The Bulletstorm Controversy

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

The Bulletstorm Controversy

What to do when games come under attack.

Read Full Article

A good article, and I understand you were being hypothetical about a game with graphical sexual scenes and/or rape, but I just want to point out that Bulletstorm has neither of these.

I agree with the fact that too much gaming can have some sort of mental impact on people (my younger siblings tend to be irritable when they have been playing for hours....not because of the video game itself but because they played for hours)....but here is a question that probably a lot of people asked....if videogames are the cause of violence and rape and anything else related, what was the cause of those things before videogames were created? what were the triggers that caused people to commit these acts before videogames?.....people dont become murders from nothing just because of videogames....the movie American Psycho comes to mind how the whole movie was just a dream, a pre-meditated act that took a long time to think up because of the things that were happening to him and definitely not because he played a game like bulletstorm for a few hours.

This seems like another 'band wagon' Jack Thompson style of getting attention, which as you rightly stated "The only bad publicity is no publicity".

The whole thing about violent comments is a far FAR cry from ACTUAL violence; its like if someone cuts you up on the road and you shout at them, that doesn't mean your going to ram them off the road and beat them up. Again its all to give a bad impression on a media form that some people are lead to believe is bad and harmful to people & especially kids; and won't someone please think of the children!! :P

The argument of that parent that games are designed to be addictive is somewhat true but you could say the same for drugs, alchol and even regular food (chocolate for example) to some extent as they all have aspects to them that can be addicitve either through chemical or physcological dependence; its the job of the parent to control the exposure to these elements so that the chances of getting addicted are reduced.

Could video games effect people who are already imbalanced? Yeah I guess it could; but the fact of the matter is that they are already inclinded to act on their impulses - its not like a game could convince a 'normal' well balanced individual to commit crimes / murder / violence simply because they were shown it in a game and "hey, it looked cool"... most sane people know the difference between right and wrong and more importantly the difference between fantasy and reality.

If anything someone who is 'interested' in this sort of activity could quite as easily be sedated or satisfied by the experiances they gain from a game rather than being forced to act in real life because they don't have any alternative. Alot of people would play CoD or a similar shooter when they've had a bad day to blow off some steam; if they lacked that outlet they could vent that anger on a friend, loved one or drink their problems away; at least video games are a far healthier alternative for everyone.

At the end of the day its just another sad person who is looking for an excuse to make a big scene about something that is already and fairly easily demonised. Given a few years the current generation who would have grown up with video games will take over and the fear will be gone and these vein attempts to create PR will be laughed at... or at least I hope that day will come.

Badwolf14:
I agree with the fact that too much gaming can have some sort of mental impact on people (my younger siblings tend to be irritable when they have been playing for hours....not because of the video game itself but because they played for hours)....but here is a question that probably a lot of people asked....if videogames are the cause of violence and rape and anything else related, what was the cause of those things before videogames were created? what were the triggers that caused people to commit these acts before videogames?.....people dont become murders from nothing just because of videogames....the movie American Psycho comes to mind how the whole movie was just a dream, a pre-meditated act that took a long time to think up because of the things that were happening to him and definitely not because he played a game like bulletstorm for a few hours.

It's not about the game being the root cause of an increase in violent behaviour and encouragement for committing violent acts. It's more like positive reinforcement. An individual may act out his violent fantasies in the game before acting them out in the real world. Similar in a way to how somebody might get drunk or tipsy before they feel 'ready' to commit a crime or act of violence. As Dr. Mark said, it's like 'psyching' yourself up.

Another thoughtful article, but i feel it digressed a bit from the statement "Videogames cause and encourage rape and violent behaviour" (which should probably be crystalised as *sexual* violent behaviour) to "parents who are irresponsible with how their children and young ones play video games to an excessive extent may cause them to develop mental health issues down the road". I think that is a topic for another time, but one well worth investigating. Video game marketing is done in a way to appeal to youngsters, and the nature of certain games keeps them hooked in a skinner box style mechanism, as pointed out by Extra Credits. Even something as simple as a levelling up system can keep them addicted.

