-law's house; if I played every day or every week, would I visualize driving people off the road more? Probably.

Anyway.....I like video games, and at the same time I do think they can negatively affect us.

Posted By: Lisa - Gaming Ed

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 07/25/08 07:42 PM

Interestingly, they've done studies with people about anger release. They did the test sneakily so the people didn't know they were being tested on this, so the subjects couldn't deliberately alter the responses.

They deliberately made people angry (without telling them they were doing it). Half of the people they then gave pillows to punch as a "test this pillow's resiliency" test. Half the people were given a "write out your feelings" test. So in essence one group was doing physical / destructive release, the other group was doing more of a meditative release. Then they asked both groups to do a "fill in the missing letter" test with things like

R A ___ E

K I ___ ___

So the words could be a variety of words. The pillow bashing group came up with words like


while the meditative group came up with words like


So while you might think doing pillow bashing, car smashing things make you feel better - and certainly it's better than bottling up emotions - it really is setting you into an angry frame of mind. You just feel good about being angry smile On the other hand if you relax with meditative, stress-releasing techniques you also feel good at the end - but you are actually peaceful and happy.

So that's interesting to think about! Yes car bashing can feel good to release that energy - but if instead you played a puzzle solving game you'd get the same release and end up happy and content.
Posted By: Malika -

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 07/26/08 04:41 PM

I think a large part of this depends on what age the individual was exposed to the violent games. In today's society many parents use television and video games as a babysitter which is really not the answer. And they let their children watch and play video games really meant for adults.

At a young age, children have trouble determining the difference between what they see on tv and reality. Therefore, being exposed to such violence they may come to believe that is acceptable behavior. It is up to parents to teach them right from wrong.

So, while I don't think that violent games should be used as a scapegoat for violence in general, I do believe children should be kept from being exposed to such games until they are the appropriate age.


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Posted By: Vance - Crime Editor

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 07/26/08 04:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Lisa - Gaming Ed
So while you might think doing pillow bashing, car smashing things make you feel better - and certainly it's better than bottling up emotions - it really is setting you into an angry frame of mind. You just feel good about being angry On the other hand if you relax with meditative, stress-releasing techniques you also feel good at the end - but you are actually peaceful and happy.

LOL Lisa, when I get mad I immediately go to my pro wrestling video game and start beating people up in it. It is a nice stress relief for me.
Posted By: BellaDeb

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 07/26/08 06:30 PM

The best thing is to go for a walk (physically clearing out stress hormones) and think peaceful thoughts.

And, this is not just a shameless plug! Okay, a little bit, but walking is so good for relieving stress and tension and for releasing feel-good endorphins.

Posted By: Nancy Roussy

Re: Do Violent Games Cause Violence? - 08/12/18 07:08 PM

No! It never has, is not and never will! The same goes for everything! The responsibility goes only on the people being violent! That is it!
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