Random Fact: Video Game conventions & competitions don't result in
people throwing punches nearly as often as you find in any soccer, basketball,
football, or hockey game.I love BYU, but perhaps they should invite
people to study the effects of college football on aggressive behavior. Somehow
I don't think that would be accepted.
If media exposure had no effect on people's behavior, Madison Avenue has
wasted more of advertisers money than I thought. Fashion, language, brand names,
violence, social behavior and weapons are used to entertain and often become
Screen Name1Bushman's conclusion from the 300+ studies is that
"Playing violent video games increases aggressive thoughts, angry feelings,
emotional arousal and aggression." They also make people "numb to the
pain and suffering of others." He made no claims to an impact on overall
societal violent crime.One look at the comments sections of US News
outlets shows the numbness many feel toward the pain and suffering of others.As for the reason for the decrease in violent crime since the mid 1990s,
the most offered cause is our aging population. Most violent crime is
perpetrated by males between the ages of 15 and 29. When that group's
relative numbers go down, so do violent crime rates.CNN says that
criminologists offer the following causes of the decrease: "...a more
settled crack cocaine market, an increase in incarcerations, an aging
population, data-driven policing, and changes in technology that include a big
increase in surveillance cameras." No mention of video gaming.
Church memberThe term "science" covers a large spectrum. It
ranges from a single discovery to years of accumulated controlled statistical
studies. In the case of Bushman's assertion, he relies on what he claims
are hundreds of controlled studies that support his claim.You
distinguish science you can trust from junk science by actually reading the
studies that are produced. In this way you can understand the scope,
organization, and assumptions of the study to then properly interpret the
results and apply the conclusions. Therefore, you indeed CAN have it
"both ways". Not all studies are conducted with the same discipline,
controls, and care. And scientific discoveries providing a single date point can
rightly be called "science", but usually tell us little about the world
FBI statistics indicate that violent crime rates have fallen substantially in
the US from the early 90s through the present.www.fbi.gov /about-us
/cjis /ucr /crime-in-the-u.s /2011 /crime-in-the-u.s.-2011 /tables /table-1Per the table linked above the rate of crime decreased markedly across
all categories of violent crime through this period.I don't
have a cite handy, but I think it's clear during the same period of time
there was an increase in the absolute number of video game users; the proportion
of the population using video games; time spent gaming/user; and in the quantity
and realism of video game violence. In fact, it seems that the increase in video
game usage increased across all a range of age groups during this time, with
players first playing younger and older people playing at higher rates than they
did in the 90s.The link above is deliberately broken as DN is
calling it a non-wrapping long line. Remove the extra space before each / for
the functional link.
GARY'O, Use logic. Why do pilots use flight simulators? Why
do astronauts use space simulators? Why do doctors use surgery simulators?
Because if simulators really have "no effect," aren't we all just
wasting time? Simulators help program minds, for better or for worse, and they
definitely have an effect.For those who hold to the foolish argument
that virtual killing sprees are good, because they provide an "outlet"
to the violently predisposed, I'd remind you that this was the same
argument employed more than a decade ago for making pornography easily
accessible online. It may hold true in the first generation--sexual assaults
dropped initially--but in the second generation you are reprogramming minds, you
are creating dispositions. And now sexual assaults are sky-rocketing,
especially among youths.If past is prelude (and it is), high
fidelity murder simulators (which is what violent video games are) will have the
exact same consequences. We can either stem the tide today, or tomorrow we will
reap what we have sown.
Brad Bushman needs to go back and read the results of the Milgram experiment.
Aggression goes up when encouraged by an authority figure, when sanctioned as
the thing to be done, and when the victim can not be seen or touched.
Some things, like the basic fact that if you drop something it falls, are
obvious without a formal study. I can tell a video-gamer kid from a non-video
gamer quite well. A typical video-gamer is extremely impatient. He might be
smart, but he has a hard time focusing on anything that requires a structured
thought process and takes time to figure out. He can utter something witty, but
has a hard time connecting his ideas into coherent sentences. He might now a
fact or two, but does not go deep in his knowledge or pursuits. It is like a
curse has been put upon him. Unfortunately, so many kids play video games and
are under this curse that we begin to think this is just due to age. Not so.