You made a very interesting remark at the end about video game addiction and alcohol and tobacco companies. Should video games contain a similar warning of "this game may cause addiction" on the front of the cover? Possibly, might it might feel a bit heavy handed. We know warnings on the front of cigarette packets are only there for legal reasons and that people who choose to smoke or drink will do so regardless of any warnings, so putting a warning on the box may not be all that helpful in the long run. I think a good idea would be to place an insert in or on every box with some brief information suggesting a healthy guideline for how much someone should play for, more information on the importance of taking a break every hour or so, some light warnings on addiction and so on.

A very good and thoughtful article.

My two cents on sex scenes in video games - we all need fantasy in our life and this can sometimes trip that lever. There remains, a huge disconnect though between fantasy and reality - even for some deeply sick people.

A similar thing happened to Penny Bain, a 'commentator and researcher' who was brought in by a website to give 'documented proof' that the website newgrounds.com was evil, had a negative impact on kids, warped their little minds, blah, blah, blah.

The reaction from the newgrounds community was swift and decisive. While some of the responses were typical kid angst, most of them were actually very well thought out and eloquently spoken. About a year after this flap, the website shut down.

http://www.google.com/#q=Penny+Bain+newgrounds&hl=en&prmd=ivnso&ei=dX5mTYTeFIO78gbZ15SKCw&start=10&sa=N&bav=on.1,or.&fp=3f40f95b1b9c7c0d

But you quoted yourself

Gralian:

"Videogames cause and encourage rape and violent behaviour"

That they cause....now I know they aren't the cause, and that yea they give a more visual representation of what they would want to do (like in GTA going on a random killing spree shooting anything that moves) but in a way it sort of goes back to my original question....what about before videogames? like right now they have something to use as a scapegoat but what about before?...i guess im just pointing out how shallow their argument seems to me since videogames haven't been around that long and they are using it as a reason for the cause and encouragement of violence even though violence has been around for a very long time

thankyou for a refreshingly neutral look at a touchy subject matter. I agree that some people who play games to much can take it to far, but my big fear is that gaming itself is not being treaeted as a media but a drug (which is seriously not cool)and has only been strngthened in my mind by your comparison to the alcohol and tabacoo companies :(

If we can agree that intensive gaming can create or exacerbate mental health problems for some people, then perhaps the industry ought to take a careful look at its products and their impact. Of course it's about fun and entertainment first, but if the products you make can have adverse effects on intensive users, don't you have some responsibility? The tobacco and alcohol industries have found the answer to be yes.

If this is true then perhaps we simply need to slap a disclaimer sticker on the disc case and all their problems go away.

"Warning: Playing this game may cause a rise in violence and tendancy to rape women. Please consult your doctor before gaming."

It worked for the alcohol and tobacco industry :/

Badwolf14:
what about before videogames? like right now they have something to use as a scapegoat but what about before?

If i had to venture a guess, i would say it's down to how society has evolved through shedding of neo-conservative values. Let me explain. Do you remember the old image of a "happy family", the housewife, the good kids, the familyman - this idyllic image of a "perfect, well-behaved family"? Think of 1960's americana, or even the Nazi ideal of Volksgemeinschaft. As we have, as a society, become more liberal and people can say what they think and do what they like, these values have been shed. Video games happened to rise to prominence during this era of liberation (think the early days of the arcades) and this has only gone on the rise. People used to consider it avant garde to include too much violence, swearing, scenes of horror or sexual gratuity in video games. Now we have all those things because society is liberal - no more false "perfect happy family" image. There is a lot more freedom, and video games influence what we do with that freedom. Society is no longer constrained and i think the idea here is that video games acts as a vehicle to explore this new found freedom by presenting violent and offensive themes for the individual to explore, which will affect how they are in the real world. Someone who just got off a five hour marathon of Doom is likely to be more irritable and aggressive, for example. That's how i understand Lieberman's position, anyway.

encouragement of violence even though violence has been around for a very long time

Are you sure about that? I think even early black and white movies depicting violence must have have reinforced other violent behaviour in some way. Let's not forget early literature. Books, poetry, plays all had the power to move people. I wouldn't be surprised if people who has seen Shakespeare's "Hamlet" felt reinforcement for violence in defending one's honour, for example. Go back even further,; hasn't violence always been celebrated as a means of solving disputes? Though we aren't talking about criminal acts per se, i'm sure many issues back in Roman or Medieval times were solved at the business end of the sword, and that mentality only served to encourage perpetuating itself.

Goddamnit, this again?!

Look, I already stated in the previous article that violent games do not make people violent.

I have been playing violent videogames since I was six or seven years old. I have beaten every single mainstream MK game since the first one entered my home. I have played GTA's Vice City to Lost and the Damned with no side effects, and every single M rated FPS that I have played was a huge enjoyment for me.

And yet, the only violent thing that I have done was knock my older brother out for destroying my PS2 back in '04. Does that make me a volitile, unstable criminal with nothing but schizophrnia and psychotic behavior as a friend? NO! I'm a caring person who has no inclination to commit even the pettiest of crimes.

I'm sick of this whole controversy in particular to be honest. Great article though Mark. You do make a few valid points.

I was really looking forward to you waying in on this issue, but I wish you did a bit more research. Bulletstorm, although extremely violent, only has sexual content in the form of innuendo, such as killing multiple guys at once is called "gang bang". Fox News was claiming that the simple utterance of the phrase gang bang would lead to more rape. I really feel that games shouldn't allow you to do things like rape, but the problem here is that Dr. Liebeirman out right lied about a known connection. Sure theirs nothing wrong with treating games with a little skepticism for their potential negative effects, but no self respecting psychologist should go about that with baseless assumptions and fear mongering, don't you think. Like you said that is just a tool to sell books then to look out for the well being of todays youth.

There is a causal relationship to Madison Garden Boxing and Crime rates; after a night of boxing is over crime rates spike up 8% from normal.

If a GTA game comes out or bullet storm came out; did crime rates increase?
I wouldn't be surprised if they dropped.

Same can be said about a lot of sports; however, when a video game causes a lot of rage among fans, we spam hate mail and do little else.

If they are going to link video game to sex and rape they are going to need to back it up instead of inciting angst from the community; the main weakness that we have against the media is that they get a lot more practice trolling people: they are paid to do it. Our grammatically horrible trolling skillz are laughing fodder for them.

Mark J Kline:
Ask Dr. Mark 17: The Bulletstorm Controversy

What to do when games come under attack.

Read Full Article

1. I find this "media psychiatrist's" reaction to be barely on this side of delusional. She's equivocating "violent" (as in physical, destructive violence) with "violent" (as in sudden and intense). The two are not the same, but she's clearly taking advantage of the common word choice.

And she's doing it to paint this picture that she is a victim of the very same "violence" she's speaking out against. Why? Simply because, in the media (The First Circuit Court of Public Opinion), you can never argue with the victim. If a victim says it happened like so, his/her word is irrefutable, even if no substantial evidence is offered.

2. The response of the gamers did lack maturity and focus. It was little more than a poorly-directed ad hominem. Fight the issue, not the person. And keep it "in the ring," so to speak. Write to the news outlet she uses to spout this stuff. Post it in online discussions of the topic. Don't drag the fight to an unrelated location. (This is hard to do, especially with the 'hit and run' tactics of these types, spouting an opinion and leaving no centralized forum for rebuttal).

3. 1 + 2 = Communication breakdown. Until we can create an organized, common forum on which both sides are able to state their respective cases, with a moderator keeping things civil, not much is going to come from these exchanges. The sides aren't working from uniform "rules of engagement," and neither is interested in hearing the other side at all. If you can't participate in a productive discussion, don't discuss it (yet).