Is it just me or did the DesNews just fall prey to the unpardonable sin of
mistaking correlation for causation?Perhaps we should put more stock
in the idea that America has a societal violent streak. Indeed, there are many
nations that are roughly on equal ground w/ us respecting industrialization and
they play violent video games and equal or higher levels yet have lower violent
crime rates. Net net, when you look to account for the disparity in violence
between us and the rest of the modernized world, it all boils down to one single
factor: America's gun ownership rates.
His nineteen-year-old daughter (legally an adult) can't have the door to
her room closed while using a computer and has to hand it over to him at night?
It sounds to me like he has some control issues that need to be resolved. While I have no interest in violent video games, having seen enough
violence while serving in two combat zones, I've yet to see a properly
controlled study that accounted for other causes of aggressive behavior, one
that included several control groups that played no video games, played other
sorts of video games, and took into consideration other aggressive activities
such as sports, as well as taking into account the environment in which
participants lived. Still too many variables to draw a valid conclusion unless
the conclusion he drew is exactly what he had drawn in advance.
2 Cents nailed it. Statistics can be used to show whatever you want, and
it's the causation versus correlation thing again. violent people will most
likely be drawn to violent games, the games didn't cause them to be violent
they were violent anyway. That said it doesn't take hundreds of studies to
come to the conclusion that someone prone to violence probably shouldn't be
playing violent games for 10 hours a day.Get those same kids out in nature for
10 hours a day instead of in front of a video game, and watch how they change.
GARYO...you don't know.
@ChurchMember and GaryOYou can find "research" that
basically backs up anything you want. Just because someone wears a lab coat and
does surveys, does not mean a thing. I have the biggest problem with research
that says you can do whatever you want and there will be no consequences. We
don't trust that in diets, why do we suddenly trust it when it comes to
violent behavior?Besides, Behavioral Science in the BF Skinner mold
is so passe'. I trust far more the work of Edward Deci and the new views on
what motivate us (read Daniel Pink). I love the picture here (in the
photos accompanying the article) of the slide with Einstein shown here that
says: "Help me understand the logic of this - watching 2 hours of violence
in a movie will have no influence on our behavior but a 30 second Super Bowl
commercial is worth $3.8 million because it will make me want to run out and buy
Jamescmeyer . . . Yes it is very possible that "violent games don't
impact us negatively."In fact, it may be the case that violent
video games impact us positively through their cathartic value.The
idea of catharsis has been around since the ancient Greeks. It's nothing
new.ca·thar·siskəˈTHärsis/ noun: catharsis; plural noun: catharses 1. the process of
releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.It is possible that repressed violent urges can be exercised through
violent video games, and thus not acted out in the real world.Physical exercise is another option.In lieu of cathartic video
games, you could give your teenager a rake and tell him to take out his
aggressions on the leaves in the back yard.That's what people
did before video games were invented.
We all know that statistics can prove almost anything. Where is the causation
in any of these studies?Even if (and it is an awfully big if)
children who are exposed to violent media actually are more violent, who's
to say that it's simply because violent people are drawn to violent
media?People who are musically inclined or talented are drawn to
media that reflects their personality, but I haven't seen one single study
indicate that playing Guitar Hero causes children to become rock stars or that
watching rom-coms makes you wear cardigans.
On the one hand, it wouldn't be fair to completely shut out the
understanding of those who object to this kind of reasearch and its results.