4. I think you're at least partially right that game developers need to be aware of the impact their medium can have on young minds... but no more than any other entertainment medium. In the end, the amount of time the child spends on TV, internet, video games, or any other passive-entertainment activity can be largely controlled by the parents. How much power, really, does a game company have to decide how long a child plays its game? Certainly not nearly as much as the parent.

All the gaming industry can do is inform, inform, inform. If that information isn't used, I think their hands are clean of any problem. What I don't want to see is the video game industry alone having to take this responsibility--TV and music are omnipresent in our society as well, and they share equal burden (if any) in making sure parents know the dangers of "over-entertainment" to the minds of their young children.

5. None of the studies have really done a good job of determining whether violent video games are a source of violent behavior, or just a channel for extant behaviors to express themselves. There's no easy way to make that distinction, either... but that means we shouldn't place the burden of proof on only one side.

Let's say Bob plays a "bad" game and then commits some kind of crime. Okay.

a) How can we say, with any certainty, that Bob wouldn't have committed the crime without this game's influence? What if, instead of overly-sexual video games, Bob wrote erotic fan fiction based on his favorite cartoon? Wouldn't that also provide fuel for these destructive impulses?

b) How can we say, with any certainty, that the game had no impact on Bob's commission of the crime? It could be that the game gave him an idea on how to commit the crime, and that idea gave him the confidence to actually go through with it. It could be that Bob's gaming habits have made him anti-social, and perhaps less likely to consider the negative impact of his actions on those around him.

I find it some what annoying you compared the video game industry to big tobacco and alcohol. Its better to compare them to TV and Print media. Do Cable companies have a requirement to tell there customers that watching TV for 8 hours a day can cause back pain, or even lead you to becoming obese? No they dont. At a certain point people need to wake up and make decisions themselves. With respect to kids, eventually they will realize that they cannot play games all day. Such things just come with maturity.

Its been said time and time again, but supervision over what video games a kid plays is a parents responsibility. My parents didnt get me a video game console until I was 10. Due to this I had plenty of time to develop without the influence of games. Parents just need to say 'no' if they dont approve of something there kid is doing.

On a final note, I do agree with the fact that if games really did make people physically violent on the scale that fox news claims, gamers would have taken action into there hands a long time ago. Also while were on this topic of, "does simulating something violent, make you more likely to abuse it?". I pose this argument to guns. People that shoot guns, are surly more likely to go on a shooting spree right? No of course not.

So if you plan to ban / regulate violent video games, you sure as hell need to make sure you ban / regulate ACTUAL WEAPONS first.

I would recommend reading Mr. Walkers excellent coverage of this whole fiasco over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun for some perspective on the Fox news article that posed the question in the first place.

It's an interesting tale of misquoting, rejection of facts and the lack of evidence that Carole Lieberman finally tried to make good on. With little luck one might add.

I agree with the majority of the points that you've made, and not only the ones that confirm my own world view. I agree that the effects of video games should be studied. But I feel that the trap that doctors like Lieberman fall into is to make up their mind, perhaps even before they've undergone any actual research. This results in anything from skewed research towards their own ends, even to outright lies (Which I think is even more reprehensible than her portrayal of videogames, that she would ignore any facts and statistics that don't help her cause).

But perhaps a greater inquest into accountability would be necessary. Consider, were Scorsese and Foster responsible for John Hinkley Jr.'s actions? Were Doom or Metallica responsible for the actions that occured at Columbine. And though these might be slightly extreme examples, then how about this? Is FOX news responsible for the actions of the Tea Party?

Actually, thinking about that last one, maybe they are, at least to a certain extent. But a line should be drawn as to which point the influence ends and an individual becomes responsible for their own actions.

Well the only thing I've ever noticed about videogames making more aggressive was when I played GTA IV
I noticed I cursed a lot more, although that may have been because random trucks always get in the way of my chase missions ._.

Gralian:

*A bit of snipping*

You made a very interesting remark at the end about video game addiction and alcohol and tobacco companies. Should video games contain a similar warning of "this game may cause addiction" on the front of the cover? Possibly, might it might feel a bit heavy handed. We know warnings on the front of cigarette packets are only there for legal reasons and that people who choose to smoke or drink will do so regardless of any warnings, so putting a warning on the box may not be all that helpful in the long run. I think a good idea would be to place an insert in or on every box with some brief information suggesting a healthy guideline for how much someone should play for, more information on the importance of taking a break every hour or so, some light warnings on addiction and so on.

I think it would be fair to have a disclaimer, at list with more maturely rated games, that it is not intended for young children. The only question is: How many people actually look at the inserts rather than throw them out with the other ads? I know I'm guilty of not even glancing over the stuff to see what it's about and only gloss over the instruction booklet. Perhaps if the warnings and disclaimers were put into the game itself, but that could cause its own lashing out.

I still choose to stick with my assertion that her title as "Media Psychiatrist" is a cover name for "Spin Doctor" since her opinions and and lack of solid and relevant proof lend to such a term.

Sarah Frazier:
The only question is: How many people actually look at the inserts rather than throw them out with the other ads? I know I'm guilty of not even glancing over the stuff to see what it's about and only gloss over the instruction booklet

The part highlighted for emphasis because i wanted to make it clear that if we're talking about young gamers, i feel it should be the parents' responsibility to read these warnings, not the child, and either talk with their child sensibly about the information presented in the warnings and insert or at least do things to help guide their child in the right direction. For example, they may say to their child after an hour or two of gaming "Why don't you take a break for 15 minutes and chat with me / go outside / read something?" as i honestly don't expect kids or young people to pay attention to any of that jazz if it's just another warning on the TV screen or insert.

The reason i'm discounting adults and late teens is simply because they are able to think for the themselves, and any influence things like video games have on their behaviour at this stage is now marginal and they are responsible for their own behaviour. This does not count for individuals with prior mental health issues though, as we cannot possibly compensate for everybody here. I think people need to differentiate between "children at risk of being influenced by interactive source material" (IE direct exposure to violent and graphic scenes affecting their behaviour) and "violent and graphic scenes affecting adults and late teens with mental health issues using games as a vehicle for escapism or fuel unhealthy fantasies". This particular topic doesn't deal with the latter, and i won't get started in that kettle of fish. Though i will say this (and i mentioned it before) but i have an anxiety disorder, and i found games both helped and hindered me as it was a tool of complete escapism. I could have maybe of done with some warning or information about how i might end up depending on games to deal with my anxiety issues, which is something that could be put on the informational pamphlet or at least display a website during the loading screens or something.

I don't know... it's a messy issue, and not one with any clear cut answer. I think what we should ask ourselves here is if you or i happen to throw away an insert and not pay any attention to it, does that mean we should scrap the idea entirely? I think we need to look at the bigger picture here - if say only 4 out of 10 people read it, that's always going to be better than 0 out of 10 because you felt it wasn't worth putting the information in in the first place.

I want to applaud the deep truths at the end of the article. I think there are some serious things to think about when it comes to games and kids. I use a great deal of self discipline to make sure I don't play more than is good for me, and to make sure I get my less enjoyable work related tasks finished. Kids don't have the training, the tricks, the experience to fight the desire to play videogames as effectively as an adult or even as a teenager.

The mom in the final paragraph was right. Games are designed by very smart people to be engaging. This is, by and large, a good thing, but it can go too far. If some guy in China can literally game himself to death, what chance does a 6 year old have without parental support?

Kudos for an intelligent and well thought out article.

The question I would pose to Dr. Mark: there are a number of studies dating back to the early sixties that found statistically significant negative correlations between previous exposure to violent media and subsequent reactions (GSRs, etc) to violent imagery. In other words, seeing violent images desensitizes subjects to future violent images.

Of course, videogames are just one form of media (I think the bulk of the studies were about television imagery), but it there have been a few studies that indicate that this link holds up for videogames as well. Now, in my *opinion*, desensitivies does not necessarily equate to future violence, but could very well facillitate violence in certain subjects by removing a certain amount of avoidance conditioning. After all, desensitivity has been used since forever for military training-- to good effect, of course.