"Violence" covers a broad spectrum, and the fireballs of Dragon Quest
are hardly the same, psychologically, as SMG fire and flash grenades with
battered surroundings and dismembered bodies. I admit I enjoy both.On the other hand, people who don't understand the subconcious or subtle
effects of violence in media-not just games-and people who outright support it
only have one consistent response that I've seen throughout the many game
forums I frequent:"No it doesn't!"And that's
not true. As large and obvious a problem as (for example) alcohol addiction is,
people still drink and the vast majority of them maintain that they don't
have a problem, and that's false.The argument shouldn't be
"violent games don't impact us negatively", rather there should be
a rational assessment of what is acceptable and what is too much.
I find it funny when authors use science and believe in science when it benefits
them. But when science goes against them they say "science can't be
trusted". Can't have it both ways.
The denial that video games could be the cause of some of our violence brings
howls from the players. But the issue here is one of the individual and the
"push".There is a wide spectrum in the tendency toward
violence in individuals. And the push toward more violence created by video
games (or movies, or music) is subtle vs. strong. There is no case (I have
heard of) where a perfectly non-violent kid plays a video game or two and goes
on a killing spree. But the issue is what happens when a person is exposed to
the violence hour after hour and year after year.People who have
little tendency toward violence might play video games for long periods with
little harmful effect. But then there is that person who is prone to violence -
who is on the edge. What happens to him or her after hundreds (thousands?) of
hours of exposure to video violence? That is a different story.
@GaryO30 years ago, kids didn't spend all day indoors playing video
games. Now they do. Wouldn't that be a more likely reason for the drop in
Violent Media got Schwarzenegger elected Governor of CA. I doubt if his
body-building career was even much of a swing vote.Way lots of money to be
made in Violence, on so many levels.
"Science is clear, violent video games cause aggression?"No,
not really. Science is not at all clear on that.In the behavioral
science community, it has been suggested that the falling youth violence rate
is caused by the proliferation of violent video games that allow a
non-destructive outlet for feelings of aggression.It's all
about catharsis. Look it up.
Great article. This really clarifies the situation. Boy, am I unpopular in my
own home for forbidding rated M or 1st person shooter games, and refusing to buy
the latest video game platforms. (I don't want to be the policeman.)
Since my teenage son refuses to surrender his ipod at night, I have resorted to
unplugging the WiFi. There are parental controls on the computers that exclude
violent and drug-related content. Parents stand up, because this is the Wild
West of times for new media.
This is a very good study and based on something tangible. In our society,
"freedom of expression", is everything. The ACLU is the most prominent
organization involved with that. Morality is a boundary which is now being
crossed with regularity. We are a nation of laws. The recent death of Officer
Wride is only a symptom of moral breakdown. Yesterday, a federal judge overruled
a ban on gay marriage approved by the "will of the people" which was
similar to that done in Utah. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has made it
plain that he believes in the right of the people to approve gay marriage but
that it has to be done on a state level. So, what about these violent games such
as "Grand Theft Auto"? They approve anarchy. What if a state decided
to ban their use? This would become a "free speech" issue. What about
the "sexploitation of children"? Would that become a matter of freedom
of expression as well? Our society is imploding and not even the will of the
people can stop clever politicians from implementing their will using various
minorities as pawns.
Practicing having no self-control. That can't be good...
Growing up, the kids who played sports were a lot more aggressive than us nerds
who liked Nintendo. Should sports be banned?I've seen
aggression develop in a teen while playing shooters, etc. But it's often
only in combination with other lifestyle choices. Game development involves
designing a game to motivate players based on goals. If goals are violent,
it's possible it may prompt aggressive behavior. If you times that by 16
hours a day of playing... it's not rocket-science. But again... while it
can motivate aggressive behavior, parents shouldn't feel that any game with
a gun in it is unacceptable. I can assure you, if you simply take it away they
will play it elsewhere.It's not complicated. Parents simply
need to be parents. The same applies to sports and everything else in life. The
real question is "who is teaching this kid to moderate his behavior, his
parents or his games, sports, etc?". It's more likely that is connected
to who the kid is spending more time with.A lack of mom and dad in
their life will cause far more aggression than any game. Nothing can replace
'Family Home Evening'.