So, the question is-- once alarmism is taken away, is there a subtler but not dismissable point here? Should we say "this is why it's not a great idea for young children to see a lot of violent imagery before they've achieved the reasoning level needed to deal with it?". I apologize for the leading question, as that's how I feel. I do think that the ESRB serves a useful function. And as those of us who enjoy games that we wouldn't necessarily allow children to play, we need to recognize that there are issues with *any* form of violent media. Do videogames cause rape? Of course not-- but we should be aware of the aforementioned issues so we can discuss the subject intelligently when the alarmists come riding into town.

P.S. Props for the term "media psychiatrist". Lord protect us from the "professionals" who do so much disservice to the public image of real mental health and research professionals.

I would say that comparing video games to tobacco and alcohol is folly(as in addiction), I have never heard of a gamer yoing through physical withdrawls. Although there are those who play for days straight and die, those are the true addicts, probably would have gone crazy if someone would have told them no more world of warcraft for you. My parents say I'm addicted sometimes. One problem with that is that I only play a game for more than 2 hours at a time if it's: A) New and B) the story is so great that I can't put it down, kind of like a great book or movie.

You can't blame videogames themselves for any action. The kids that kill their parents for taking their games away? Probably been playing since a young age and are addicted, and when the parents finally take it away, mental breakdown. It's never a good idea to let kids play certain games. I remember breaking a controller after getting pissed off once when I was 10. What I'm saying is, don't let kids under 12 play overly violent games.

Eh, a very predictable middle path.

I think we all know, including you Dr. Mark, that the causal link between video games and real world violence is a load of shit. Remember when playing Dungeons and Dragon's made us Satan worshippers? This is the same thing. Some people get offended by the content of our entertainment and so come up with "studies" and "data" and "facts" off the top of their head to somehow substantiate their personal opinions and values.

I mean, we know humanity was so much more peaceful before the advent of movies, tv, and videogames. What, were the Romans incited to violence by watching Homer's Illiad at the local amphitheater too much?

It would be nice to see somebody with a clinical license come forth to call these people on the baseless crap they are spewing.

Maybe some people do waste their lives playing videogames, but that's a completely different topic. Apples and oranges, mon frere.

Its true that games are a time sink, but I have to wonder how many kids that are "failing" education because of games would be "failing" because of something else if there were no games.
Take me for example, I was always a rubbish student, most of the time I would rather do anything than study. As a kid I played with toys, then I read books, then I got a TV in my room and I split my time between books and TV, then in secondary school I got a computer and split my time between games and the other two.

The inveterate procrastinator will always find something to get between them and what they're supposed to be doing... like right now, I'm supposed to be working on a project that I have to hand in on Monday but here I am writing this post.

The main thing in all of this seems to be that games don't cause problems so much as when they are used by someone with a problem, it's quite noticeable.
I suppose the main thing is "one size doesn't fit all".

There are many excellent truths to be found in this article; many thanks for writing it Dr. Mark!

Amidst all the bandwagon jumping and blame-games (no pun intended), it is good to know that parents blaming an external medium for their children's issues is nothing new. In my childhood, it was D&D, Tom&Jerry, and later Pokemon which suffered the wrath of public outcry. The team from Extra Credits had some excellent points to make as well on this topic.

To paraphrase Extra Credits: Soon a new fad will come along, and the gaming industry will give up its place as the scapegoat of society's ills.

Games are refined in this media firestorm, and I predict the outcome to be positive for games, the Gaming industry, and the growing community of individuals who have been brought together by this wondrous form of entertainment. When the dust settles, Psychologist Dr. Whatshername will be a footnote in the annals of the History of Gaming.

f we can agree that intensive gaming can create or exacerbate mental health problems for some people, then perhaps the industry ought to take a careful look at its products and their impact. Of course it's about fun and entertainment first, but if the products you make can have adverse effects on intensive users, don't you have some responsibility? The tobacco and alcohol industries have found the answer to be yes.

Sorry, Dr. Kline, but that's not the mirror in which I see the gaming industry. Does Irreversible consider the effects of its rape depiction on potential rapists? Does Fight Club consider its impact on terrorists or American Psycho on serial killers?

If you answer yes, and you consider that artists have a responsibility towards people's misunderstanding of their images and texts which "leads" them to aggression, then you have just joined the psychological and moral attitude of 15th century Spain.

I'm not kidding, you just quoted the argument of Don Quixote. Although, in actual fact, Don Quixote was largely sarcastic about it, and eventually defended the endearing power of fiction, even if it was on its lowest, most popular form.

I would like to think we have moved forward since then.

Look, I do appreciate what you try to do with these columns. I do. It is very much worthwhile to try to bridge the gap between the gaming community and the largely clueless, misguided research psychology community that continues to be ignorant at best and disingenuous at worst about the media they criticise. It doesn't do you or your profession any favours that you hold back from calling out your colleagues openly when they breach their obligations and slander an entire industry for the sake of a quick buck, or when you try to salvage the unacceptable approach of mass media to the issue.

I would like to think of gaming as art, not fast food or liquor, and I would like to think of artists as creators that enjoy an increased protection and a higher degree of freedom to express themselves. Court jesters they may be, but they are the kind society needs to function. Censorship based on shoddy science doesn't make you and you colleagues look cautious, but petty and stupid, and it detracts from the public standing of the science you represent, which is otherwise useful and has plenty of potential.

I encourage you to take a stance that is based on fact and on conviction. This middle of the pack, let's-try-to-make-peace approach of yours is based on the false premise that both sides of the issue are coming from a legitimate place, but you sound like you realize that they don't. I'd like to see that come across a bit more.

Well, for me, when I have kids they'll only be getting their hands on violent games after they turn 8. Ages 6 to 8 are the closing gaps to forming a distinct personality, so playing a violent game after age 8 would prove harmless in my opinion.

Before they turn 8, I'll have them playing non-violent games all the time like Pokemon (to teach them pet care and organization). Plus, games have been found to increase concentration in children. Focusing on the now when playing a videogame improves concentration as opposed to passive entertainment forms such as television where images blur past the kid's eyes.

Lets everyone focus on the real issue. Gamers are not likely to be swayed by Fox News' coverage, a good portion of the audience here has seen the research and data which at this time does not support her position.

The real issue is her opinions are being expressed as fact, and other experts were purposefully misquoted to put the spin on the story that Fox wants. Another gaming site* did a very extensive well researched series on this topic where the contacted all the experts, got their actual statements on record, printed the full transcripts, and even linked the studies used in the article. The biggest problem is that Fox deliberately, aggressively, and dangerously ignored all evidence and statements that did not fit with their agenda.

An American news outlet making crap up to put their agenda out there as fact, not surprising, but it should be. She was just a tool Fox used, and her opinions, though ill informed, are just that. The problem is what Fox did with her, and others, statements. After all never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

This is why I hate most news media. I caught the stunt they were trying to pull this time, I know the topic. It's the stuff I don't know well, or more importantly the common public which doesn't usually exercise the critical thinking I do, where people are swayed by such reckless scaremongering.

*Google Bulletstormgate, you'll find it easily.

I think most of the association between violent video games and violence is a red herring. Really, the association is between violent video games and aggression. Furthermore it's usually aggression immediately after playing. Video games aren't alone in this either, whenever people see or simulate aggressive behavior, it tends to make them more aggressive. I think it's a red herring because the aggression is usually only seen immediately after the stimulus, I don't think you can conclude that it makes you more aggressive overall. In fact, I think there is definitely something to catharsis. Acts of aggression help one relieve stress, and after one cools down, one will probably feel less stressed out (unless one is under constant stress of course). That's what I find in my personal experience.

And as far as what parents do, I think the most important thing is to have your child understand death and violence so that they realize fantastic representations of it aren't accurate. Take them to go see animals get slaughtered at a butchery, then give them the circle of life speech. (Just not when they're too young, I think ten or eleven would be a good age to do it, otherwise it'll just be traumatizing.) Other than that, you just have to prevent them from obsessing over the video games. I think the best tactic there, and in general, is to use persuasive prudential reasoning, tell them what is and isn't in their best interest. Authoritarian proscriptions are asking for rebellion, try to always give reasons why you are putting limits on them, and explain how they can better the situation.

I dislike how video games are getting worse reputation as the days go by. Sometimes its the developer's fault (i.e. EA and yes I watched Extra Credits). When I was growing up, I never really heard anything bad about video games but then again it was in the early stages of being big. But with more and more people having access to these games, it is becoming a big issue now of the effects video games have and what government can do to censor video games.

From my own experiences, I feel that video games should have equal rights to that of films. There is and isn't much difference between the two. When going technical there are a lot of differences but in general the only difference is that one medium is interactive while the other is just visual.

As to whether or not games in general cause violent or rape like tendencies, I would have to take a look at the data and say that it doesn't. These statistics are, I think, reported cases of violence and rape which implies some are not reported for various reasons. Now most mainstream games like Bulletstorm is loud and in your face violence. If someone were to imitate the acts of mainstream video games then it would most likely be reported and probably obvious. If someone were to be violent and cover it up then they would probably have a better chance watching Law and Order while taking notes.

The most commonly violent act would probably occur within multiplayer gaming such as Call of Duty or Halo. But the most extreme case is that could occur in that sense is a controller is thrown in frustration. Although a violent act the user learns something great from this experience. If the only connection between user and "fun" is broken, then they pay the price. Then that realization would be known and the user would most likely take better control of a natural emotion of frustration. Probably be healthier in the long run.

I could go on ranting about video games until I die but the main thing I want people to get out there is that just because video games display some aspects that others do not understand or may find offensive, that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing. Heck I don't like Twilight but that doesn't mean that I'm going to make accusations that Twilight shows young teens that it's ok to decide the love of your life at a young age (The only thing I know about Twilight is that it has vampires, wolf transformation,a human and a love triangle thing). Thanks for reading.

I'd like to thank Dr. Mark for considering both sides of the issue and not just pandering to a base.

Having a ten year old stepson has made me rethink my views on video games and violence recently. Suddenly I find myself concerned with the effect many of my favourite games would have on him, making it a house rule that he not touch them and seperating them out from the more child friendly games. Yet, while doing this, I also realise which all parents everywhere should be forced to realise. It is 100% on me to manage this. No, the video game industry should not consider it in any way other than ensuring proper ratings for games. If video games are meant for children, they should contain appropriate content and be rated such. If a game is meant for adults, then it should be able to contain absolutely any legal content that a movie would, even a pornographic movie.. anything which is legally permitted for adults in ANY media must be legally permitted in ALL media. I find parents demanding controls pathetic because they should be the ones in control.. they would not allow their children to watch Saw, or Girls Gone Wild Ten, or whatever.. but they let them play video games without thinking.

While Dr Mark's article interesting, and I am glad it shows both sides... comparing an Entertianment industry to alcohol and ciggerettes is completely inaccurate.

Cigerettes are an incredibly harmful substance with proven physical as well as psycholocial addiction issues. Fortunately they are becoming less socially acceptable.. which incidently doesn't mean that people shouldn't be free to use them within their own homes.

Alcohol is one of the truest scourges of mankind since its creation, yet it is still totally accepted by a vast majority of society. It is damaging and dangerous to the body, addictive, and leads to more violence and death than almost any other substance we produce. Yet people drink vast ammounts of it right infront of their children, behave as if it is some great coming of age ritual for them to be able to drink legally, and encourage it... and yet, my opinion of this fuel dressed up as a drink does not mean people should not be allowed to use it in their own home.

As with most media and non physical influence, the effect video games has on people is purely the result of their upbringing and society. If someone is borederline, then yes, it might trigger something.. however, nothing should be banned or influenced by the possibility of a tiny percentage of people being badly effected by it.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here